Tuesday, December 28, 2010

thoughts on Christmas-ing

Most of you know, if you know me but at all, that I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about it - the music, the lights, the movies, the clothes [yes, the clothes], the decorations, the shopping, the gifts...all of it. I even like going to the mall [or my new mall, Michigan Avenue] with all the THOUSANDS of other shoppers/tourists jockeying for a spot in line in order to catch that last 147 northbound bus. I love

every.last.bit. of Christmas.

Except, this year, I got a little stressed out about the whole Christmas-y thing. Maybe it was the result of a new job, or the acquisition of new [awesome!] friends, or other various aspects of my life that required a lot of thought/energy. Either way, this year I felt like I didn't have a chance to celebrate Christmas like I wanted. I didn't watch all the right movies, listen to all the right music - or even if I did listen to the right music, it wasn't ENOUGH. Kate and I did get to go see the trees at the MSI, and I did get to go to Christkindlemarket [albeit by myself on the 22nd].

But the week before Christmas it was getting down to the wire, and I felt supremely stressed out about the fact that Christmas was almost here and I wasn't ready! I hadn't filled myself with enough Christmas spirit, I hadn't decorated Christmas cookies, I hadn't made a gingerbread house, I hadn't....you name it, I hadn't done it. It was seriously stressing me out.

Then one day - I think it was the 22nd - I realized that I was stressing myself out unnecessarily. Yes, I of course prefer to do all my Christmas-ing before the actual day comes, so that after Christmas I can prepare for the New Years' celebrations, resolutions, and just generally be done with Christmas once Christmas is actually over. I think that this is the efficiency in me - I like deadlines, and I don't like to have something hanging over my head.

This is where I said "Ashley. Did you just use the words efficiency and deadlines in regards to Christmas? The birth of Jesus?"

I realized a) something was wrong with me b) my type-A personality was getting out of control c) I might need counseling and d) I needed a little perspective.

So - the point. I decided that I do not have to finish my Christmas celebrations before Christmas. In fact, Christmas-time used to START with Christmas Day and end with twelfth night, on January 6, with a feast. This was when people used to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. I was going to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, but then I got overwhelmed by the planning of THAT new holiday, and I just stepped away from wikipedia and ehow.com. I might begin this new tradition next year, or maybe in the next few days, but for this year, I've got to start small.

I am allowing myself to put away Christmas gradually. Just because the day is over [and this year ours was cut short because of threatened snow] does not mean my Christmasing must be over. I could be contrite and say, well Christmas is supposed to last the whole year through with our kindness and generosity! - but I won't. I'll spare you.

If you're still here, congratulations. I'm mightily impressed and grateful. You can reward yourself a gold star! To reward you, here's some pictures from that visit to Christkindlemarket I did before Christmas, when I found the way through the pedway (more on that later!) all the way to the redline, without going outside for a second.

my German, imported Gluckdkhafwdfjawoeifjawoije. In a styrofoam cup because they ran out of the mugs. Not as picturesque? Nope. Just as expensive? Yep. Not as earth-friendly? Nope. Just as delicious? Yep. 

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