Saturday, December 6, 2008

Now That We Have THAT Out of the Way...

Well, our new credit cards came yesterday. I tried mine out by renewing the car registrations for DH's two vehicles. (One of the many bad things about having a birthday near Christmas is that, on top of the holidays, the person has to do things like renew auto tags, driver's licence and other similar things that are irritating expenses at best, but are particularly difficult to fit into the December budget.) It worked, so I guess I'm back in business now.

My next hurdle is to resign myself to the fact that I live in a family that really enjoys the Holidays, and it is unfair and mean of me to be such a party pooper. Therefore, I need to commit myself to ginning up a little enthusiasm of my own. I don't give a rat's ass for the Holidays, but I do like to see DH and DD happy. All this merriment makes them happy. The least I can do is to focus on how much I enjoy seeing them happy, and try to let that show.

That's the theory. The hard part is that DH is making himself crazy over the Christmas decorations. He's about to have a nervous breakdown over lights that don't work. I want to ask him how this can be fun and enjoyable.

[Aside: Early in our marriage -- back in the days when I was still trying to be the perfect wife-mother-hausfrau-etc. -- DH sat me down after Christmas one year and told me that I was ruining Christmas for him with my stressing out so over meals, parties, gifts, entertaining, etc., etc. He told me to lighten up. Christmas does not have to be an endless round of entertaining and cooking. He wanted it to be a simple family affair. That was a total revelation to me. I learned how to "do" Christmas from my mother, who started shopping for Christmas on January 1 and started cooking for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. December was a relentless round of cooking, entertaining, cleaning up and then more cooking for more parties. After I got married, that's what I did, because I didn't know any better. I hated it, but I thought everyone expected it. I spent every Christmas of my life cooking and entertaining. The cooking I didn't mind too much. The entertaining was always a strain on my Introvert. I was thrilled to know I didn't have to do all of that. .... BACK TO TODAY'S STORY]

I'm tempted to sit him down and give him a dose of his own medicine on the subject of stressing himself out over his decorations.

DD on the other hand is totally into the material aspects of the holiday. She's in it for the presents. To her credit, she's a generous and thoughtful gift-giver. She spends more than she should. What is more (here's the part where I get in trouble), she has expectations that others will spend lavishly on her as well. Unfortunately, her family (both her immediate family and our extended family) does not do that. Fortunately Wonderful Boyfriend's family makes up for our deficiences, which only underscores our deficiencies .... do you see where this is headed?

Anyway, DD and I end up clashing over gifts. I know that her expectations are way beyond what I could fulfill. I end up stressing over giving her gifts that I believe are appropriate and yet measure up to her standards. This year, I'm worried because in the past three years, I've already given her all of my most prized jewelry. I don't have any treasures left to give her. (Yikes!) I'll figure something out.... (I hope).

So, it's time for me to start getting in the mood.... er, I mean, the Holiday Spirit. (Ho. Ho. Ho. ???)

Step One: pretend. I learned a long time ago when I was dealing with panic disorder that acting as though I was okay often eventually resulted in feeling okay. That can sometimes work for enthusiasm too. Acting as though I'm happy sometimes results in my feeling happy. Then again, sometimes it results in feeling resentment for the people and circumstances that make me have to fake it, but -- hey -- it's usually worth a shot.

We'll see how this pans out.

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