December 7, 2009

I want to be...

winter and christmas
I'm not
if I'm going to be honest with myself
all of you reading this
the "joy to the world" season
has never been a favorite of mine
I'm not sure when it happened
something did
quite a long time ago
the people pushing and the exhausted kids crying and the adults complaining
all while trying to buy gifts for those they love
upsets me
something in it is missing for me
I wish I could put an exact finger on it
I can't
I don't love
decorating a christmas tree
baking cookies
finding the perfect wrapping paper
when the kids were little and christmas was seen through their eyes
~the big trees~
~the lights~
~presents from santa~
it filled my heart
but that was years ago
now christmas feels like an obligation of sorts
I don't want it to feel that way
I'm going to make a promise to myself this year
that next year will be different
next year I want to give only to the families on the giving tree
spend the day with my family
serving meals at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
I think next year is going to be my year
am I alone here
does anyone else have similar feelings


  1. Oh Beth, never ever are you alone in something. And you know what? It's okay to feel like this. Try to be outdoors and find the spirit and stillness from the awakening world that you capture so beautifully in all of your pictures. Have some blessing times with your hubby and in no time Xmas and everything that comes along with it will be over and gone. Ready and steady for old years eve. Hugs my special friend. Dagmar

  2. There are alot of people who feel this way. That Christmas has gotten too commercial! And I agree! But I still love this time of year..I avoid the malls and shop local stores or online. I have five grand kids and they rock my world! I love buying for them and seeing their eyes light up. They still get excited and they are teenagers now. So I get excited!! Crazy I know; but I do. Your photos speak volumes of your kind heart and your excitement with the world. Think of Christmas that way.

  3. This year - I got this feeling while decorating. What's all the fuss for, leading me to resent doing much of the preparation on my own...mine went away. But I DO get it.
    I love your idea of making your day more about the spirit of the season.
    Also loved your previous post and video. Eager to hear of your results!

  4. my sister and her 2kids went to a homeless shelter to serve thanksgiving dinner, my nephew has a germ phobia and didnt want to be out front so he was in the back cooking, something magic happened to him that day, now he is going weekly to help out...miracles do happen....xox

  5. you could pray about it, i have my ups and downs with the holidays, but i keep coming back to the fact that dispite all it's material trappings and rapport commercialism, there is a common ground of good cheer we all seem to want to celebrate and i think on that morning when we open our gifts that i am sharing in something bigger than anything i can ever package and put under a tree...and i love being a part of it all.

  6. You're NOT alone. I thought me and my husband are the only ones!
    Only tradition what we have,
    we write a letter to each others,
    read them at the dinner table at xmas.
    We eat well and enjoy looooong dinner with good red wine and nice music, candles...

    Next day you go out and notice how the world is exactly same as it was before with all the stress.
    Our universe is not interested how many presents you buy.

    What I do know
    my husband loves me,
    we share something very valuable,
    just two of us - TIME.
    Time to be and enjoy.
    No stress. No shouting. No spending.
    Pure joy of life.

    But now I feel so lonely when all the other bloggers are decorating, baking, shopping...
    Am I the only one who's 'breaking the rules'...
    No I'm not.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Now I KNOW I'm not alone! :)

  7. although my thoughts have changed a bit now as i have little ones and that alone brings out magic in the season - but i do understand what you're saying and feeling. i have always thought that above all the "stuff" of the season what touched my heart most was the connection made - reconnecting, visiting, catching-up, spending time together. the slowing up of life for a brief moment to enjoy the company of others.

  8. I haven't sparked the flames this year either. Not for any of the reasons you've cited because I've never bought a lot. We're a small family and mostly just have presents for the children (4) and then we draw names. So basically all I have to buy are 5 presents. I just know this year has been tough. I also lost the spark when mom died because Christmas was always "her" holiday. And it was mine and my ex-husband's too because we got married at Christmas.

    I want the spark because I do believe it is very special and wonderful. I am in the process of making homemade stockings - that makes me happy. And I can't put up a tree until next week because of the pay thing. Maybe then I can be excited.

    Don't give into the commercialism - but celebrate with love.

  9. Sometimes by simply recognizing and articulating your feelings...makes things better. You are not alone - I'm sure - in feeling this way about the happy holiday season. Thank-you for your honesty!!!

  10. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to feel the joy of the season. I believe giving to others through taking their picture or serving them a meal is really what the season is all about.

  11. I have to say that this year I am not excited about Christmas. I haven't been for a few years. I do feel like it has become all about the obligations and mindless doing doing doing !No, I am not excited about Christmas, but I am filled with joy that it is coming...
    I knew that this year had to be different...because I am different. At first, I thought about writing the whole thing off...then I felt like that would hurt some people I really love so I didn't want to do that.
    Then I decided that I would instead do Christmas my own way, put my needs first, lower my stupid expectaions, let go of anything that doesn't make me feel good and stop thinking that gift giving is a way to get recognized for the great person I am.

