I’ve been making an effort this year to get into the “Christmas spirit.” Well, I’m making an effort to at least acknowledge that Christmas is happening (and there’s nothing I can do about it), people are
jerks joyful, and I have a huge poinsettia that someone gave me in my living room which makes itself impossible to ignore. It’s like it’s taunting me. I’m not ready to go overboard and make a big production with lights and a tree that my cat would inevitably knock over; that’s just too big of a step.
Since my grandmother passed away years ago, I haven’t been able to really get into all this holiday business. During high school and most of college, I was always working at a high-end restaurant with a catering company that did many of the local banquets. While profitable, and occasionally fun, it was always a lot of work and the association between holidays and work is a hard one to kick.
As I’ve gotten older and ended my relationship with my father and step-mother, with no other close family members except my mom, I’ve tried to find ways to enjoy the holiday and get excited along with everyone else. I used to look forward to Christmas Eve because it was my ex-boyfriend’s birthday and Christmas because it was our anniversary, but this year is going the first without him in my life (try not to have anniversaries during major holidays; everyone remembers it).
If you haven’t already figured this out, I’m a veritable Scrooge, which I don’t think is completely unjustified. When I look at all the events around the world right now, particularly the famine in the Horn of Africa, I struggle to understand how we can manage to feel good about our celebrations and consumerism. I bought a pair of snow boots the other day and I feel guilty because I could have given that money to support organizations like Edesia Global Nutrition to help put an end to this: http://gawker.com/5858524/african-famine-baby-makes-miracle-recovery. There are so many horrible things happening around the globe that don’t get enough attention, especially during the holiday season when we’re all looting retailers, buying new televisions, trampling fellow shoppers, and eating to our heart’s content.
While I would have been happy to keep company with my cat and poinsettia for the holiday, procrastinating on making strides towards accepting Christmas, a downed internet connection (gasp, no Netflix!) forced me to look for something to do. Earlier in the day, I read an article on Jezebel about making holiday decorations on the cheap, so I decided to try to make the paper snowflakes. With glitter.
I haven’t made paper snowflakes since I was about seven years old, when I used to make them with my grandma. It took a while to get them to turn into something that kind of resembled a snowflake, but it was actually fun. My cat enjoyed batting the scraps of paper around the house while I reminisced about a time when I didn’t think about famines, wars, and general human or animal suffering during the holiday season. Now my house looks like the place glitter goes to die, which makes it kind of hard to feel down, since sparkles are anything but sad.
I don’t know what the proper balance is between allowing myself to enjoy how fortunate I am and staying aware of the conditions in which some of our fellow humans live. What I do know is that, all universal suffering aside, I’m proud of my snowflakes because they’re pretty and they look especially nice with my poinsettia. It’s a small step towards embracing the holiday season for its good parts and a reminder that, in some ways, it is what we make it. I think this year, I’ll stick with Scrooge, but maybe with a little less conviction.