It’s My Life – Chapter 6

“There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas.”

Robert Staughton Lynd

The Christmas season is upon us. Christmas music can start playing in stores before Thanksgiving in anticipation of the holiday. While I do enjoy Christmas music, I prefer to enjoy it a week or two before Christmas, not all month long. Yes, you can call me a Grinch.

Many of my friends decorate their houses and can’t wait to rummage through storage bins of greenery, ornaments, and stockings. Their houses are transformed into warm and cozy winter scenes that light up when the sun goes down. Some even have multiple trees! Family members travel from all distances to celebrate the season. Others will go to church and remind themselves of the “true meaning” of Christmas. Whatever your tradition may be, it is a time that is meant to lift spirits and be together.

My mother loved to decorate for Christmas. She hung lights up in the yard and we had a tree every year. There were always presents under the tree, Christmas cookies, and holiday songs playing throughout the house. We would go caroling, visit one of the largest Christmas trees in our area and drive around to see all the Christmas lights. It sounds like my Christmas’s were picture perfect.

My mother and grandmother both had tried as long as possible to keep me believing in the magic of Christmas. We would go to a specific mall each year to wait in a long line to see the real Santa. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and see what Santa had brought me. My mother would go to the trouble of leaving crumbs from the cookies and tell me stories of how Santa had flew his reindeer here all the way from the North Pole. To say they were all in with Christmas was an understatement.

As I grew older, I started to question Santa and the other magical creatures that left me presents throughout the year when I woke up. They continued to be adamant that the other children didn’t know what they were talking about. Santa was real. How could we afford these gifts? That right there was enough to make me continue believing.

I remember when my world came crashing down at a far too late age when I found out the magic was just a myth. I found out there was no Santa, no Easter Bunny, and no Tooth Fairy all in one horrific moment. So while this moment was a long time coming, I was then at an age where I took this revelation to the extreme. My mother had been lying to me my entire life. In true pre-teenage fashion, I was a bit dramatic.

A judge had predetermined how I would spend my holidays between my mom and dad. I can see how this ruling was meant to be fair to each parent and the child. Each parent gets half of a holiday. Easy peasy right?

To my knowledge, my parents didn’t speak to one another. I was the sounding board for their frustrations if there was a problem. Inevitably one parent’s dinner would cause me to not be hungry for the other parent’s dinner. Or, someone got me a few hours longer than the other. Whatever the case, one side would not be happy. As I continued to get older, holidays became something I had to do. I treated them as a task and got through the day as assigned.

Throughout my adult life, holidays have usually included a trip to the barn. Horses don’t take days off just because it’s Christmas! I’d plan a trail ride with friends or just cuddle with a dog and a good book in my single years. I loved it. Introverts unite!

I would get invited to holiday dinners with large families and go to be polite, but I just never felt comfortable. I much prefer a quiet day to recharge under a blanket and watch Kevin protect his house against burglars in Home Alone or attend a small gathering with close friends.

Christmas is just another day for me. I don’t decorate or plan elaborate holiday meals. My husband jokingly refers to the Christmas cards we receive as our Christmas decorations. I may or may not hang a wreath in the barn, but that’s the extent of it. He does all the cooking and baking so I still get to reap the benefits of a holiday meal without all the stress and planning. Hey – he knew exactly what he was signing up for! We have a good arrangement. He cooks and I do the clean-up.

While the Christmas spirit is growing on me as I get older, I think I will always prefer that Christmas day ride over scurrying around to visit everyone in one day. Give me the serenity of horses munching hay, the rhythmic footfalls under my seat, a soft muzzle to kiss, and I am where I belong.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend the Christmas parade in Middleburg, VA, I highly recommend you go. Horses and hounds from surrounding hunts fill the streets as they kick off the Christmas parade. Santa is delivered in a horse-drawn carriage. It’s a sight to see and definitely an event for a horse-crazy girl like me! I haven’t been in a long time, but thanks to social media, I can still see pictures from year to year.

Photos from this year’s Christmas parade.

Me and Bailey in Middleburg for the 2012 Christmas Parade

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