    This year, I am giving little gifts of love to my family and friends. They will not be the biggest or the best, but they will have little bits of my heart in them. I am only putting up the decorations that make me or my hubby really happy. I am taking the time I would usually use to run around and bake and shop and decorate to write Christmas cards to people I feel like connecting with and telling them again how special they are to me. I am planning on enjoying the candle light, the smell of my real tree, the sweetness of a glass of spiked decaf., the coziness of my blankets, and yes, even the darkness outside at 4:30pm when the few strings of white lights go on and twinkle on the porch, welcoming my man home at the end of the day (which he loves !).

    I am slowing down as the season seems to be calling on me to do. And as the rushers in the world still rush by me, I am feeling pretty damn glad that Christmas is on the way. I think that Christmas my way is the only way that Christmas can be for me now, and in the future...maybe not exciting, but joy-filled just the same.
    Choosing joy and sending you the same, beautiful, beautiful Beth !
    ox ox

  12. Such amazing comments!!! You are not alone :)

    I have small kids so Christmas still has that spark for me. Growing up Christmas was always depressing for me. We always got the last sad tree on the lot. We didn't get many presents and I was always jealous of my friends that got more.

    As a Mom I try to focus on the cheer of season. Not the gifts. To me Christmas is a "feeling" of sorts. I don't go to church so there is no religious affiliation to me. But I do teach my kids about giving and gratitude. So we do sponsor a family and my kids love to buy presents for those with less.

    What I really like about this season is the festive lights. Isn't that silly? But there is nothing better than having all the lights off and just the tree lit. All the little sparkly lights fill my heart. And that is Christmas to me.

  13. As you can see you are definitely not alone with your thoughts! I am often very melancholy. One thing that has helped me friends and I have a party to enjoy each other however we do not exchange gifts we buy for a family in need and while we are socializing we wrap the gifts to be delivered by one or more of the group. We collect the funds and several will do the shopping etc.

  14. I've been thinking about the photo blog this morning. I like on the video when he says that it's not about you, it's about giving what you have. It's about giving. I can go into all of my Christian beliefs, which is what I think the season is really all about, but when I think about what I have and how I've been blessed, how I can show and give love, not only on the Christmas season, but all year round, then that's what the Christmas spirit is all about. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for the music and the tree and the baking and the lights. I like that stuff, but I like to keep it simple in projects that we can make here are home (stockings and cookies). But then I also like to give. And that guy on the video is right, it's about giving what you have. And I think that you have a good heart that doesn't have to have one day (Christmas) to show love, but can do that all year. Maybe next year doesn't have to be your year. Maybe it is already a practice that you've started...maybe it's just who you are.

  15. I've been thinking about the photo blog this morning. I like on the video when he says that it's not about you, it's about giving what you have. It's about giving. I can go into all of my Christian beliefs, which is what I think the season is really all about, but when I think about what I have and how I've been blessed, how I can show and give love, not only on the Christmas season, but all year round, then that's what the Christmas spirit is all about. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for the music and the tree and the baking and the lights. I like that stuff, but I like to keep it simple in projects that we can make here are home (stockings and cookies). But then I also like to give. And that guy on the video is right, it's about giving what you have. And I think that you have a good heart that doesn't have to have one day (Christmas) to show love, but can do that all year. Maybe next year doesn't have to be your year. Maybe it is already a practice that you've started...maybe it's just who you are.

  16. You are not alone, Beth, that's for sure. Perhaps I became a little jaded during my 21 years as a forensic nurse, doing child and adult sexual assault work. I would always take call over the holidays and, of course, I would be in the ER, at all times of the day and night. I would wonder how people could do such horrific things to each other, and to children, at this time of the year.

    Once my boys reached adulthood, I grew weary of all the hassle of putting up decorations, etc. I felt like the true spirit of Christmas was missing, for the most part. The sense of love for fellow man was absent. So much of the world was hell bent on destruction. And not just in far off lands like Afghanistan and Iraq. In Oakland and downtown San Francisco, senseless killing goes on all the time. It isn't safe to ride a muni bus anymore.

    Especially, in this time of recession, it's hard to be in a celebratory mood. Even I, a nurse of over forty years, employed by the city and county of San Francisco for 21 of them, lost my job in February. I still have not been able to climb fully out of my depression. Being retired doesn't suit me.

    Still, I try to feel good will toward man...we need that, at the very least, even if I don't decorate to the hilt as I used to do.

    God bless us every one.

  17. Oh , Beth I get this. For a number of reasons. And I started something on my blog, hoping in Hope.
    Just do what feels right. I don't know where we assume the list of rules is.
    And a season, and a life of gratitude and giving is far more meaningful . There is no doubt you live this everyday.

