The Forced March to Happiness

So, if you love the holidays, don’t read this,

I have a friend who calls this time of year The Forced March to Happiness. This couldn’t be a more accurate description. With every passing year, I find myself dreading December.  It’s expensive, guilt-ridden, stressful, and full of expectations.  My best intentions always seem to be too much…. or not enough. My awkwardness comes into full bloom this time of year.

It wasn’t always like this.  This photo of my grandmother at the farm instantly takes me back to everything wonderful about Christmas time.  Where I was the beneficiary of all the good things this time of year is supposed to offer.

Christmas at the farm was warm and safe. Usually, my abusive father was on his best behavior.  My grandad would cut a scraggly, sticky, little cedar tree that filled the house with a marvelous aroma which made up for the pain of trying to decorate the forbidding branches. There was always a homemade feast straight from the garden, and a lot of fuss in a crowded kitchen to get it all on the table.  Everyone took their tasks seriously, from filling the water glasses to getting that jello mold on the table. There was always a prayer that my grandfather would say and when it came from him, I believed it.

The food. Never again will I taste a thick, homemade egg noodle smothered in beefy goodness like Nellie Lee would make.  Or the freshly baked bread. Real mashed potatoes with a lump here and there. Ham and beef. Relish trays with sad little carrots. Green beans with bacon. A lettuce salad.  And… so much PIE.

Gifts were wrapped in crinkly paper with bows saved from past years giving. Many were handmade creations made of yarn or fabric. A big deal was made over every item, assuring the giver it was absolutely the finest thing they ever received.  And it was.  

My survival techniques this time of year include good books, binge watching PBS or Netflix, a bottle of good Pinot, longer time in the gym, and sleep. If you’re lucky enough to find some joy in this time of year, then revel in it.  Just be patient with those of us who are hanging on till January, hoping to not get trampled in the Forced March to Happiness. 



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