Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I never thought I'd admit this on a public forum but you'd figure it out from the rest of this post anyway. So here goes. I watch Glee. Not only that but I like it. Anyone who knows me in real life would have to wonder why a show like that would appeal to me. Except for the always wonderful snarkiness of Sue there's nothing about the show that has any bearing on my real life. In fact, I typically hate musicals with the exception of Rocky Horror Picture Show and that's likely due solely to the pleasure of seeing Tim Curry in fishnets. You can't get more unrealistic than having characters burst into song in the middle of a crowded street with no reaction from passersby or, even worse, the crowd joining in some perfectly choreographed dance routine they couldn't possibly have put together in the ten seconds since they met. And don't even get me started on popular music. I usually can't stand to listen to the radio because most of the songs that become hits irritate the heck out of me. The lyrics are simplistic and meaningless and the songs uninspired. Yet somehow Glee makes those songs work. Dare I say they even make them entertaining? Glee manages to take everything I hate and turns it into an unmissable show I eagerly tune in to every week.
Last week's Christmas episode was no exception with a selection of Christmas pop songs I'd ordinarily skip past on the radio including the creepy "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which seemed to me like a prelude to a rape charge the first time I heard it. But it was almost sweet and not at all pervy when performed on the show. Their take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Sue as the Grinch was alone worth the price of admission, but what really stuck out to me was a little speech Will Schuester gave to the kids. Straight out of a melodramatic Lifetime special but it perfectly summed up how I've been feeling lately about the holidays:
"The first Christmas you remember having is the greatest day of your life. Your family’s all together, there are loads of presents, cookies. The magic is alive and well. But before you know it, you grow up. Work and school and girlfriends take over and Christmas becomes more of an obligation, a reminder of what’s lost instead of what’s possible. And all of the trees and the presents and even the mistletoe can’t change that. And then when you get to my age… you’re so desperate to get that magic back, you’d do anything to be able to feel how you did that first Christmas."
I've been struggling with feeling all of the obligations and stress of Christmas without any of the magic. It's the one time of year I most want to reject the trappings of adulthood and have no responsibilities other than to eat, drink, and be merry. That is, of course, impossible because unless I plan a menu, go grocery shopping, and take the time to cook something, making sure to clean up and do the dishes after, there will be nothing to eat or drink.
This year I'm trying to scale things way back in an effort to ease the stress. I've got the tree up but that's about it. I'm opting to not put up my miniature British-themed tree. Instead I plonked a bauble-covered tree-shaped tower in its usual place to bring a little festive cheer to our bedroom. I'm not even bothering to unpack half of the Santas and Christmasy knick-knacks since every available surface in our house is already covered with stuff. I stuck a wreath on the front door and that's the extent of my outside decorating. I'm not sending Christmas cards this year because I lost my address book a month ago and it still hasn't miraculously turned up. I'm feeling better about the looming holiday because of those cut backs but don't think my apparent sang-froid indicates that I'm living in a stress free zone. I still feel incredibly guilty about skimping on the usual traditions this year but I think it's the only way I can cope and enjoy the holiday. Hopefully my friends and family will understand.
That said, I'm not a total Grinch. I've still got my radio tuned to the 24/7 Christmas song station and feel ridiculously cheery when I drive past people's Christmas light displays or visit the holiday section in a store. Never fear; there's hope for me and the holidays yet!