  18. your icy berry images shine with such heart, beth. dagmar is right...just do what your heart would rather do...cause it's okay.

    this year will be different for me baking (tho' I'm sure I will be eating plenty!!!), no lights, no tree, maybe some candles and a bough or I can enjoy the smell of cedar

    i think your idea of volunteering and doing for the less fortunate will catapult you past what christmas has become to what it should be.

  19. Someplace Christmas dwells in your heart or you couldn't capture nature's light and decorations so beautifully!

  20. You are definitely not alone Beth. However, I am one of those people who love Christmas. I love everything about it. I don't go to church but I do get a little pissed off when people avoid saying Merry Christmas because of so called political correctness.

    Christmas brings back so many happy memories for me, spending time with my Mamaw and Papaw and my other grandparents. I think even as an adult that's what I associate Christmas with.

    I love watching Christmas movies and the happy endings that always occur. Maybe in real life it doesn't always happen that way, but watching these silly movies gives me hope about people and it makes me believe in magic a little more.

    Sorry, you feel like something is missing. I think your plan for next year is a good one.

    I feel the same way about Easter and Valentines as you do about Christmas.

  21. Lots of comments here, so you see you are not alone... For years I disliked the consumerism basis of the holidays, the expectations creating stress & that my family celebrated. Then about 15 years ago or so I decided my husband & I would start our own traditions... no tree, no fuss, no air travel, instead we go to the beach for a few days & relish the peace and quiet and renewal with sea and fresh air...

  22. Beth, I noticed this about myself a few years ago when I got sick, I had no energy and life was going on around me at a fast pace. It took all I had just to hang on. The commercialism of Christmas is crazy, I stay out of the stores, make a few things and I don't keep myself busy, busy, busy. I did not feel llike putting up a tree this year with my Dad passing away, but I knew I had to so I don't cry my ass off that day. I don't like Valentines or Christmas when people think they have to do things! I like to do them when I want to. It is definately okay to feel the way you do! You have Christmas in your heart, it shows in all the things you do. You know the real meaning of Christmas and when your husband runs into your arms theres a light bigger than any Christmas tree we have ever seen. Sorry I could have written a post. My husband and I write each other a poem every year and lttle stocking stuffers. Thats it. Because my husband is such a sport fan I am usually compared to a special hockey player or such, but it does not matter, it is what works for us. Big hugs my friend. I love your idea for next year, but I want to do it at other times of the year as at Christmas they usually have lots of volunteers....
    I always like New Years, new beginnings and new chances again. note to self....stop rambling. Hugs.

  23. you said it are our voice! and another reason I choose to remain silent during December Views!

  24. i hear ya. i am not feeling it this year. so many budget/economic woes make the whole shopping thing seem ridiculous. plus i will be alone at christmas since the bf and i broke up. it is depressing. but things will be ok. i am trying not to let it get the best of me. giving is still fun and all and i will spend time with some family, but i will be rather relieved when december and STUPID NEW YEAR'S are over!!!

  25. Hang in there Beth. My holiday "spirit" comes and goes from one year to the next. When I do find it, it's grand. When I don't I sort of grin and bear it.
    Thanks for being honest.

  26. I don't love the shopping, and all that goes with it. I refuse to do the stores after a certain date, which is just about upon us. I don't like making the cookies either but I do like giving them so there's the rub. I do my best to take a couple of hours on Christmas day to be alone for quiet time and meditation and that brings the spirit in. My main gripe is the winter weather. I love the seasons changing, but the length and severity of our winters are getting to be more than I want to handle. If you seek, you will find. Keep seeking.

  27. I am right there with you. I don't have any family or anyone to buy for, but the holiday still wears me thin. Here's to a sparkly new year!!!

  28. While I am CRAZY for all things Christmas, I completely hear where you are coming from. I hope that this is your year, as you put it, but if not, it's okay. Be where you are. Breathe it in. And start 2010 fresh.

  29. You are not alone. And judging from the comments I got on the very same subject, there are many of us out there.
    It was wonderful when the children were young. Wonderful and not so wonderful at the same time. One year in particular, we were so poor and the presents were almost nonexistent. I didn't take the children to my sister-in-laws house that year because I was afraid they'd wonder why their cousin had so many gifts and they didn't.
    Christmas is hard for so many people. You are so not alone.

  30. why wait til "next year"? how about now..........

  31. You put it so well and so beautifully. And your commenters did too.

    I have not been into the Christmas craziness for several years now. This year I am not buying one present .... Except I did participate in a doggy gift exchange with some other bloggers with dogs and that was super fun. I am just going to enjoy each day and be thankful for my many blessings.

  32. I couldn't wait to read the comments on this I have wanted to do for a while. I am right there with you all the way. The kids are grown and the "magic" isn't there like it used to be. It has become so commercial that the true spirit and meaning of Christmas have all gone away with the rush to buy this or that. All in the guise of giving when the true giving comes from the heart. I'm looking for the spirit too...

