Our big holiday plans this year were pretty similar to most years: Quiet, low-key, getting through it. Dinner with my immediate family (just six of us, my generation including spouses, this year) at my brother’s. Come Monday next (our 29th anniversary!), the usual New Year’s brunch with a dear, long-time friend. In the middle…pretty much whatever.
Reading a few posts here and there about gift-receiving issues, I’m happy with the choice my wife and I made when we got married (her idea, I think), one that’s spread–for Christmas, for adults–to both families, at least for general gatherings. The gift is getting together. Period. Or, in some cases, cards noting charitable donations on others’ behalf. (We don’t do the “named donations,” and tend to select no publicity for our larger donations in any case.) If that sounds Grinchy, it isn’t really. It may have something to do with growing up in families where money was always an issue (much more so on my wife’s side, and never obvious on mine when I was growing up–but certainly true) and, once we earned decent money, being wary of excess possessions. (For us, at least, always living in small houses has helped!)
There are those in our neighborhood that overdecorate (aren’t there everywhere?). We don’t decorate at all. Our indoor cats long ago convinced us not to have trees in the house. Walking around the neighborhood–did I mention we live in a real neighborhood, with neighbors we’re acquainted with and all that stuff?–we’ve seen one street with a nice little tradition–a big red
boughbow on the largest tree on each lot, and that’s about it. We’ve also seen one place that had a prefab creche, fronted by three inflatable Santas serving in lieu of the three wise men. (When I mentioned that at the family gathering, my brother and sister–both fairly religious–had the same reaction: “That’s disturbing on so many levels.” We just thought it was tacky.)
Otherwise–well, I don’t post with any regularity anyway. I don’t feel any desire to highlight my best posts of the year, and I already covered some highlights of Cites & Insights in the January 2007 issue and this post, although the post was about essay popularity, not necessarily the essays I’m proudest of. (Sometimes the same thing, but not always.) I’m working on the project mentioned in the current issue. I took part in the current meme, and notice that none of the indirectly-invited tagees have joined in. Maybe they’re taking better winter breaks.
We’re watching one TV-show-on-DVD episode a night since there aren’t any new episodes, although we did break sequence to watch a Christmas-themed episode of Remington Steele on Christmas eve (a very strange episode it was, with three Santas, a bombing plot, and Jennifer Tilly as a…well, don’t want to spoil the plot).
[We didn't happen to schedule a Christmas-themed Netflix receipt this year. I wouldn't mind seeing Elf again. I'd love to see Polar Express again. I don't imagine I'll ever want to see Bad Santa (actually the Badder Santa DVD) again, although it was fun in its own way the first time. And, although we own Santa Claus Conquers the Martians as part of a 50-movie Megapack, I couldn't honestly try to sell my wife on its suitability for Christmas eve or any other time. And we'd seen the Moonlighting special Christmas episode just a few months ago.]
I dunno. Maybe I get a touch of SAD. Maybe it’s just the year-end blahs. I’m looking forward to Midwinter (and trust Seattle won’t get another massive storm at that point). The weather outside is…not frightful, but strange. Rainy, windy, clearing, foggy, in reasonably unpredictable succession. (Snow’s never a factor in Mountain View, although there are times when we can see it on some of the coastal range peaks–the mountain views, as it were.)
Anyway, may your holidays be as happy as you desire, and may the new year be better (and more peaceful?) for all of us…