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I’m not ready for Christmas. I don’t mean that I haven’t finished my shopping or decorated my house, though that would be true.

I mean that my psyche isn’t ready. For some reason this year more than others, the holiday hoopla has felt like a full-out assault instead of a celebration.

I wasn’t ready to see the lights on Thanksgiving night as we drove home from our lovely dinner with friends. Illuminated snowmen and reindeer and, of course, the requisite Santa Clauses greeted me at nearly every turn. I grumbled about it to my husband. I wanted to linger in the glow of gratitude that usually envelops me around Thanksgiving. (I do realize that grumbling about holiday décor isn’t linked to gratitude in any way shape or form.)

We’ve turned Christmas into a destination holiday, and the older I get the less patience I have for it.

I saw Christmas merchandise in stores in August, for goodness sake. And certainly by Halloween, the holiday machine was barreling along at full force. We practically needed a wagon to bring the morning newspaper into the house on Thanksgiving. It was nothing more than pounds of paper advertising the Black Friday specials. People had to gulp down their turkey dinners just so they could get in line to shop. I know a family that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all because they “need that day to get ready for Christmas.”


Some years ago a book entitled Unplug the Christmas Machine spoke to my heart. As I recall, the message it contained was to slow down, make do with less, and spend time with people instead of store clerks (no offense intended to clerks who do amazing work this time of year.) The book suggested that we could be in charge of how much holiday craziness we allowed into our lives. What a concept!


This has been a year of limited means for us and I acknowledge that perhaps it has contributed to my holiday grumpiness. But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, so I’m not sure it has to do with money. I think it’s about intention and learning to be present to each moment of your life. Spending so much time in the pasture with my horses has helped me learn a little about living in the moment, as woo-woo or trite as that may sound. I’ll grant that it isn’t an easy skill to incorporate into our fast-paced lives. But I am trying to weave it into mine. And some days it works better than others.

I’ve always been slow to get on the Christmas bandwagon. I used to chalk it up to procrastination. Now I’m starting to think that it was my baby step attempts to learn to live my life day by day. Present moment – perfect moment.

Or maybe that’s just B.S. rationalization. I’m honestly not sure.

I do know this: I’m sick of television commercials that urge us to buy, buy, buy and get the perfect gifts for everyone on our lists. I recently saw a commercial where a singing boot was chastising another boot for giving her(?) such a lousy gift. Once you get past the idea of singing boots in the first place, the commercial was just plain offensive. Is this how we want our children to act when they receive a gift that wasn’t exactly what they wanted?

Ungrateful and snotty.

I hope not.

Sorry about the rant on this Friday morning. I’m going to spend time with my wondrous grandson this weekend, so I know my mood will improve for next week!

In the meantime, I’d love to know how you’re handling the holiday machine.