Tuesday, December 25, 2007

simply having a wonderful christmastime

i want to write a blog today but i really don't have much to say.

i woke up later than usual, around 11, and figured i'd spend the whole day in bed. i was out late last night and i sort of didn't feel like getting dressed, going out in the cold, etc. my gameplan was to sleep and read all day.

i finished "the god of small things" by 1 o'clock or so and then got bored. i headed into town, hoping to find an internet cafe run by someone with very little christmas spirit (so it would actually be open). instead, i ended up at lori's. so we're internetting, possibly watching nip/tuck soon, and eating leftover carp and potato salad.

i never disliked christmas as much as i do this year. my dad always hated it and i could never understand why -- i knew the reason, that it was a holiday he used to celebrate with my mom and it only reminded him that they were divorced. he never bought into all the hoopla -- he hated having a real tree (if it was up to him we wouldn't have had one at all). he played along for a while, but after i reached high-school age, he stopped wanting to put the effort in and we were forced to settle for his compromise -- a three-foot artificial.

i remember senior year, BJ and i drove to the tree lot at the "pitt rent-a-center" and picked out a tree by ourselves. we bought it, strapped it to the roof of my old black cavalier, and put it up ourselves in the living room. we spent hours decorating it as my dad sat in the next room, uninterested. (i can remember every ornament. the gingerbread men, one for each of us -- mom, dad, bj and myself -- made by our family friend, the huge Coca Cola balls that, as a rule, went on the bottom branches because they were heavy, the stuffed animal Flounder from the Little Mermaid. there were so many more, and they're all broken now, water damaged or lost. the lights were the 140 set that played christmas songs and had 12 different blinking patterns.)

my brother would also be left in charge of putting up the outside twinkle lights.

being alone at christmas in prague has helped me understand a little better how my dad must have felt. it's a holiday that makes you appreciate all the good things you have -- family, love, wealth or comfort -- but also highlights the lack thereof. i never thought i'd feel sad about not seeing my family on christmas, or not having anyone special to spend it with. but when i woke up this morning, i didn't want to see anyone -- i just wanted to sleep the day away.

it's even worse because every single person i have encountered makes it seem like the saddest thing ever that i might be alone on christmas. students, friends. i couldn't understand what the big deal was, but now i think i do.

i think the saddest part of christmas is that it ends abruptly -- on the 26th it's over. weeks are spent shopping, decorating, planning, then its gone in a blink. you put away the stockings, the decorations. the lights come down. the tree is un-trimmed. the christmas dinner is now some scant leftovers packed into tupperware. wrapping paper discarded, greeting cards tucked away. on december 26th its like none of it happened. all that build up for one day and then its over.

christmas used to be one of my favorite holidays. i never thought i could be so pessimistic about it.

anyway, we had a great christmas, the six or so of us stranded alone in prague. we made the carp and turkey, got drunk and went to a casino. lori and i even stepped into midnight mass for a few minutes. i'm not a churchgoer but it was amazing. easily the most beautiful church i've ever seen in a country full of atheists. tonight we'll watch nip/tuck and eat leftovers.

tomorrow will be december 26th.

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