Reasons Why I Almost Turned into The Grinch This Year…
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Christmas is usually gleaned over with the sparkle of cookie sprinkles and icicle tinsel, pretty postmarked envelopes, festive lights, and the happy, bright smiles that gloat good tidings of cheer and joy over the holidays.
And while Christmas is usually my favourite season, this year I turned more green of The Grinch variety than I did, the ever-popular evergreen fir that is decorated luxuriously and idolized at the centre of the home.
Yes, ba-hum-bug, ’tis true!
Here are the reasons why I almost turned into The Grinch this year:
1. After spending a full day of baking shortbread cookies from scratch and making special packages for my neighbours and friends, the people I most intended to give these sweet treats to, never actually received them.
2. After spending an entire morning decorating the outside of my house with Christmas decorations, the tinsel around our posts continued to fall down while light bulbs popped and broke, as did our pre-lit Christmas tree on our porch.
3. A total of seven Christmas glass ornaments broke when they fell off our indoor Christmas tree.
4. After coordinating a family photo shoot (with colour coordinated attire) using a pile of books in lieu of a missing tripod and a wacky self-timer, while printing off a number of professional Christmas cards to be mailed out to distant relatives and friends—my family and I only received a record low of three Christmas cards in the mail this year.
5. In a recent family tradition of creating a themed Christmas Eve party, this year all family members and guests who attended our annual Christmas bash was asked to wear white, silver, or grey. Because of this, I bought a beautiful white gown, but upon arrival at the party, was mocked as being an overdressed “princess.”
6. The dishes I brought to our family potluck were lasagne and my signature Mochiko cake. By the time people ate dinner, the lasagne was cold and soggy, and the Mochiko cake was too sweet and barely touched. I should have brought it home to enjoy for myself and my family, but forgot.
7. My sister is famous for her toffee bits recipe. When asked if she could share it with me so I could make a batch for my family at home for the holidays, she wouldn’t give me the recipe—and yet, my cousin knows it—and she wouldn’t give it to me either!
8. Instead of spending quality time with my husband on Christmas Eve, he hid in my parents’ basement “babysitting” the kids.
9. Due to monetary restraints and at the request of someone in our Clan, our family Kris Kringle gift exchange was cancelled for the adults.
10. You know when you receive a “crappy” gift, you kindly tell yourself, “Well, it’s the thought that counts?” I’m just wondering with my Grinch mentality, what’s so thoughtful about a gift that’s given to you that was obviously given without much thought whatsoever?
11. The gift I gave my dad didn’t fit him and he’s asked for the receipt. The problem is, I bought it months ago so the receipt would be useless now in trying to get a refund or an exchange!
12. My children arrived at the Christmas party healthy, but my son left with a severe cold, cough, and flu, which meant two doctor’s appointments during holiday hours, more medication and prescription costs, and of course, sleepless nights and constant worry. It didn’t help that other guests at the party were sick and irresponsibly didn’t tell us so. Even worse, one child that was sick, purposefully coughed into my son’s face.
13. Because of a family feud, my niece-goddaughter and nephew were only allowed to visit my parents’ house for an hour even though I haven’t seen them for a long time—and even though my niece was in tears for most of her visit because she misses us and really wanted to stay longer, but couldn’t go against her mother’s wishes. What’s worse, her mother called her on her cellphone and asked her to come outside when it was time for her to be picked up by car because her mother was unwilling to come to the door to even say hello—on Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!
14. While my cousin was asked to sleep over on Christmas Day to go shopping the next day with my sister—I, on the other hand, was not invited.
15. We did not get to go on our traditional Boxing Day shopping spree because we arrived too late to catch the good deals and because we simply ran out of money buying gifts for everyone else for Christmas instead of ourselves.
16. After going to my son’s second medical appointment, the car broke down. And because no one was kind enough to lend a hand to boost our car during this season of giving and idealistic sentiment, my husband and son had to WALK to a medical centre to get x-rays done to check whether or not my son had pneumonia. He’s home now and needs to be in bed for five days with a lot of rest, puffers, and antibiotics because he has a bad case of the flu that is both contagious and dangerous to the rest of the members in my household.
17. So, while my son is supposed to be enjoying the holidays, he is desperately trying to get better in time to return to school in the New Year. And while I care for him, I’m also in turn trying to protect myself and my three-year-old daughter from getting sick because there is no one else available to help.
