Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Finding My Christmas Cheer December 3, 2010

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Family and Friends,Fun Stuff — Life Without Baby @ 11:48 am
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It’s December and I can feel myself slipping into the black hole of the holidays. I have no gift ideas for my loved ones, no plans for how to spend Christmas, and frankly no time or energy to do anything about either. I could go on about being busy, getting frustrated with the holiday madness, and blah-di-blah, but it’s not Whiny Wednesday and that’s not what this post is about.

I’ll admit that my holiday funk stems from “that-time-which-shall-not-be-named” when my husband and I were at our lowest point on our infertility journey and decided not to bother with Christmas that year. We made no plans, didn’t get a tree, and decided to hole up for a few days and avoid everyone and everything Christmas-y. About two days before Christmas I finally cracked and thought, “I’m infertile; I’m not dead!” and ran out and bought a rosemary tree and something delicious for Christmas dinner. But even now, I still can’t get my Christmas groove back.

I think part of this stems from my family being so far away. I used to enjoy shopping in October for my nieces and nephews, then shipping a giant box of presents via surface mail. It was fun for me and for them to anticipate the arrival of the box. Would it make it in time? Would it make it at all? But since the USPS did away with surface mail and jacked up the airmail prices so that shipping costs more than the gifts, I do most of my Christmas shopping online and have it shipped direct. It’s efficient and convenient, but really, it’s no fun.

Today we received a gift from one of my husband’s corporate associates. Instead of the usual basket of fake cheese and heart attack salami, they sent us a beautiful live wreath. I opened it up and the house filled with the scent of pine and cedar. Christmas! Now, all of a sudden I want to get my tree, I want to bake gingerbread, and give homemade gifts. I want to throw a party, celebrate Christmas and have fun! But I can’t remember how.

If I’d had children I would have passed my family’s traditions on to them and my holiday fun would have revolved about them. But as it is, it’s just the two of us, and the cat, so how to make Christmas Christmas-y again?

What do you do to keep the Christmas cheer? Do you decorate? Bake? Sing? What do you do to keep the spirit of the holidays?

I’m going to find some string to hang up this wreath, and I’m going to get a rosemary bush and some poinsettia’s this weekend. I’m also going to plan an informal party – some friends and drinks. This year I’m putting some fun back into my holidays.

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8 Responses to “Finding My Christmas Cheer”

  1. I’ve got a blog post coming out on the exact same topic later this evening. I mean, it’s eerie how close your post mirrors mine. http://www.awomanwithoutchildren.wordpress.com I’m relying on sheer determination to muster up Christmas spirit this year. I agree, it’s not easy to get back into the Christmas groove after many years of avoiding Christmas. Part of it for me is I want the simplicity and charm of Christmas, but I work full time outside the home and do a lot of traveling to family events during the month of December. Finding time to slow down and get it all down without feeling completely overwhelmed is my major problem. It’s so much easier to just say, “to heck with it” and enjoy everyone else’s decor and traditions. Last but not least it does dredge up the old feelings of loss and emptiness that we tried to protect ourselves from for many Christmases. Double-edged sword.

    • loribeth Says:

      I still love Christmas, but it lost a lot of its magic after our daughter was stillborn. Also, November & early December is the busiest time of year for me at work, which makes it hard to really get into the spirit & do a long of Christmasy things. I’ve had to decide what’s absolutely integral to my vision of Christmas & what I could let go. I haven’t done any baking in years (don’t need the extra calories lying around, plus I mostly baked my mom’s recipes, which I can still have when I go there for the holidays, lol), haven’t entertained. We’re not big into outdoor decorating, but we do put up a tree, & I do send cards.

      We do travel every year to celebrate with my family. No little kids around there either, which helps in some respects.

  2. Mali Says:

    I hear you about the cost of postage exceeding the value of the gifts! Most of my nieces and nephews live overseas. I’m about to hit the post office and will try not to cringe at the price.

    I too have just posted on this a little. But to answer your question:
    I put up my Christmas tree. It’s very special to me, and I can’t help take pleasure in the ornaments that have so many memories of travels and family, and yes, of comforting me as I received treatment for ectopic pregnancy, as I was bleeding from the loss, or as I was hoping against hope that this time it would be okay.
    My other favourite tradition is to bake mini mince pies. Delicious!
    Champagne helps too!
    And I’m lucky, because summer arrives at Christmas in this part of the world, and that always cheers.

  3. Sue Says:

    Last year was my year to not bother with Christmas. I felt as though my home really reflected the way I was personally feeling at the time. Full of Christmas cheer and all lit up on the outside, but on the inside it was cold and empty without an ounce of cheer to be found. A few days before Christmas my husband drug the tree out of the attic and I refused to put a single decoration on it. I did bake cookies to bring to the office and to some parties we were going to, but that was all part of my exterior facade.

    This year I’ve decided it will be different. After I survived the trick-or-treaters, I immediately got on the computer and ordered more Christmas decorations. I’ll admit we haven’t gotten them all up yet, but hopefully we’ll have it done come Monday. Last year we didn’t even buy gifts for each other, but this year we are and I’m spoiling the beagle. She actually gets very excited about presents and will tear them open if we tell her to. It really makes us laugh and I’m looking forward to a some Christmas morning laughter around here.

  4. lmanterfield Says:

    Well, this weekend I bought a small rosemary tree, some lights, and poinsettias for our part-time house. We lit a fire and RELAXED! Opened a bottle of wine and had a little Bailey’s. We also went to a big party on Saturday night and I really had fun getting dressed up and getting my hair done. Even went wild and had some red streaks added. 🙂 I am also going to bake this week. The only thing I bake well is gingerbread, so that’s one I am going to do. We’re still planning on having a quiet Christmas at home, just the two of us, but I still plan to make it festive and fun.

  5. Kate B Says:

    I’m not doing our regular Christmas tree this year because we are not planning on any guests during the holidays. I just can’t see doing all the work to put it up and take it down for just us and the dog. I will get a small one – may be cheap and take home the one our lawyers send us at work! And I am doing Christmas cards – always a picture of the dog in answer to the dozens of kiddie pics we get. I’m trying hard to find the Christmas cheer. I’m hoping that watching some of the holiday specials will do it for me.

  6. Jennifer Says:

    I haven’t done a tree in a few years. Last time I had rescued kittens in the house and just put little shiny cat toys on a small tree – why fight ’em? 😉 I love the smell of evergreen, and was torn as I walked by a lot full of fresh Noble Firs last week…just not sure if I wanted to do the whole “thing” at this point. I placated myself with a couple of wreaths; one for the door and one for inside, which I wrapped in lights and hung out of easy feline access. I’ve gotten more in the spirit this year, though, by gently allowing myself to do just the silly things I enjoy – a cup of peppermint schnapp-spiked cocoa with a candy cane and watching A Christmas Carol as many times as I feel like (so far the George C. Scott version once and the Patrick Stewart twice). I’m trying to focus on the simple gifts, and not stress as much as usual over presents I can’t really afford not being “good enough” or somehow a measure of what I should aspire to. Either I’m in denial because it’s still early in the season, or I’m doing pretty well. 🙂

  7. lmanterfield Says:

    I am renting a living tree this year and it arrives today. As J is out of town, I’m not going to sit and decorate it alone – way too depressing. I really want to have a Christmas-y Christmas this year, but I’m finding my cheer is flagging.


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