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Ditching my ‘bah humbug’ label

By Staff | Dec 15, 2013

Editor Chuck Hunt is spending a few well-

deserved days away from the office prior to the

Register’s busiest week of the year. He will return just in time to help coordinate our annual ‘Good News’ issue, which will be on your doorstep Dec. 23.

I am taking this

opportunity to share a few thoughts of my own about the upcoming holiday season.

In the newspaper business, we start selling holiday advertising and begin tossing around ‘feel-good’ story ideas long before November and December arrive. In fact, I am working on promotions, goals and budgets in September. So the holiday season can be long and exhausting for me and I’ve kind of been labeled as a ‘bah humbug’ person in the workplace by the time Christmas week rolls around.

In addition to that, a Sunday afternoon at home before Christmas can be a difficult four to six hours. Not only is it difficult for me, but I’m sure it is downright painful for my husband who patiently puts up with me. I tend to get emotional over the smallest thing. Holiday emotion in my vocabulary can be defined with many adjectives anything from being happy and excited, then turning into being melancholy, and finishing things up with feeling anxious, tense, uptight, cranky and sometimes just downright sad and uncontrollably tearful.

Why all these emotions, good and bad? Blame it on the Christmas songs I listen to while putting up the Christmas tree and watching movie marathons on the American Movie Channel and Lifetime TV. Yes, all are self-induced.

Listening to Christmas tunes reminds me of memories past – perhaps my way of staying close to loved ones lost.

Thoughts of my mother come to mind. She had a beautiful voice. She sang from her heart, completely unrestrained and always harmonizing during verse three of “Silent Night” at candlelight church services. When the organ started the prelude of “Silent Night,” even though her eyes would be filled with tears, I think it was probably the highlight of her evening. As a child I couldn’t understand why she looked so sad. For my sisters and me, when the lights dimmed and we heard that same hymn, we knew we were just a little bit closer to going home where we would be opening the Christmas presents we had been eyeing for weeks. Now, as a mom and grandma myself – I get it. Those same tears that Mom had are usually in my eyes as I sing “Silent Night,” allowing a culmination of many emotions to resurface.

As for the movie marathons I subject myself to during this time of year, they don’t even have to support a holiday theme to get me going.

Last Sunday I started with the feature film, “Glory Road,” next was “We are Marshall” and I finished up the afternoon watching “Remember the Titans.” The funny thing about these three movies, and me liking them, is that they are true stories about basketball and football teams.

Those of you who know me well, know I’m not really an athletic type of gal, but I was glued to those sports movies all afternoon. All three films have strong messages about the challenges of surviving difficult times, the healing process and rebuilding lives on a different path than they expected life would take them.

That brings me to my emotional state on Sunday afternoon. As brutal as those four to six hours were, they brought me back to reality – softening me up a little bit.

The holiday CDs I listened to while trimming the tree brought back memories of my childhood, especially of my mom. She would have loved singing Christmas songs to her ever-growing family.

And then there were the movies – reminding me how life might not have turned out the way I expected, but life just might have turned out the way it was meant to be – being blessed with a wonderful husband and family, good health and a rewarding career.

So after a ‘good cry,’ I started accepting that I won’t get everything done in time for the holidays.

My Christmas cards might turn into New Year’s cards, I might buy Christmas cookies instead of baking them myself, and the gifting isn’t the most important part of the holiday when our family gets together it’s the ‘family’ getting together.

And finally, about that ‘bah humbug’ label I’ve been tagged with. I’m doing my best to improve that, but bear with me. I’m still exhausted and it has been a long holiday season at work. According to my calculations, I have a deadline of one week for that attitude adjustment to kick in.