I’m a grinch. I get grumpy at Christmas. I hate (*hate!*) Christmas music. We put out outside lights (I enjoy doing that because my parents never really did when I was growing up), but we are *not* putting up a tree (Edit 2009/12/09 – ok, so we put up a TINY one – see pics). But here’s the thing: I actually like Christmas. Christmas eve and Christmas day. We used to go to my grandmother’s house on Christmas eve, then a lot of the family would come to my parents’ house on Christmas day in the evening. There was good food, family, and a lot of pitch.

And I hate to be one of those people that says “It’s the *commercialism* of it all—but really it is. Well that’s part of it. Christmas is almost concurrent with Halloween. Skeletons and witch hats are just in front of the plastic Santas. Having worked in retail for a few years did not help. Christmastime is just horrible, and the weeks following are just as bad (returns and people who are mean about them). I celebrate Christmas secularly (which, let’s me honest, most of us do), and it always rubbed me the wrong way when you could tell people went out of their way to say “Merry Christmas” instead of Happy Holidays or whatever. I celebrate it, too, but you can tell when someone is a “war on Christmas” type and feels that it’s their duty to spread Christmas cheer whether you like it or not. While, you know, buying 6 pairs of jeans for their whining granddaughter.

Plus, do people ask in February if you’ve started doing you Easter shopping? In August if you’re ready for Halloween? I like the Christmas holiday, I don’t like the Christmas *season*. It’s just too much. Everywhere you go the generic adult contemporary has been changed to Christmas music. I have to hear “Chestnuts Roasting Over an Open Fire” while filling up my tank (and really, how many Christmas songs are there? I feel like there are about 15 with 7,593 versions of each – the worst is that one by the Waitresses). There’s garland in the grocery store, and again the clerks say “Merry Christmas!” when I buy my milk (What if I was Jewish? Would I be offended? It IS rather presumptuous.) It’s just. too. much.

So this year hubby and I decided no tree. We’re only really going to do stockings for each other anyway. We buy what we want, and we’d rather save up for a trip early next year (when I will *hopefully* have an extra week of leave for my 5th year with my employer). I enjoy buying gifts for those I can buy gifts for: my parents, for example. I like getting people things I think they’ll like. But when you feel like you have to have “enough” for someone or spend a certain amount, it gets tedious and just seems to be missing the point (fwiw, all of my shopping so far has been done online). We’ve had real trees since we moved in. Our house is very small, and though we now have a shed to store a fake one in, it’s still space better used elsewhere. A big tree in our living room just gets obnoxious quickly, and a small one seems pointless. The first year the tree was lovely, but last year it browned quickly and I think every single needle fell out before I got it out the door after the holiday.

So, grinchiness aside, let’s take a look at current and past Christmases at the jennahsgarden household.