On the way home from buying our tree the other day, DH’s simmering disquietude burst forth in a loud bellow:
I LOATHE CHRISTMAS!!!!
It was, perhaps, an over-statement of his somewhat complicated relationship with the holiday. But, at that moment, he wasn’t lying. He was in full Scrooge mode. And, I knew from experience that ghosts or no, I can’t expect him to turn around tomorrow and buy a goose as big as a small boy for Bob Cratchit. One thing about choosing a truly brilliant man for a husband is that I can’t often expect him to think the same way as everyone else. Quirkiness is to be expected from any mind that spends a majority of its time outside the box. On the other hand, I don’t always have to agree with him. And, in this case we have a yearly disconnect.
I love almost everything about the holidays. I love to give and receive gifts, I love the traditions of it, I love the rituals, I love the seasonal smells and foods, I love the stories, the decorating and the Spririt of giving and goodwill. I absolutely love listening to our favorite holiday music- our family tradition is to start things off with John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together. Then we move on to a mix of Dr. Demento, Jingle Cats, Manheim Steamroller, The Edlos, Bing Crosby, Vince Guaraldi, Duke Ellington, Weird Al and the rest. And, honestly, David usually smiles along with the family as Miss Piggy mishears “Now Bring us a Figgy Pudding” as “Now Bring us a Piggy Pudding” and as we are advised that Its Christmas At Ground Zero. So, he isn’t completely immune to the joys of the holiday season. But, all the social obligations, spending of money, Buy Buy Buy, hustle of humanity, extra work, uncontrolled change in habits, and did I mention social obligations? Yeah, he isn’t fond of all that stuff.
So, I tone it down a bit, and take on primary responsibility for our social obligation fulfillment (er, speaking of which, if I owe you cards or presents, please be patient! I am off to a slow start). And, he puts on his patient cap, listens hard for dropped hints (I want THAT ONE), and withstands a few extra honey-do’s throughout the season. In return, I make him gingerbread cookies, other cool foods, and occasionally talk him into some seasonal light display or other event that he actually finds he enjoys. The kids take it all in and find their own paths. DD leans David’s direction, but enjoys a broader range of the holiday delights. She likes to decorate, and with her artistic skills she has a good eye. DS, on the other hand, is going to challenge me for Family Holiday Monarch some day- and I will be happy to hand over the crown by then, I am sure. I can’t wait to go to holiday meals at his house and see the 35 reindeer on his lawn (you need back-up crews, of course!) and the turkey the size of Milwaukee on the table.
In the mean time, here in this little place, with our American decorations an ocean away, we are gradually building something of a holiday environment. DH’s outburst was the result of our diddling about too long in the ornaments row. But, once we got home and he remembered that we actually still barely own any ornaments on this continent, his mood shifted and he kicked in with gusto. We put up our miniature tree (2ce the size of last year! We are coming up in the world . We actually had to shake snow off of it before putting it in our car. That was a first! Ornaments made of clothes pins are very popular here, and they are inexpensive, so we have many of those. And some sparkly little stars.
This year I splurged and bought several new German-style decorations. I bought 2 different rauchers or ‘smokers’. They are essentially incense holders designed so that the smoke comes out a strategically placed hole. The snowman smokes his pipe, the ski shack has a roaring fire in the fireplace and smoke comes out the chimney.
I also got this fun whirlygig. They make some that are multi-levels with carousel themes or angels all over them. But, this seemed more reasonable for our little apartment!
And, finally, I bought this paper star lamps. These are everywhere. People hang them or place them in their windows. They come mostly in white or silver, but DD really liked the red.