I'm told that this is a common feeling this year, but I don't feel very Christmas-y. There's no snow. I have no tree, which is not entirely the problem since I haven't had a tree in three years. I have a little itty bitty tree on my TV that can stay there until the Fourth of July for all I care--I hardly notice it. And other than the obnoxious lights on the doublewide up the road, I don't think I would know it was Christmas except for this sudden, palatable urge the strikes me every so often.
It is true. I have little to no money for presents this year. It bums me out a little because, unfortunately, I know that sometimes people expect gifts. I just don't have the cash. I'm baking loaves of yummy bread to give away with jars of homemade peach jam. I'm buying into the materialistic side of the holiday because I've never done this before--made my own gifts. Why do I feel like it's a cop out?
In the days of my youth...scratch that. When I was young and stupid, I would have blown half my rent and the rest of my bill money on extravagant gifts for my friends and family. And I would buy for everybody. I would buy for people who weren't close friends. I would just, y'know, pick something up. Did it make them like me any better? I can honestly say, for all the random Christmas shoppery in my past, I doubt I can count one person who I last-minute-guilt-gifted as a near and dear.
I know that this is silly, materialistic and pointless talk. Christmas is, of course, about family and friends and reflection. For me, it means going to Christmas Eve services with my family and playing hangman with my sister and laughing about how my brother sings the hymns. We are an embarrassing lot, us Children. We snicker and make faces and roll our eyes and our grandmother just smiles and offers us stale gum from the bottom of her purse. After the services, we duck out and go up to my grandmother's house, where there's a cache of food and the Christmas Story to watch and younger cousins to laugh at.
It's the same every year.
But this year, it's like all the spirit and fun just got sucked out. Seattle has, begrudgingly, gotten all of our snow. I dislike winter, but I dislike it even more when the convenient white cover is stripped away, allowing us to see and smell the rotting world around us. Usually, the snow takes away the smell of composting leaves but without it, the world smells putrid. I'm not asking for a lot of snow. Just enough to make things pretty. And smell better.