Adding to my whine collection

I’ve been enjoying reading in the blogiverse about everyone’s holiday traditions, new and old, and I was wondering if it weren’t high time to establish some of my own.

Well, maybe next year.

I’ve spent the last few years extricating myself from anything that could be considered traditional in the expectational sense. Holidays growing up were always about big meals, family — OK, family TENSION AND DRAMA — one or two special presents instead of a bunch of crap because money was tight, and elaborate trees when my grandmother was alive.

After she was gone, it was still big meals but just for three people. (Those of us with Italian in our heritage just don’t know how to scale down recipes. You will have leftovers for months, so I only cook maybe twice a year for that very reason.) We had tiny trees in cramped living quarters. The tension and drama faded with the disappearance of the extended relatives.

At some point, I wanted my tradition to be “no traditions.” To blow into town if and when I felt like it. To go to P.F. Chang’s instead of having ham or turkey. To either see friends or hole up in my apartment with nothing but the Christmas tree and the cat to keep me company.

And now that I’m in the land of no obligations, commitments or maybe even ideas, I’m not necessarily a hypocrite enough to be envious of those who have traditions. But I do admit that I’d like to know what I’m doing next year because I’d know who I’m doing it with, even if I don’t know the exact when/where/what elements.

I love watching my friends develop their traditions. I used to always buy a blue spruce tree, usually from a little corner lot in Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh. It had to be about six feet. I didn’t have a car so it always meant bugging someone who did to help.

My lights always had to be blue and white — two strands of each. Actually the white were special because they were made of some crystal, prismatic-type plastic.

I have bought an ornament nearly every year, even though I have enough to decorate every tree at Pentagon City Mall. It always has to be crystal. I have tons of snowflakes and icicles and pendants to fill up the tree, so my annual purchases must complement the theme.

Yeah, I haven’t bought an ornament in a good three years. Because I haven’t bothered with a tree.

So the holidays just kind of come and go around here. This used to be my favorite time of year. When I first was on my own, I knew I didn’t have shit, but I always had a home and therefore I made it look like one. My apartment was where everyone liked to go to open gifts and have food before going out drinking. Now, I don’t let anyone in my ZIP code because my house just isn’t a home.

I’m lucky this year to be able to be a part of other people’s traditions. And in that, is tradition enough. Food, friends and a place you’re welcome to be. I mean, what more do you really need?

I guess what I’m hoping is to shed the inadvertent traditions of loneliness, frustration, apathy, death of the decorating gene, the empty fridge and full liquor cabinet, avoidance, guilt and absolute relief when Jan. 1 rolls around and people stop asking me what I’m doing for the holidays.

I think if the weather were better, then I’d be better. I never understood why folks flocked to Florida for the winter. As I de-pudgify (a process that’s slightly stalled right now as my body gets used to eating in non-Vegas-sized proportions), I realize something: I’M FREAKING COLD all the time.

I used to get mad at all these fragile flowers of women who were always shivering when it’s 90 degrees out. Dude, now that I’m minus a layer of blubber, I totally get it. *brrr* Kind of makes you NOT want to go out and do wintery events when you’re going to freeze your shrinking ASS off.

Well, since pudgy girls are more impulsive, I think what I need to do is leave the guilt over everything I can’t be (and frankly don’t CARE to be) at home and get my ass out and at least go look for an ornament for my collection. I don’t have room for a tree (in a 1,000-square-foot apartment. Ponder that for a minute) but maybe next year.

Actually, I’m so sick of my “maybe next year” mindset. Maybe I’ll be dating someone next year. Or maybe I’ll be dating someone who doesn’t live four hours away next year. Maybe I’ll have more money next year. Maybe I’ll have more space next year. Maybe I’ll look better in cute holiday attire next year. Maybe, maybe, maybe. *pfft*

Next year I WILL be dating someone special — SEVERAL of them! Who are local! (Most of ’em, anyway.) Next year my bank account will runneth over. Next year I’ll have plenty of space for a blue spruce tree of my very own. Next year I’ll host dinner for anyone who’s in town. And next year I will squeeze my ass into someone else’s skinny jeans, since I’m already in mine and I’ll be damned if that’s what I’m wearing at the end of 2009.

I hate to do another, “Next year things will be better,” but it sure beats how I went into this year, thinking, “Oh yay, more of the same. Can’t wait.”

So, while I am looking forward to spending this Christmas with the urban tribe as a part of their new tradition, and with my delightful patchwork of friends-turned-family at various other events in the interim, I am getting excited over the fact that Christmas 2009 will be the first of many that I can’t wait to experience on my own terms and, hopefully, on my own turf as well.

2 Responses to Adding to my whine collection

  1. Tiff :

    Hey! Speaking of ornaments, I need a tree-topper. Any ideas? 🙂

  2. Chrismas Sale Online » Blog Archive » Caterwauling :

    […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onCaterwaulingHere’s a quick excerptTo either see friends or hole up in my apartment with nothing but the Christmas tree and the cat to keep me company. And now that I’m in the land of no obligations, commitments or maybe even ideas, I’m not necessarily a hypocrite enough … […]