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Missing Left Sock Beast
sistercoyote
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Coyote Musings
Coyote handsome
his coat the same brown
as the dust from which he rises

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What is the sound of one hand slapping Schroedinger's cat?

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The Quantum Duck goes "quark, quark."

September 2010
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Missing Left Sock Beast [userpic]
Holidailies, Day Eight: Christmas Ennui

I was just pondering the subject of decorating for the holidays at my house when I saw ashenseraph's post on her other blog about Decorating for Christmas. Apparently, it's the day for it.

I have some Christmas decorations at home, including a fairly extensive collection of clear glass baubles for the very small synthetic tree (with fiber optic lights!) my father bought for me a few years back, when I had newly moved to Nevada. I lived in a small apartment, which was already fairly crowded with furniture, so I didn't have room for a full-sized tree. I wouldn't have wanted one. I still don't want one. And a live tree was and is out of the question, because I'm not up for handling one on my own. I have enough trouble remembering to water the living plant in my household.

So, yes. I own clear glass baubles, a fiber-optic tree, two Santa hats (one with Mickey Mouse Ears), a couple of Christmas bears, a really awesome moose wreath given to me by piratelady, and a couple of ornaments that have sentimental value: two blown-glass ornaments that belonged to my maternal great-grandmother (that are painted, not clear), and one felt ornament I kidnapped last year from my parents' first Christmas together some 43 years ago (a "lion" holding a marble). Mom was going to get rid of this particular ornament because it was bought at a 99-cent store and looks its age, but allowed me to take it.

I own all this stuff. But it's a very rare Christmas indeed when I take the things out of their boxes and decorate. This year is not likely to be one of those years (although, having reminded myself about the moose wreath, I may just have to pull it out and hang it on my front door, where no one will see it).

This lack is partially because I spend the holidays with my parents, who do decorate. Mom hangs white lights in the windows to mimic "snow," and there are clear plastic snowflakes for my sister and I to hang off the bulbs of those strands. There is a creche, with baby Jesus in the manger from the get-go (inasmuch as my family is Christian, we are Protestant, but also there's the simple fact that it is a very small creche and we figure the manufacturer thought it would be too easy to lose a separate baby Jesus figure) that is placed on the cedar chest-like record player that hasn't worked in years. My mother's Nutcrackers come out of hiding and gather around the fireplace, looking vaguely sinister and yet representing a Christmas Tradition that has sadly gone by the wayside since my sister and I grew up and moved away from home. There is a small train on the glass coffee table in front of the tree, my father's contribution to the decorations. A small collection of angels is spread out around the living room, some with candles melted onto their heads; one angel's head is only barely attached to her shoulders anymore. For thirty-some years, we had the same artificial Christmas tree, which my parents had purchased for their second Christmas together, and on which the branches had grown increasingly flat; this tree was replaced two years ago with another artificial tree that is much easier for my father to assemble. However, the top of the tree is the wrong size and shape to serve as a perch for my mother's crocheted angel, and so the last few years she has been returned, regretfully, to the box until we can figure out a solution. The day after Thanksgiving, or one day during the Thanksgiving weekend, all of these decorations are brought out, and we spend an evening placing things around and about, each of us taking a quarter of the tree and passing the decorations around until we run out, then sitting down in the living room with the tree and enjoying pumpkin pie and hot chocolate or tea.

The dogs are inevitably confused by all of this, and inevitably betinseled at the end of it. Not, usually, as a result of human actions, just the sweep of their tails as they watch us do this crazy thing we do every year. The Kitty Cat knows what it means when the tree goes up, and starts looking for the "goodies" she knows will be hidden in the branches (although they're not hidden there until Christmas Day). Sadly, after five or so years the Duck Duck has still not figured this out, and so he mostly lays on the hardwood floor and watches and doesn't understand all the activity and the changes in his environment.

I'm kind of with the Duck Duck on this one. I don't like a lot of big changes to my environment. I love the way my family decorates, don't get me wrong. But it seems like a lot of effort to go through for one person living in one small house to put up Christmas decorations and then take them down again, particularly when I won't be in my house for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

There are other elements that factor in, as well. I'm really not Christian (I think Jesus said some useful things, but I don't believe he was the Son of God and I don't believe he had to die so mankind could be forgiven. My feelings on God or the Divine are even more complicated). I could justify putting up the tree as a pagan, I suppose, but for whatever reason I don't feel right about doing that, either (the plastic nature of my tree might contribute to that feeling). I haven't finished unpacking or any non-seasonal decorating from my move, which I'm sure is contributing to this year's Christmas ennui.

It is unfair to say that I am bored with or by Christmas, exactly. Perhaps it would be better to call it my December ennui, or perhaps ennui is the wrong word entirely for this feeling I have: nothing I do to decorate my house matters, so there is no point. I don't believe having the bright lights and decorations around will make me any happier than I will be if the house remains the same. This may be entangled with my general (and generally subconscious) belief that I am not important enough to take care of, or it could be that I will get my fill of decorations and lights and family when I go home, or it could be simple ingrained laziness (though I doubt it's that latter). Perhaps I am simply "burnt out" on celebrations during the last month of the year.

Perhaps I want to honor the dark before the light returns. This is an idea I hadn't considered before, and now must put it in the coffee filter of my mind and let it percolate for a while. And it has given me a "Wonderful World" earworm (The bright blessed day/the dark sacred night).

I am thinking I might buy some small red and green Christmas balls to put in the eye sockets of the bear and badger skulls that live on my landing. Would that count as decorating or overcoming my existential boredom?

Feeling:: contemplativelook! my navel!
Comments

Decorating skulls works for me. Though holly and misteltoe might be more pagan. ;-) ... I do have a handful of ornaments I really love, but they stay in their box, sadly. I need to lose more Stuff or gain more Space before I crack them out to hang around for Christmas....

My mother was quite the decorator, but now that I have my own place, I get into the mood and do decorate - right now I'm halfway through the lights on the house, and did all the inside decorations except the tree. We always did it Thanksgiving weekend, but I was waylaid by A Certain Q who insisted on doing other things instead of letting me nest.

I just like the memories it evokes for me of my childhood, plus the lights are all OOO TWINKLY AND SHINY AND OOO and all. Plus, I just like Christmas.

Oh, I go through OOO TWINKLY AND SHINY AND OOO, and I don't have anything against Christmas. I just have trouble getting "into the spirit" until, like, Christmas Eve.