Merry Maple Leaves

Here we go again. The Christmas fandango; a month of planning for the perfect holiday fully aware that swimming the English Channel in a hailstorm would be an easier miracle to pull off.  So it’s no wonder that a certain grimness hangs overhead this time of year for everyone but the very young, and every tragedy seems so much worse.

This year’s tragedy was the slaughter of the Sufis. I’ve known Sufis. They’re  peaceful. They follow the teachings of all the prophets. They don’t proselytize.

But it’s the holidays and so we light the cinnamon candle and make Christmas lists.  Should we send cards this year or should we go paperless like our eco-friendly friends and send mass Happy Holidays emails?  No that’s too impersonal. Sorry trees.

Whenever I feel grim about the mouth I take a page from Moby Dick and embark on a voyage.

I generally don’t need to go far, just round the block and over the hill and back to the colors in my own backyard.

How do you handle holiday blues?  Or maybe you don’t get them.

22 thoughts on “Merry Maple Leaves

  1. It’s not easy, the seasonal transition – and to and insult to injury, an insane gluttony-fest at the darkest point, all in the name of Christmas tradition.

    I’ve tuned out, over the years. I don’t have cable, don’t subscribe to magazines or newspapers (though there are no shortage of online attention grabbing headlines.) I don’t listen to radio, so no wall-to-wall Christmas music. I don’t send Christmas cards. Now that I’ve given up eating meat, I don’t prepare the traditional feast. I don’t shop at malls. (That one is easy – we don’t have a mall up here.)

    And since we moved, we are too far from family to gather together.

    Is it a win? Not really. I still feel the tug of sentiment, I am still aware that I am surrounded by merry-makers. I still get the blues.

    So, yeah. Nature therapy when I can. Don’t want to be “deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off.”

    1. You and me both – although people don’t wear hats like they used to back in Melville’s day! I do get cable and there are channels that run constant, sappy Hallmark-style holiday movies – ugh. I try to stay clear of them.

  2. Yes, what you said about swimming the Channel in a hailstorm, Jan. This year feels extra painful, with all the sadness in the world. I can’t think of many people who aren’t at least a little depressed right now. My best treatment for the holiday blues is walking with the dog and tapping into his excitement over chasing squirrels and rabbits. That sh*t doesn’t get old for him, even though he’s getting older himself.

    Take care of yourself, and I hope you and your family enjoy some lovely, peaceful moments this holiday season.

  3. I don’t fall into seasonal blues and actually really enjoy the winter. I like the cold and the snow and the lack of garden allows me more time to read and watch tv.
    I’m much more crotchety when it’s hot and humid.
    But, I’m not into the holiday craziness. In fact, The Mister and I were just talking the other day about how we may, when our kids are all grown, become the kind of people who skip Christmas.
    I love the tree, the twinkly lights, and the baking — the rest, not so much.
    The darkness is sorta heavy lately… oh a year or so now. I cheer up when I see and read about the good stuff.

    1. I like the dark and cold as well. We don’t really skip Christmas but we don’t decorate like we used to. (well, I don’t decorate the way I used to because I get no help putting everything away – ahem) Let’s hope there’s plenty of good stuff this year.

  4. I smile a grim smile of recognition as I both dread Christmas (for me it’s finding the damn presents) BUT look forward to the grand-kids! That will make me smile, even if I have to make two meals for the meat eaters and vegetarians!
    Lately when I feel down I kick myself in the pants and remember I have a snug house, a warm bed and plenty of food.

    1. Because we’re a “blended” family we always end up having at least three holiday celebrations. Luckily Joel likes to cook and will clean up otherwise I’d seriously be needing you to come up and kick me in the pants too!

  5. Ack! This is the worst month of the year by far. Family togetherness has never been on my plate, so I mostly just hunker down and wait for the New Year to get here and be grateful for what I do have. There’s a forced sense of cheer and kindness that gets amped up that makes me roll my eyes, to say the least. Yep, I am a bah-humbug indeed.

  6. I too sink into Christmas blues. The hype of the media never translates into the real world. This time of year is full of anxiety for even the best intentioned. I wish I could hide under a rock until it’s all over.

  7. I love the seasons so when it starts to get dark out early (and the air becomes crisp) I know the twinkling lights are not far away—and that brings me back to my childhood. My wife says I never left it anyway. On the other hand, she dislikes when it gets dark out earlier, but I understand why—the days are shorter and she hates coming home after dark in the cold. And yes, there are those blue moments that creep over me—when my mom passed (years ago) it was during Thanksgiving week. However, that’s when I seek out things that have always brought me peace of mind—and for each of us, that’s something different. But all-in-all the holidays tend to bring joy. The holidays nights bring the lights, holiday music, family get-togethers, and just seeing everyone out at the malls shopping—which is good for the economy, if not for one’s patience—lends an air of togetherness—which is encouraging, especially when the country is so divided like it is right now. And after all, who wants to see deserted and empty streets at Christmastime—just wouldn’t feel right? Well, maybe a Scrooge would. :O)

    1. You’re right – focusing on things that bring joy and not worrying about getting the right gifts, making the perfect meal, etc. is an excellent coping mechanism. I lost a good friend during the Thanksgiving week so that’s always a rough time.

  8. I used to do it all at Christmastime– and resent most of it. Now, I do what I want to do, accommodate those people who mean something to me, and smile placidly as I watch the people who enjoy the craziness do their crazy things. Also, I no longer ever tell myself that I have to do something because it’s a tradition. For me this has been a freeing + empowering idea.

  9. I don’t tend to get them, but that’s probably because my birthday is at Christmas time as well. I also give a donation to charity at this time of year. It makes me feel good knowing that whatever contribution I am giving is hopefully going to help somebody over the holiday period.

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