I’m a Grinch … sort of

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“Oh, that’s right,” she said, “you never go, to the company party do you?  I’d forgotten about that. You don’t do the Secret Santa either. Eleanor the Grinch, that’s what we ought to call you.” They all laughed. “I don’t understand that cultural reference,” I said. “However, to clarify, I’m an atheist, and I’m not consumer oriented, so the midwinter shopping festival otherwise known as Christmas is of little interest to me.” (Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman). That could be me, I’ve been called the Grinch on more than one occasion.

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My mom loves the holidays & always tried her hardest to make them picture perfect, especially Thanksgiving & Christmas.  It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting, but sometimes she seems a little stressed 😟. We all try to tell her it doesn’t have to be perfect, I just hope she gets joy & happiness from all her hard work.  She does make the BEST Thanksgiving dinner! I on the other hand could skip it all, sometimes I do, I’m pretty good at trying to plan a trip so that we can skip the holidays especially Christmas & New Years.  We also pick a charity each year to donate to rather than too many unnecessary presents, I encourage you to do the same whether by donating your time or money.  It’s nice to sit down as a family to discuss what organization “speaks to you” for us it usually ends up the World Wild Life Foundation, http://www.worldwildlife.org.  My best Christmas was the one we “skipped” and went to Mexico and our only presents were surf lessons on Christmas Day …

We’re not religious, not me or my immediate family or extended family (as far as I know), and isn’t Christmas the celebration of the birth of Christ?  Even though I’m pretty sure December 25th isn’t even his birthdate.  I prefer to celebrate the winter solstice, or maybe even Festivus, “Festivus for the rest of us”  as proclaimed by George’s father on Seinfeld, is both a parody and a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe,[1][2] who worked on the American sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 episode “The Strike”that’s what George proclaimed he would celebrate from now on instead of Christmas or Hanukkah.

“Winter solstice has long been recognized as the first day of winter and is the shortest and darkest day of the year. It occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the sun. After the winter solstice the days get longer … What can you gain from this period of darkness?” According to its Latin roots, the word solstice means “sun standing still,” and winter solstice has been recognized across many cultures as a time to celebrate the gradual return of the light.”  … http://www.yogainternational.com

I want to celebrate the holidays by spending time with my family doing what we love whether it’s time at the beach, or skiing or hiking in the woods to cut a “Charlie Brown Xmas tree” but NOT shopping or wrapping gifts!

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This isn’t to say I don’t like some things about the Christmas holiday … the lights for one, the year Vail hosted the Alpine World Championships and all Vail was lit up with red, white & blue! 💙❤️💙  I like it when my mother-in-law takes me & my daughter & my sister-in-law & nieces to Xmas tea.  I love curling up on the couch with my family and watching “Elf” & “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the millionth time. I like the Xmas eve party our friends host that we get dressed up and they put on an amazing dinner spread (that looks like so much work but their extended family all help and I think they truly enjoy the time spent together putting it on).  I also like when my extended family doesn’t exchange gifts and instead plays a game …. What I don’t like is the commercialism and Xmas lights & music BEFORE Halloween and the pressure of gift giving.  If I drive around and get frustrated with traffic and the crowds and parking etc. to buy my sister-in-law a scented candle & then she in turn does the same thing & gives me a scented candle don’t they cancel each other out? And we could have saved ourselves all the aggravation, not to mention the damage to the environment?!?!  And don’t even get me started on the wrapping of presents 🙄!

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

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I do like Thanksgiving, it’s about giving thanks (therefor the name ;)) not unnecessary gifts. Believe it or not I even enjoy hosting Thanksgiving, although it is far from a Norman Rockwell Painting. It’s more like everyone come (even though our house is small, certainly no formal dinning room) bring on the “orphans” bring your relatives that are in town! Bring one & all!  One of my best memories is having one of the young coaches from my son’s football team over.  He was so thankful for the invite and although I told him not to bring anything, he brought his family’s traditional appetizer,  He pulled me aside and said “thank you so much for having me and my mom wanted me to thank you because she was sad that I might be alone”. ☺️ 💜💛.   One year in a somewhat new house, the turkey was cooking so slowly (because the boiler pan that comes with the oven, was on the lower rack, goes to show how little I cook I didn’t even know it was there 🙄) the heat wasn’t reaching the turkey, we didn’t eat until 9p, but it was super fun because we drank a bit more, played a board game before dinner instead of after and laughed hysterically (thankfully that mishap was PK (pre-kids)).  We use our nice dishes, crystal etc. but I’m not embarrassed to admit that come dessert the paper plates and paper napkins come out! No more dishes please!!!

This Thanksgiving break we were in Mexico and the night before we left we happened upon a guy getting ready to release baby turtles from their protected nest and he asked if we would like to help him release them into the ocean, which of course we were thrilled to help, now THAT is something to be grateful for!

Last Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my father, I remember so clearly when I came into the living room he said “you look so pretty” and I knew it would be the last time.  I miss him terribly, today especially, I’ve been a puddle of tears more than once.  I’m going to try to concentrate on how thankful I am to have spent his last Thanksgiving on this earth at his table.
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“I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals
I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.”

May your holidays be filled with experiences (less shopping & wrapping), laughter & peace (less stress) & happiness, joy & love!

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4 thoughts on “I’m a Grinch … sort of

  1. Hello Shannon, WP recommended your blog to me. When I read it I became immediately suspicious that somehow WP was secretly spying on me (or at least they have very good algorithms to match posts to my interests). Fellow grinch here. Can’t wait for January and for the whole silly season to be over. Can you believe it, America has exported Halloween to Australia and it seems to be really catching on! Give me a break. I must admit Thanksgiving does sound nice though, if you ignore the food part. Condolences on the loss of your father. I am sure not a day goes by when you don’t think of him.

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  2. 1.) I am so sorry for your loss =( 2.) We are clearly in each others head. 3.) Thank you for writing this, I felt a bit hesitant to post my one today because I knew I might get “Grinched” but now, reading about your christmas tea, your gratitude and your charity, I am more convinced now than ever that we have the right idea

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