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"Wanted: 2017 Calendar. Missing Two Days." - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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"Wanted: 2017 Calendar. Missing Two Days."
That's my Christmas entry in the legendary (it turns out urban-legendary) six-word-story contest that Ernest Hemingway won with "For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn."  It has just as much emotion and sadness pent up in those fourteen syllables from the past fourteen or so hours and a period like it a month ago.

The days to get it down to 363 are the last Thursday in November and the 24th of December- each the culmination of modern-day morphs of traditional harvest and solstice festivals, all co-opted by retail and media into virtual orgies of conspicuous consumption.

For anyone, it's got to be difficult.  For those of us- as did both of us- who came from families with emotional issues surrounding these holidays, it's far worse.  We've passed it on to our daughter as certainly as she got my blue eyes and Mom's artistic skills; and it's magnified (as in setting-ants-on-fire magnifying) by her boyfriend coming from his own two semi-families who mess with his head as well as Emily's around these times.

At Thanksgiving, they brought it in with them.   You may have read the whys and wherefores of it elsewhere; they're not necessary to you understanding the pain everyone felt.  Eleanor and I took major steps over the ensuing month to help Emily deal with what she was feeling and needed to do. We are continuing those efforts. By the time they left last month, all was well.

Until it wasn't- and another round of Holiday Emotional Roulette began last night. We all said, did or didn't do things that are now regretted.  Again, you may see greater specifics, but you don't need to. By mid-morning, kinder words had been exchanged, Eleanor and I recommitted to helping Emily understand and respond to what has been going on, and for now, all is calm, all is relatively bright.

And there is one thing all four of us have absolutely agreed on: these days have got to go.

I thought we had this.  By eliminating the demands of the days- no food-coma dinners, no decorations, no deals (big) being made- could we get through these pages of the calendar without driving each other crazy?

Answer: no.  So here's the new plan- to simply make the question go away.

Beginning next year, Eleanor and I will avail ourselves of a simple, if local, solution to the triggers and traumas of Turkey Day: it's called Canada.  They have their harvest festival over a month earlier on our Murder of Indigenous Peoples Day weekend. Their last Thursday in November is, well, the last Thursday in November, eh?  One border crossing, a nice dinner out for the two of us- of something other than an overstuffed poultry with all the trimmings- and then a movie or show of some sort.  The kids can do their own things and, if they need to escape the other rents' holiday issues, our home will be here and quiet for them to retreat to.

Christmas Eve?  Out to a Chinese restaurant and a cinema.  Just like Jews will have been doing for over 4700 years;)

The other 363 days of the year, we will be here, and here for them.  But we can't continue these family traditions just because Hallmark and Wal-Mart are pushing us to.

Enjoy your own celebrations, however and however big you wish them.  Please be understanding of our need to be a little different, though. 
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Comments
apocalypticbob From: apocalypticbob Date: December 26th, 2016 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Honestly about ready to make the same call for myself.
yesididit2 From: yesididit2 Date: December 26th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
my moms family always tried to get up to celebrate with gramma *some* time in december, even if it was the first week, and if they didnt make it til january, then so be it. we're all spread out over multiple states, and its hours of driving for all of us to get there. nobody wants to be on the road in a blizzard. so we're all really flexible about when we can get up to visit gramma. and gramma doesnt want us on the road in bad weather either.

the point is to enjoy your time visiting, not stressing about getting to x place, by y time, bringing all of z with you.

i figure you should do what you gotta do to be able to relax and enjoy your time together rather than stress. if that means doing it on a different day/week/month, and doing it your own way instead of tradition, then thats exactly the right way to do it. make the holidays your own, rather than letting them own you.
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: December 26th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Go to Canada for the day? Heck, I moved here. Even Canadian Thanksgiving (earlier because of shorter growing season) isn't much of a holiday, more just an excuse for a statutory day off in October.

Unfortunately, the other great International Greedfest, Hallowe'en (Feb 14) is here too. However, I bought her a house, I figure I'm good on presents year 'round at least until 2047.

As for Chinese Food on Christmas: Shalom, bro.

Edited at 2016-12-26 07:27 pm (UTC)
ellettra From: ellettra Date: December 27th, 2016 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I well understand and thoroughly commend your decision to take matters in hand rather than seeing another year of being dragged behind the boat. I moved far away from my family and flat refuse to travel on holidays. The stress associated with all of it is simply too much. This year I did miss my family and a phone call (several) didn't feel like enough, but given everything, I think what I was actually missing was a sense of wholeness - which I would not have achieved while I was there anyway!

I'm glad you're all on board to take care of yourselves in a different way!
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