although it’s been said many times, many ways…

now playing: jars of clay, “tea and sympathy”

where have i been, you might ask?

doing my traditional christmas hiding.

yeah, i know…it’s silly and immature, but i do it in some form or fashion every year, it seems.

every year, i promise myself sometime around halloween that i’m going to make a conscious, concerted effort to change this year. this year, i’m going to set aside my cynical, hardened outlook and i’m going to lighten up and enjoy the holidays…this year.

and it’s always with the best of intentions that i do so. this year has been no different.

but every year, usually either right after or maybe even a little before thanksgiving, the rot sets in.

the commercials start. the music starts creeping into the radio playlists. the newspaper gets fatter. the billboards change.

and it’s not any one of those things, mind you…it’s the cumulative effect of them all, together, assaulting my senses relentlessly until my will is broken and i’m right back to being the miserable bastard that i am every december.

it would be even more cynical than i am to say that i hate christmas. i don’t.

but i do hate this time of year.

i hate the greedy, selfish bastards we become. i hate the pressure from everything around us to conform to some frank capra-perpetuated image of what a family is and what a family does at christmas. i hate the steady diet of stale christmas tv programming.

and the music – shit, man. let’s not even go there.

it’s the same shit that drives normally sane, healthy people to put barrel of a gun in their mouth every winter. sometimes i think that if i hear that awful caterwauling in the background of “blue christmas” or those fuckin’ jingle bell dogs or “grandma got run over by a reindeer” or the twelve pains of christmas just one more fucking time that I WON’T BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS….

it really is the worst part of it.

and yet, somehow, i always resolve the following year to try and be the spark plug that pulls my family up from our shared “yeah, right”-ness and to find a way that’s uniquely our own of celebrating this season of spotlighted, intensified dysfunction. and while it’s true that this year, i can’t say that i’ve been that inclined to try and salvage something out of this season that it never lives up to, i did stay up late last night with wendy and jayda discussing how we should handle the whole thing.

jayda has a lot of the same familial frustrations that i had as a kid…that perhaps we all have as kids. there’s a rift in the family on her mothers’ side, and she has some pretty strong feelings about it, and isn’t really even inclined to play along this year. and, as you can probably surmise, my family is a moot point…based on mileage and history, anyway. and every year for me and the kids, it bears less and less resemblance to what anyone would consider a typical holiday. certainly, we’ve had worse times than we’re having right now, but the fact remains that christmas feels less and less important as a holiday and more and more like a financial obligation with every year that passes.

so we think we might’ve come up with a plan for this year – or at least the sketch of an outline of one. it’s rather vague at the moment, but it’s a start. we’ll see how it pans out.

i think the dialogue is the important part.

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