So, it's been two months. Wild ride.
It started with us finding a nice apartment in a cool neighborhood... even though it took an extra month to get INTO the apartment. (There was a family tragedy for the manager here. Totally understandable, and I'm just glad that we had awesome friends offer us a guest room.)
And now we have moved in to our new place- a really comfy one-bedroom in D.C., where we can see the National Cathedral from our windows.
Because our new place is smaller, we opted to put some of our furniture and belongings into long term storage in a family member's unused workroom space. We are finding this place to be really happy and comfy, but we are definitely glad we edited our belongings the way we did! Over time, we need to get bookcases. Right now, all my books are in boxes, still. Driving me a little nuts, but nothing was going to happen with that this month...
As I came down with a huge bug. With M still working retail right now, this month is HIS super busy season, plus MY super busy season, plus he had a cold and I ended up with a major cold bug. I've never coughed like that. Seriously?? I'm a little tired of weird illnesses! I tend to feel like it's MY FAULT for getting sick with something bizarre.
So I spent the month going to work and going home and coughing 24 hours a day. I didn't work out. I didn't finish organizing the house. I didn't even Christmas shop! (Family is going to get January presents.) This past week, on my doctor's orders, I took Sunday off and had another priest fill in. Then I slept pretty much all day. I woke up around 7AM to watch an amazing sunrise over the Cathedral. Then I went back to sleep. I got up around 5:30PM, having slept most of the day. Today, at my follow-up, the doctor was all sorts of "Yep. Expected that."
M and I were talking about the whole Christmas deal, and we are pretty close to giving up on Christmas. For one thing, it's emotionally a terrible time. A few years ago, his dad died shortly before Christmas. Every year since, something bad has happened around Christmas. (The year after that, we were living on different sides of the country. The year after that, I was living with a severely restricted diet while my gut healed from e.Coli. This year, it was his mother's favorite beloved dog- who's been part of the family for over 14 years- died on her kitchen floor. Oh yeah, and me being sick again. Seriously, Christmas is not good for us.)
Even though I'm clergy and I HAVE to do Christmas, I'm not sure that I really have the energy to do Christmas on the schedule of everyone else. I hate the shopping in over-crowded malls. I don't have the space to buy presents all year round and squirrel them away. I do like seeing family and friends... but honestly, my idea of a fun day would be cooking or baking TOGETHER (preferably with an adult beverage) and/or watching lots of football and parades.
My mom tried to make me feel better by suggesting I just send presents on Amazon. And yeah, that COULD happen. Except I already had a few presents on the needles. And I like the challenge of looking through small shops and finding just the right toy for little kids. Some years, I've sent stuff on Amazon when the Cool Toy of the Year was on Amazon. This year, there was no Cool Toy of the Year to send!
After this year, M wants to declare a moratorium on Christmas. He likes a small tree that we decorate together and a Nativity set. It's kind of weird to see all the traditions that my friends- even clergy friends- and their families have created. But for us- we're a couple, in a city. We don't have time on Christmas Eve or Day to visit family due to my work schedule. The usual gift-giving traditions don't seem to connect us to our family. And I think that is what we are missing.
The usual traditions of shopping and sitting around a tree seem geared to families who are able to be together. We are never with our families on Christmas Day, so the traditions seem offset.
So far, here's been what we like most about Christmas Day. After finishing up late Christmas Eve services and getting to bed usually around 2AM, I go off to do Christmas Day. I come home where M has usually gone for a run, and come home to make Fancy Breakfast. This year, it was french toast and pour-over coffee and Prosecco. Then we sit on the couch and read the paper and watch Christmas TV. This year, I watched all the West Wing Christmas episodes!
Later on... in January, we will see friends and do some cooking. We don't get to see much family this year, but we'll finally get around to shipping out presents. (I'll have them finished!)
Maybe next year we will be better...
But maybe it's time to accept that we need to make our own Christmas and to be OK with that.