The first date Husband and I went on was not actually a date but rather more like a premise for a terrible Christmas movie.
It was two years ago. We were roommates at the time and still referred to one another, “My roommate, Gregg–” or “Me and Boy Roommate–.” We never quite reached the “My friend, Ashleigh–” phase.
The not-a-date was a couple of weeks before Christmas and took place on a Saturday. Neither of us can recall who first came up with the idea to go Christmas shopping downtown, but onwards we went, bundled up in toques and scarves and gloves. All afternoon, we wandered in and out of shops, cracking jokes in the comic book store, making rude gestures with nutcrackers in Cookworks, railing against the establishment outside department store windows, and lingering a bit too long in the bookstore. We didn’t buy a thing.
“Douglas,” our chipper wee friend of a Christmas tree, sits discarded in the backyard. Having completely missed the free tree chipping the second weekend in January, we have no idea what to do with it.
I only remembered the tree at all when the snow thawed last Friday.
“Oh yeah,” I remarked to BoyRoommatefriend, “The tree.”
It looks so pathetic hunkered there in the corner of the yard, tilted sideways against the grass like a tourist who fell asleep on the beach.
The suggestion was made to cut it up into tiny pieces and squeeze it into the compost, but somehow the sheer brutality of such a feat made me wince.
This is the first time I’ve ever had my own Christmas tree to deal with. In years past, it was either the tree at my parents’ house, or we simply never had a tree.
This is the story of How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Class Differences. I’m pretty sure most of why I grew up to appreciate Marx is encapsulated in this tiny little nugget of childhood.
This is the second time I’ve had to write this post (as I’ve already grumbled about). Whenever such a thing happens, I try to be all self-help sentimental about it and tell myself that this simply means it will be better the second time around.
That’s probably not true. I’m pretty sure I struck gold before. This is just cheap brass in comparison.
For some reason I’m actually excited about Christmas this year. Not quite wear-a-tacky-sweater excited, but actually-going-to-decorate-a-tree-and-drink-lots-of-mulled-wine excited.
Not entirely sure why this is, but it might have something to do with the fact that I don’t really have anything to be depressed about this year. As someone who deals with month-long mood swings and varying degrees of S.A.D., the month of December is usually a gauntlet of self-medication drug trials.
After remarking to Boy Roommate that I was *gasp, shock, horror!* looking forward to the holidays (and then processing the subsequent confusion wrought about his face), I sat and thought about it. I think the last time I was this genuinely excited about Christmas was 2002.
I thought I’d share a story of my tortured childhood. I have no idea how this is relevant, but while I spent an hour of the taxpayers dime decorating a Christmas tree, a memory rose to the surface of my bubbling, festering stew of a mind.
In grade five we got to do what most elementary school kids do around the holiday season: waste the better part of our young days making crappy Christmas decorations out of things like popsicle sticks and macaroni. For some reason, this year, we were charged with making pom-poms… presumably to function as tree ornaments.
We were politely ordered to bring in different colours of yarn to make a festive addition to each of our snot-nosed holiday households. Red and green were the colours of choice, perhaps white or even gold were acceptable.
My family is English. Mostly. I was reading an article on the Guardian on the loveliest of English desserts (subjective description, I know), The Trifle. There was even a poll: Is trifle supposed to have jelly? Yes or No? This made me think of the torturous experience that the trifle is every year with my family.
We have no such thing as trifle in my family, but we do have “The F***ing Trifle” – the Christmas tradition that causes more fights and familial conflicts than religion and politics combined. Whether it’s fights over someone scraping out all the custard, or someone else picking the crumbled Flake bar off the whipped cream, or whatever the feud… there’s always bloodshed.
In an attempt to bring peace on earth at Christmas, I suggested that I can make individual trifles, suited to everyone’s personal tastes – or that I can alter the ingredients to be generally more edible, or that we should even scrap the trifle altogether, as no one really eats it, they just fight over it, but I was nearly dragged out and shot.
There’s no accounting for taste, or tradition.
PS – I’ve just realized that all my posts I have written somehow related to Christmas have (censored) expletives in the titles. *Sigh*
So tomorrow, I’m taking the day off work. Huzzah. It was originally intended to be a day to get through all those pesky starting-at-a-new-school things out of the way, like getting a student card, and all that, but once that was taken care of, it’s degenerated into a shopping trip downtown with my sister.
I’m looking forward to it. This December has thus far been an exercise in stress management – but not the working-under-a-deadline kind of stress, but the more vague, less tolerable kind. Christmas Eve is my last day at the City, and it marks a stressful day in and of itself. At least I’ll get a good week an a half off from then until January 4. That day is standing out like a sore thumb waiting to happen. It’s going to be exciting, exhilarating, but terrifying (like bungee jumping) starting back at school. Unlike bungee jumping, which is simply closing your eyes and leaping, I have to keep at this. It’s not just one day, it’s eight frakking months.