This is one of those years when it’s hard to get that holly jolly feeling going. With all the crap happening in our world, the hate and stupidity that feels like it’s reaching epic proportions and this weirdo weather, (I’m looking at you El Nino) Christmas spirit is hard to find. Combine that with the normal drama that comes with the holidays like family dysfunction, feelings of inadequacy (I love Martha, but I blame you.) hectic schedules, whiney children and financial stress and it’s easy to just throw a pair of socks in a gift bag and call the whole thing off. (Full disclosure, I did this once in Turkey. My dramatic gesture was totally wasted on my Muslim-non-Christmas-understanding-extended family so I wouldn’t recommend it.)
After all that we’ve been through this year with the Nugget’s health, my not working to care for the afore mentioned sick Nugget (For you long-term readers, things have been tight but, I haven’t resorted to working the pole on Cellulite Night yet, though Christmas could send me over so I’ve worked up a little number to Brickhouse just in case.) the Turk’s crazy work stress and the strain of a new home, new town and new school, I seriously considered a repeat of the socks in a bag scenario this year. (Full disclosure: I also considered putting a receipt for dental work in one stocking and a hearing aid in the other with a note from Santa that said, “Here kids, Santa took the practical route this year.”)
Luckily, a couple weeks ago a brilliant man who’s only been celebrating Christmas since he married a stunningly good-looking American broad, saved our Christmas. “You have to relax. You cannot cancel Christmas. The boys will be little just for short time. I know you are tired and worry about money but we are very lucky this year. We made it through everything. We have forever for saving money.” While my gut disagreed, my heart knew that crazy, hairy bastard was right. So, I adopted a few well-known mantras to change my Christmas vibe and I now pass those to you.
- News and Politics- Just say No.
The Turk and I are news junkies. NPR, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNN TURK, HaberTurk, Cumhurieyet, we subscribe to them all. The crux of our marriage has long been discussing both Turkish and American politics. But right now both of our countries are panic-stricken train-wrecks and all this hate-mongering and sabre rattling is killing me so I’m checking out. No Turkish news. No American news. I’m going to just say no and to be honest, having my morning coffee with Curious George instead of George Stephanopolis has been rather nice. I’m choosing a week of ignorance and two days in, I can say ignorance has definitely been bliss.
- Stupid People – Let it Go
We’ve all got one. You are minutes away from diggin’ into some figgy pudding when your gun-lovin’, NRA-fundin’ Uncle Dick starts spewing his views on the need for all kindergarten teachers to pack heat in order to fend off evildoers. Before he’s done he will go on to tell you that Obama is a Muslim, Trump is going to make a great president and Starbucks started the war on Christmas with those red cups. I don’t think I’m the first to point out that Uncle Dick is crazy. (Unfortunately, in my family we’ve got several scattered on both sides of the globe) Sure, you could put down your hot toddy and try to school Uncle Dick but he’s already been lost to the Dark Side. You can’t fix crazy so why let it ruin your Christmas? Let it go. Sing the song in your head while he’s talking and let it go. And later, when you log onto Facebook and see ridiculously racist posts from people you’ve not spoken to since high school graduation in 1990, do you need to chime in and school them? Nope. Remember, you can’t fix stupid either. Just let it go. It’s only hurting you. Feel free to pick the fight up again in few days but as for Christmas, pour yourself a tall glass of wine, sit back and watch the crazy train pull right past your stop. Don’t get on, just let it go.
- Food, Drink and Fun– Treat Yo Self!
The holidays are a time for indulgence and for those of us who cannot buy our beloved a new Lexus with a bow on top or an armful of Le Vion diamonds from Jared, (not that I know what those even are) we must turn to budget indulgences. My budget go-tos are usually food and booze. I’m classy like that. Give me an iced Santa cookie with a cup of Folgers for breakfast or some $3 chardonnay with a port wine cheese ball and I’ll turn into freakin’ Little Mary Sunshine. It’s the little indulgences that make things special and that is also what the kids remember. So, treat yo self. Have cookies for breakfast. Push bedtime back. Cheat at Memory (I’m old. I have no other choice.) Have a dinner of cocktail weenies and peanut clusters. It’s Christmas for godssakes. And when faced with the age-old dilemma- Should I have that additional glass of wine before heading to mass? WWJD? Jesus would say, “It’s my birthday. Treat yo self.”
So there you go – Just Say No like Nancy Regan, Let It Go like those broads from Frozen and Treat Yo Self like Tom Haverford and you too can find your holiday Zen and avoid a socks in a bag Christmas.
As for me, I think it’s acutally working because I was awakened by a barfing toddler this morning and I’m still feeling pretty damn good. Now, go Treat Yo Self to a bottle of $3 merlot. It’s Christmas.
From our half-breed – bi-cultural home to yours, Merry Christmas- Mutlu Noel!