Monday, January 2, 2012

I enjoyed the holidays,but I’m so glad they’re over

I enjoy the holidays BUT there’s still that element of stress and I’m really glad they’re over. Two years ago, I wrote a post, No longer haunted by holiday depression. I stand by that post and now would put it more positively. Not only am I no longer “haunted” but I actually (for the most part) enjoy the holidays.

When I had a young child, the holidays were high stress. I wanted my son to have the “perfect Christmas” (whatever that is) and knocked myself out buying presents and putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house etc. It was seriously high stress—especially with major marital problems that always worsened during the holidays. When the marriage ended, there was the tension of the joint custody years with all those negotiations about how my son would spend the holidays.

My life is so much less stressful now and the holidays reflect that. My son and my nieces don’t want presents—just checks-- which makes life easier, and I no longer feel any need to decorate the house. My sister still does that Christmas thing and I’m always taken aback when I see all the Christmas decorations in her house. My sister's house during the holidays:

Even the dog is in Christmas finery:

For me it’s just a poinsettia, but in a way I enjoy my sister's celebration of Christmas.

We had a great New Year’s Eve—an amazing party right in the neighborhood. It was a multi-generational event (which as an old person I really appreciate) with live music and dancing. I hadn’t been to a party like that for a while and I’d forgotten how much fun it is to dance. I was a little reluctant at first, but “Black Magic Woman" got me to my feet.

The only holiday entertaining Rick and I do is an open house on New Year’s Day. We used to have a New Year’s Eve dinner, but a few years ago after Rick had spent the whole day cooking a fantastic dinner, only 2 of our dinner guests showed. They were ill, were worried about the weather, uncomfortable about driving at night. We spent the next day driving around to deliver food to those friends who hadn’t come.

We decided that a lot of our friends were getting too old to be reliable New Year’s Eve guests so we switched to an open house on New Year’s day which has worked out very well. We don’t cook; we just buy hors d'oeuvres and our friends bring wonderful dishes. Some of the best pastry chefs in the city were there, bringing wonderful baked goods. (Thanks, Kathy.)

But there’s no way around it—-entertaining is stressful for the hosts. I fell down on the job and got so involved in conversations, I didn’t notice we had run out of clean wine glasses and utensils. Rick can deal with paper plates for hors d’oeuvres, but he insists on real glasses and utensils—which means monitoring the glasses and throwing some in the dishwasher if necessary. Fortunately some of my friends took up the slack and I found them washing glasses and utensils in the kitchen. I’ll never be the perfect hostess—too scattered for that.

So we got through the holidays and although I enjoyed them, I’m so glad they’re over and so happy to settle back into routine.

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