Tag Archives: christmas

Holidaze

xmasturkeyAs I navigate Times Square’s fresh influx of holiday tourists guided by hot chocolate-fueled fervors, I reignite my disdain for large, confused crowds. And yet, the holiday cheer is addictive—my lips twist into a foreign smile as I dance through their frenzied, buzzing clusters with my own agenda taking the wheel. I’m possessed by the spirit of Santa Claus; move out of my way, and save yourselves!

Each year the act of gift giving catches me in its riptide, pulling me this way and that as I seek out presents that’ll make an impression and leave the recipients temporarily lost for words. I search for the unique, the outrageous, the unforgettable. My stores of choice are folding tables buckling under the weight of too many knickknacks manned by craftsmen and women who offer an unrivaled present along with the tale of their company’s origin.

Bryant Park assaults me with Christmas cheer, my senses overwhelmed across the board. My nose itches with the sweet temptation of wafels and dinges; my ears are assailed by Mariah Carey as she shrieks that all she wants is me—me; can you believe it?—for Christmas this year; my gloved hand yearns to be enveloped by another as we glide across the glassy ice rink and off into the sunset; and my eyes take it all in: a blur of memories tinted red and green, able to be recalled with the jingle of a bell.

As I leave the park with gifts nestled nice and snug in bags, I’m met with cries: “Donate your change! Come on, lady, have a heart—it’s the holidays after all!” Take my laundry change, Mickey Mouse, and make sure you share with Minnie and all your other mascot-laden friends. It only burdens my pockets around this time of the year anyway.

And yet as I drift off into a snow globe cyclone, a brief moment of clarity shakes me to my core. Why, it’s still November. In fact, we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. And if I recall correctly, last week saw temperatures that mirror the vernal equinox. And this ice skating rink where parents are releasing their children for minutes of relief is the one and the same that was melting last week as it attempted to cool itself down during record-shattering high temperatures.

My reality crashes down around me. Mickey, Minnie—COME BACK! I need that change for my laundry after all; it appears my Christmas cheer is premature!

I stuff gloved fists into warm pockets and return to crowd pushing and shouldering to get through my day’s tasks. Every now and then the tinkle of a bell or the glint of silver tinsel catches my eye from a shop window. But alas, I won’t fall victim to Manhattan’s untimely Christmas cheer again. At least not until Thanksgiving is over anyway.

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Home for the Holidays…If I Have To

gingeyI’ve been hesitant to write this post for awhile now, mostly out of fear. And since it’s always on my mind as the topic I want to be writing about, it’s stopped me from really being able to write much else. Thus the recent lack of posts on my behalf. Then I remembered what my senior year Creative Nonfiction professor told me, and that kind of snapped me out of this. If you’re going to write creative nonfiction, then you have to commit to it. If you lie or embellish things, then your audience will notice it. And similarly, if you leave things out or try to write as a favor to others, then what is the point of writing? So here it goes.

 I wanted to talk about the holidays and how now, as a 25 year old, being home for the holidays with my family fucking sucks.

As I get older, the holidays become smaller and more personal. We come closer together, bonding over memories of those who are no longer with us and clinging to one another with an unspoken desperation. In a way, it’s great that my family finally deems us “kids” as ready to be part of the grownup conversation at the dinner table. But the grownup conversation usually differs drastically from my opinions. I have no problem discussing differing opinions — in fact, I love it — but my responses are always met with eye rolls that say, “Oh, she’s so young and naive! She’ll see one day.”

My entire family — cousins, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, probably the ghosts of family members that are floating through our houses during the holidays — are all registered as Proud Republicans while I’m the lone Democrat (newly registered Green party member actually, which depending on who you talk to in my family, might be a lot worse). I don’t have an issue with all conservatives necessarily, but I do have a problem with the racist, homophobic, close-minded ones that come to my kitchen and drink wine on the holidays. These aren’t the people I grew up; these aren’t the people I have an endless amount of love and respect for.

Except, they are.

Some are worse than others, but for the most part my family has started to embody the characteristics that I find most deplorable in the world. The types of topics that I harbor strong opinions about — women and gay rights, racism, a value behind traveling and coming out of your comfort zone, understanding the difference between journalism and creative writing — are things that my family not only just doesn’t see eye-to-eye with me about, but they flat out refuse to even try. It’s frustrating and leads to me walking away from the dinner table once the conversation turns to the recent news of cops that “did the right thing because they’re cops and cops are right forever and that black man tried to do a bad thing probably maybe” with a little bit “hey, Obama sucks and here’s why I think so” sprinkled on top.

Maybe this is part of growing up. The parents that were invincible, highly intelligent superheroes are our peers now. I’ve gone through a significant amount of struggles that they can relate to, and more upsetting, ones that they can’t relate to at all. I understand that they weren’t all-knowing even if my child mind thought they were. Now I can relate to certain paths they took and that scares the absolute shit out of me.

My family isn’t wrong (ehhhhh…maybe a little actually) and they aren’t bad people — they are simply different from me. At some point in my life I drastically deviated away from the course my parents took, the same course that my brothers and cousins seem to be gliding along. I’m envious of friends who come from more liberal and open-minded families, and I’ve even begun a list of things I didn’t try until college (so far this list consists of hummus, Indian food, traveling outside of the United States, brown rice, and so many other weird things that even surprise me). But unfortunately this deviation leads to me feeling very alone during the holidays now, resorting to simple and gossipy conversation in the hopes that I’ll feel that camaraderie with my family members once again.

I don’t know what I hope to accomplish with this post, but part of me hopes that my parents never see it. Even though they already know that I don’t like their opinions and wish that they would step outside of their comfort zones more often, I feel like reading this might upset them. But again, I’m attempting to write for myself, not for anyone else. The holidays are no longer fun, exciting moments where I get a break from the stresses of real life and can hang out with my favorite people. It’s become a time where I feel completely ostracized from my family, even the ones I felt closest to throughout my life. It uncovers a fear that after 25 years of conversations and experiences together, they don’t actually really know me that well at all.

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Sorry for the Christmas Sneer

Boring-ChristmasIt’s Christmastime and I’m sitting in the office for the construction company I work at doing work that isn’t time sensitive. Is this really how the holidays are celebrated these days? Work up to the very last minute, then you’re pushed into mass transit to sit in uncomfortable traffic, finally making it to your family where you’re too exhausted from working all day to actually appreciate the holidays to their full extent.

I guess you can say I’m not exactly tingling with Christmas cheer right now. It might be the fact that I have to be here at all today. I thought that when I stopped waitressing, it meant I was done working right up until the last possible second before the holidays technically begin. No more working Christmas and New Year’s Eves, no working the morning after the holidays at the earliest possible shift. Apparently I joined one of the few (in comparison to my friends) office gigs that has only five holiday days off per year, with no surrounding leeway.

I think it’s a silly notion that people don’t get an adequate amount of time off for holidays. How many of us are really lucky enough to see our families all the time? I don’t get to see my aunt and uncle that much and I really miss them, but TOO DAMN BAD — the construction industry needs me to alphabetize next year’s Christmas card recipient list! Sorry Aunt Chrissy, maybe next year if (/when) I have a new job!

It sucks sucks sucks. I want to stamp my feet and whine while lightly slapping someone’s arm. Let me go home! Let my coworkers go home! Let all the people working today go home, because all this work can WAIT! It can wait until people aren’t feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It can wait until we feel relaxed, after a much needed break from the monotony of a five day workweek. We need to stop rushing the vacations and downtime days, and just accept that our bodies and minds need them.

The workplace would be a much happier, more positive environment without boiling in a pot of stressed, overworked, overtired minds.

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