I love Christmas. Or at least, I love the *idea* of Christmas.
The idea of Christmas is that we'll decorate and have time to enjoy looking at the pretty lighted and decorated tree.
The idea of Christmas is that we'll bake cookies and have time to enjoy sharing them with our family and friends.
The idea of Christmas is that we'll shop for and buy that one perfect gift for each person on our list, and will have time to enjoy watching them smile when they open the beautifully wrapped package to find the love-gift inside.
The idea of Christmas is that we'll spend time with family and friends and show them, by our actions (including our presence at their holiday party and/or their invitation to attend ours), how much we love and appreciate them.
The idea of Christmas is that we'll celebrate, in whatever way our particular Christian religion, or lack thereof, specifies, the birth of the Christ child 2000 years ago, and will have time to reflect on the values that are important to us because of that event, such as love and kindness and charity and acceptance and compassion.
* * * * *
The problem with the idea of Christmas is that the reality of Christmas gets in the way.
Between work and daily life (which do not bother to slow down or stop just because it happens to be Christmas) and the added tasks of the season such as shopping and cooking and decorating and baking and wrapping and the never-ending obligatory holiday parties, I usually end up stressed out and frazzled by the time the day actually arrives, so that minor annoyances are then catapulted into catastrophe-land and I end up feeling less than loving, kind, charitable, and compassionate toward the relatives and friends who have gathered at my home and are trying to show me how much they love and appreciate me by doing 8000 annoying things and talking to me all at the same time so I can't even hear myself think and getting in the way of the cooking and baking that is happening, not to mention knocking over the decorations and spilling wine on the couch....
* * * * *
This year, I'm really trying to honor the idea of Christmas, so forgive me if I skip some of the decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, and party-attending so that I can relax and enjoy the few decorations I will put up; and enjoy watching just a few friends and close family members open their pretty but less-than-perfectly wrapped and decent but not-necessarily-perfect gifts; and relax while attending one or two holiday parties, instead of rushing madly to attend bunches of them.
This means some of you might feel "slighted" as I don't attend your party or don't get you that one perfect gift (or any gift at all, really).
It's not that I don't love you. It's just that I also want to relax and enjoy this Christmas season. I want to love Christmas again -- and not just the idea of it.