18. My husband who has only a few days off of work for the holidays has spent most of them at the doctor’s office and outside trying to fix our car, which has broken down. To top it off, he has to go back to work tonight!
19. It’s also my birthday in two weeks where I was previously told a party was planned for me and yet, I found out yesterday that no plans have actually been confirmed and that my birthday will most likely not be celebrated at the location intended because people most likely aren’t in the mood to celebrate it considering it’s “too close to Christmas!” Thanks!
The list goes on, but why should I let The Grinch get all the glory?
1. The shortbread cookies that I baked were gloriously good. I will bake another batch just for myself and my family.
2. The outdoor decorations are still up and are standing strong. At least the Christmas ornaments on the tree on our property weren’t stolen!
3. Because seven glass ornaments broke from out indoor tree, I’ll have less to put away when we take the Christmas tree down.
4. While we only received a mere three Christmas cards in the mail this year, I console myself in knowing that I receive books for review in the mail from publishers all-year-round!
5. It doesn’t matter if my family mocked me in my beautiful, white gown. I enjoy dressing up. The dress wasn’t the only thing that was beautiful that night.
6. My cousin, Ate Cecille, was able to save the day with her lasagna and her cassava cake, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And I can bake another Mochiko cake to go along with the shortbread cookies for my family.
7. My sister won’t fess up her toffee bits recipe, but Angela, my niece has promised to get the recipe from her mom who also happens to be a food technologist, which also means those toffee bits are gonna be really GOOD.
8. While I didn’t get to spend time with my husband on Christmas Eve, at least our kids were safe and well-tended to.
9. It’s okay. Kris Kringle can be overrated. I never really get what I want anyway when I participate in it. Best to save money and buy myself something I really like instead.
10. Thoughtless gifts speak more about the giver than the person who receives it anyway. It is the thought that counts: it’s better to be grateful for a “crappy” gift than it is to be angry about one!
11. Maybe my younger brother will inherit my dad’s sweater. And I’ll have to get my dad what he really wanted for Christmas: a lottery ticket!
12. At least my son’s medical expenses are covered by OHIP, which is a lot more than what I can say for people in other parts of the world. And as for those who weren’t considerate enough to keep their coughs to themselves: “What goes around comes around,” and I’m not just talking about influenza.
13. I may have only spent an hour with my goddaughter, but we don’t love each other less. Those who are too proud to come to a door to say “hello” to family and have denied others love and consideration that they deserve have lost the privilege of relationship and because of pride have missed the true meaning of Christmas. Too bad for them. Their loss, not ours.
14. I prefer to surround myself with people who genuinely love and respect me, rather than those who only tolerate me. Genuine relationships are more worthy of my attention than lukewarm, indifferent ones. Exclusivity has its consequences, too.
15. Who needs more stuff anyway? Go ahead, brag about your 78″ LED TV or your new iPad. My small television works just fine and I prefer to spend quality time talking with people face-to-face than I would “chatting” online like tech-zombies.
16. Thankfully, my son does not have pneumonia.
17. My son’s illness is a reminder that each and every day is just as important, if not more so, than the time spent during an idealized holiday season.
18. Time with my husband is precious. There will be other days off where we can enjoy each other’s company. Many people are currently unemployed, so we’re blessed that my husband still has a job to return to.
19. I may be older and no one may care to celebrate my birthday after all the festivities of the Christmas season—but my husband and children love me and we can have a small party of four. And even though I may be a year older, I’m alive. I’m still very much alive!
Other great highlights of the season:
1. I won books from CBC Reads for my contribution to the Suesstivus Twitter Contest!
2. My kids LOVE their Christmas presents!
3. I received most of the things I wanted on my Christmas list like:
4. I have free time to be at home with my kids to read books, watch movies, and bake goodies.
5. The holidays afford me some time to read books from my TBR pile.
6. It finally snowed, which means we get to make a snowman in our front yard.
7. After everything, my family still believes in Santa Claus.
8. Because the New Year is approaching, my mother-in-law and father-in-law will be paying us a visit soon.
9. Because the New Year is approaching, I’ll be able to re-focus my energies on reflection and goals that will help shape a better version of myself and year in 2013.
10. Because my birthday is coming up soon, my faithful readers of The Bibliotaphe Closet will get a chance at winning another awesome giveaway! Yay!
Here’s hoping you had a Grinch-less Christmas
and that we’ll have a much better year in 2013!