Okay, calling the holidays, hellidays is horrible and I’ll probably go to hell for saying it. I vaguely picture myself being roasted brown on a spit like a large stuffed pig complete with apple in my mouth by Lucifer himself, who in my mind vaguely resembles a mortgage broker in a pink polyester suit. But honestly, the holidays can be hell. I feel them approaching with impending trepidation about all the things to be done – of which there are many, of all the money to be spent – of which there is not so much, of all the extended family issues to navigate – of which there will be too many. I was in Ralphs grocery store on Wednesday trying to accomplish an hour’s worth of shopping in the twenty-five minutes that I had before picking up my kids from music class and I realized that I was talking to myself. Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner had driven me to talk to myself. Not just a word or two, but a full blown conversation trying to talk my way through the list of over fifty items from granulated sugar to canned yams to dinner rolls. I was talking to myself and honestly, I’m pretty damn sure the canned corn talked back. The bad thing is, I realized I was talking out loud to myself, and I didn’t stop. I needed to do it in order to get myself through the task at hand. At that moment, I clearly understood why crazy people talk to themselves. It’s comforting. It’s like someone’s with you. You’re not alone on this treacherous journey (in my case down the dairy aisle) that you are undertaking.
The hellidays, those thirtyplus days from Thanksgiving to New Year’s - although it seems longer because all the retailers have had Christmas lights and garland in the stores since before Halloween – are a time where regardless of whether you feel thankful or merry or newly resolved, you are expected to behave as if you are thankful or merry or newly resolved. It’s a conspiracy. You have to go along with it because everyone else does. Maybe it’s the idea of faking it until you make it. If you force yourself to go along with all the holiday cheer, the merry sentiments of the season, then eventually, you really start to feel that way. You recognize the things you have to feel thankful for, find merriment even in the midst of all the chaos, angst and family drama, and you steel yourself to face the New Year with the optimism and resolution to face even the most challenging tasks and personal improvement projects. Maybe that is the magic of the holidays-- that you can be transformed by the spirit of the season, at least until January 2nd when you fall of that new diet and realize the can of creamed corn is still talking to you.
Enjoy your turkey, be thankful, and stay out of my way in Ralphs. Happy Thanksgiving – in advance.