  33. nope, you're not alone. i totally dislike the pressure of having to buy presents. i've reduced it to only presents for those i spent christmas with, but then there's always the odd person who comes to you and says they've 'found the perfect present for you for christmas' and then i want to strangle them, cause now obligation kicks in. then the constant parties, and the expectation to be having fun, and christmas is not party time for me. it's family time. it's about togetherness. and sharing because you want to... oh woe, look at these complaints, i'm gonna shut up now and brood in silence heee heee heeeee

  34. I think Christmas has become very commercial. I hate going to the shops even to do the weekly grocery shop at this time of year. It's busy people are angry and steel others parking spots when they were clearly waiting first, the pushing and shoving and rudeness of some. This is suppose to be a time of giving and the time of year to be nice to others yet it is every man for himself at the shopping mall.

    My kids are still very young so the lights and the tree and the bucket of water and carrot are still left out for the reindeer. I really like your idea of helping others less fortunate on Christmas day. Yes next year is your year!!

  35. Beth, you are not alone. Lots of older people actually die during the holiday season because they are not filled with the spirit.

    It's no secret...all that rushing and commerical stuff will suck the life out of the brightest soul.

    Christmas is about the birth of Christ and doing exactly what you wrote you would do NEXT year. It's not too late to do it this year and transform yourself.

  36. Found your site today through Just ... a Moment.
    Beautiful pictures and words!

    You are not alone! And I'm happy to 'meet' someone that expresses what I feel so well. I like the true meaning of Christmas, but I don't like carols. Maybe if I only heard them once or twice through out the season, I'd like them better, but they are everywhere! My 3 boys are now 21, 19, 16 and they don't miss the decorations, so I only do a little.

    I spoke to our friends and family and we aren't exchanging gifts, we're doing things for others. With friends, we are cooking and serving for 100 people on the 28th at a homeless shelter.
    With other friends, we are delivering gifts to children who have a parent in prison - through a group called Angel Tree.

    Peace and joy to you as you look to change the way you celebrate this season.

  37. you are most definitely not alone in this...i miss and long for those feelings i use to get. and im not talking when i was a kid...i used to be giddy with the idea of christmas about 6 years ago. i hate that my christmas has turned into a to do list. i hate that i go through the motions. i dont want to wait until next year but since i'm already feeling this strongly about it...I guess it will have to wait until then.

  38. hi


  39. I am with you on a lot of it, Beth. With Mol getting so much older and not having little ones- I miss the Christmas excitement and I really don't quite know how to get it back. I do like the decorations but not all the obligatory preparations of everything else. SO much money and time spent and it's hard to justify on what. I don't know what's missing but something is... glad I am not alone in this~

  40. I so understand what you said! I thought that I was the only one who felt that way, but now know that I am not. I try to get into the spirit of Christmas, but the last few years I've just gone through the motions. I don't have answers for you except to just reflect on the greatest gift of all, Jesus!

  41. You know, I've started thinking of myself as a Scrooge. I'm a bit of an anti-Christmas person myself. I love getting together with family, but I truly hate the stress of giving gifts. We've requested no gifts, but I know some of our family will still give us gifts. And I know I cannot find enough time to get gifts for others, which stresses me out and ends up making me feel miserable.

    We aren't traveling to be with family this Christmas. We are staying put in the city, having a small dinner with the few brothers that live here... I refuse to decorate for Christmas holiday... I don't usually admit it outright, but I feel like it is a waste of time and a way to spend more money... Plus, it means I have more junk I have to figure out what to do with when the holiday is over.

  42. Why not make it this year? It hasn't happened yet!

    Living in Ghana as a Canadian means it just doesn't 'feel' like Christmas anyway.

    This year we're going down to the mini-sailing club and have a barbeque.

    No presents, no pressure. Maybe some great guitar numbers from my gifted 16 year old... and a dip in the ocean. :)

  43. It's funny as read your post with tears rolling down my cheeks I have nothing to say about the things I'm going to do to replace "those feelings" or how I will try next year. You just said something in a kind way that I would say in a sarcastic harsh way with beautiful photos to help soften the feelings. I don't want to change my feelings toward the commercialism or any of the things I don't care for but I do want to change the way I speak about it.... Thanks.

    Merry Solstice

  44. But the most beautiful thing is, you can make it whatever you wish it to be. And it sounds as though that is exactly what you are going to do!
    (can I put a small spark of the excitement in me, inside of you? Just a little tiny spark? Just to get you through?) ~~*

  45. I love these pictures. Very much. They are gorgeous.
    And yeah, I get it about Christmas. I want simplicity. I am so glad we have the grandkids this year, that will make it lovely for sure. But I am tired too, ya know.


**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth