BUT, I had a slight epiphany. Someone sent me the article "12 Things Happy People Do Differently" and #2 on the list was "Cultivate Optimism". I've decided to focus on the funny of Christmas pasts and present. Here goes...
My poor dad always got the crappiest gifts around the holidays from Andrew and I, but looking back, some of these were cutely hilarious. For instance, one year we decided to get him a hunting duck decoy (as far as I know my father never hunted a day in his life). Our reasoning, perhaps we thought he liked ducks since he was so good at making Quack sounds whenever we visited the water. I cannot remember if it was Andrew or I, but another time, we dug out homemade ornaments from the attic that we had given our father the year before. We wrapped them once again and presented them as if they were an original gift.
My brother still to this day gives the most unique gifts. He has the biggest heart and is so thoughtful and I actually look forward to the wrapped randomness each year. For example, one year he gave me a women's slip and forks and knives. Another year he gave me nursing shoes (I actually love them and wear them every day). I'm excited to see what this year will bring.
Mario - our beloved budgie that we had for 12+ years. We used to let him fly around the house all day. Despite having to clean up bird shit, it was awesome to provide him with some form of happy freedom. I remember the first Christmas with Mario, we set up the tree and decorated it densely with garland, tinsel and lights. Well Mario was immediately drawn to this radiating species - I wonder if he felt some instinctual connection to "live in a tree". Anyway, for two days we could hear Mario chirping but his blue and green feathers were perfectly camouflaged amidst the ornaments and foliage. So for two days, we let Mario just disappear in his new natural home and chirp in time to the blinking lights.
My most unique Christmas was my first outside the country. It was Korea 2001, and on Christmas Eve a group of us ESL teachers and new local friends went to noraebang (Korean style karaoke where you have your own room, drinks, food and the opportunity to hog the mic the whole night). I remember Tammy (my dear friend and roomie) sang Black Velvet and I attempted to sing both the male and female parts of Time to Say Goodbye. At the end of the night, I raced home to open the care package from my mom which led me to ball joyfully. The next day we headed to Seoul to eat a festive dinner of nachos and chicken wings at TGIFridays. Tracy (another teacher and dear friend) gave me a pet turtle. Several days later, I wanted to give him the freedom we had given Mario years earlier. I let him walk around the apartment except I fell asleep. Again for two days, just like our budgie, the turtle had disappeared. He finally emerged but was never quite the same. I think a week later, he had met his final demise. I remember arriving home to quite the scene. All were crowded around the tank staring at the poor turtle lying belly up. Poor Jen, an awesome friend and animal lover, was in hysterical tears. Bob Barker would have been very upset with me.
Finally, present day: This past weekend Mom wanted me to take her to her Church's carol sing. I managed to drag Audrey along. When we arrived at the Sackville home, Audrey turned to me and said, "You told me we were going to a Christmas concert!" I guess I slightly stretched the truth to guarantee her acceptance of the invitation. It ended up being really nice, quite hilarious, and was the first thing to put me in the holiday spirit this year. When we sang Little Drummer Boy, three-year-old Jeremiah went nuts on the drums in improvisational style. With baby in toe, his mother Kate was determined that we would sing Christmas in Killarney all the way through despite many failed attempts. I had a crab-walking race with young Madeleine. Lynn served up those divine butter cookies with Rolo chocolates in the centre - you know the ones I mean?
Maybe Christmas won't be so bad this year.