Things have been pretty crazy this year, and I found it pretty hard to get into the Christmas spirit. Two coworkers died just before Thanksgiving, and since then, I feel like exclaiming that way overdone, but true phrase, "And the hits just keep on coming!" Also, "When it rains, it pours."
You would think that tomorrow's memorial would be a bit much, but even after a hectic weekend, I have found something of the Christmas season. See, I generally LOVE Christmas, the time of year, winter in general, but this year seemed like too much of an effort. For several weeks, I really, really, really could care less who needed what so "urgently," who thought what was important (even though I used to think it was important, too,) and who expected what for Christmas.
Would it seem strange to say that after so much putting off, struggling with getting a date and location and time, that some of the mood is that I know tomorrow - the sadness will still be there - but a person so many cared about is finally being remembered and acknowledged, and I'm looking forward to it? I am sure I will cry, I am sure there will be pain, but I am looking forward to a release of sorts as well.
Let me tell you what else has forced the Christmas spirit upon me (and for which I am strangely grateful):
- Our office looks little bit like Christmas vomited up in it. Everything is wrapped, tinseled, and absolutely nothing matches or was meant to go together. Blue metallic snowflakes and green and red stockings? You got it. Red Christmas trees and silver garland? Naturally. Nearly everyone who walks in the door says something of the same, "Wow... it looks very 'Christmas-y' in here..." with no small amount of awe.
- For good measure, we attacked the desk of a coworker who was absent for a day. He's been having a rough year, so we thought we'd cheer him up by, you know, wrapping up everything on his desk like Christmas presents, down to keyboard and mouse and stray pencils, and other random things around his desk. When he called in the next day, turquoise ornaments with fluffy "boa" like purple feathers that the craft store had discounted to pennies (and, strangely, a LOT of!) were hung above where he sits as well as purple streamers. When he called in for a third day, it was ON. He had to literally unwrap his way to his desk and is still facing cute pictures of Christmas kittens and Care Bears that he can't remove. We show our love in strange ways...
- I appeared to have suffered from temporary insanity when I volunteered to cook fry bread for a Native event. Now, if you have never eaten fry bread (or "Indian" fry bread) or seen Native people's anadultered enjoyment of it, let me set the scene. Imagine your absolute favorite food, the ones the reminds you of fun and family and a happy stomach. Now imagine you haven't eaten in three days and the smell of that is wafting through the air. Now imagine several hundred other people who also haven't eaten, and the food is coming out in 12-bread batches every 20 minutes. Is this the set-up for something bad to happen? I think so. Although hidden in the back, I literally had people smell their way to the cooking and come to hug me, and other people attack my brother each time he went in to deliver a batch. If my brother had the audacity to want to join the party without fry bread, he was attacked by people wanting to know why he was fry bread-less, and promptly sent him back. I cooked for five hours straight, and it still became a "who knows who" for people to be able to get them. The caterer for the party brought baskets for me to put them in, but not a single bread made it in. By the time my brother got to the door each time, he was attacked and emptied. It was exhausting, fun, satisfying to bring people a favorite, and entirely absurd. Over two days later, and I am still recovering.
- And finally, this weekend I had to go deal with "real life" and was not expecting much good to come of it. I had to go pay a bill, late, and was ready to pony up the $50 fine. The girl taking it wiped away the fee and turned me away with a "Merry Christmas!" The guy at the check-out in a store that does not offer walk-you-to-your-car service grabbed my bags and asked where my car was, no questions about it, and ignored my offers to help him with the awkward bundle. When I tried to tip him, he laughed and said, "But then it's not helping!" And when I got a coupon wrong - 50% off one item, and a big-ticket item - the lady behind me said there was no sense in wasting hers, and offered it up.
So, Christmas is saved from the Grinch again, and just in time, thanks to a whole lot of other people. I know, the cynics will talk about the costs and the money, the capitalistic greed and lost company time - but there's room for the warm and fuzzy too! My experience hasn't exactly been Tiny Tim warming Scrooge's heart, but it's nice to know that kind of stuff still happens.