We are currently on the other side of the country celebrating the holidays with family. It has been difficult to find the head space and time to write a blog post. We’ve been fed and stuffed and enjoying candy. Dinners have been everywhere else and always with dessert. Socializing has been abundant and everything in plenty.
Having some down-time seemed only prudent.
It is a blessing and a curse that Mr. Frugasaurus and myself both have the majority of our family in the same, small town or surrounding area. Unlike some of our friends who go to different corners of the country every year, we can always visit most of our family every year.
Of course, that also means we are expected to visit most of our family every year. An exercise which can get a little intense over the week-and-a-half we are visiting. It’s a great time, and we enjoy the break from the ordinary. But what about that elusive Christmas spirit everyone is supposed to feel at this time of year, like some warm, fluffy cocoa cream topping?
Despite having similar socioeconomic status, Mr. Frugasaurus and my own family have some distinct differences. One of the most noticeable around this time of the year is that Mr. Frugasaurus family still have many young teens and have quite an emphasis on gift giving.
In my family, on the other hand, there are no teens at the moment, and only a few children too small to understand too much of what is going on. We are mostly adults who enjoy the dinner, conversation and time together more than the unwrapping of gifts. As such, our gifting has leveled off and gone down, with close family only receiving mostly small, symbolic gifts and donations.
I should probably do like my brother, and just ask for no presents to be exchanged, as opposed to asking for charitable donations, as I do now.
We have a good time with family every year, but I must admit, that elusive Christmas spirit is something I have missed for several years. Is it just that I am an unsociable grinch-to-be who rather knits and sews instead of following the throng of consumers into over-filled malls for planet-destroying tokens of affection?
I like to think not.
But I have been thinking recently, that maybe it is because we are always visiting? Always traveling to family, since so many of them are so close together?
This year, since we bought the house, Mr. Frugasaurus and me have started talking more sincerely about celebrating the holidays at home. Especially now that we can accommodate visiting family members in their own room.
I like to think that I would find a bigger Christmas spirit if we did. If I knew I was staying in my own home, maybe I would be more inclined to decorate our home and bake more Christmas goodies? If I knew I was staying in the comfort of my own home, entertaining rather than being entertained?
It is a thought that is starting to grow roots in my mind, and I must say I like the shape of it.
Our hosts are gracious and generous of course, and their home is subtly decorated with baubles, nisser, snowmen and a small tree.
But it is not my house. They are not my decorations. And though I appreciate the intrinsic hygge in it, I had no hand in the process.
So for the readers who have experienced both traveling far away for the holidays and hosting your own self, how was it? Did you find more Christmas spirit when you contributed more of the work involved? Do you have things like Christmas curtains and tablecloths?
What are your best tips for finding a good Christmas spirit? Snuggling up with a good book and a crackling fire? Burning Christmas incense to fill the house with warmth? Baking Christmas cookies with younger family members?
To me, the Christmas spirit is certainly not related to gifts and gift giving. I must admit, a big part of me wishes we would dispose of the obligation towards gift giving in general. It produces so much waste and leads to so much economic insecurity.
Surely that can’t be what Christmas was supposed to be all about?
For now, I will settle for snuggling down with a cup of mulled tea and The Hogfather on DVD. Perhaps I need more candles?