Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Feeling like a Grinch December 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:05 AM
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WITH LESS THAN three weeks until Christmas, I truly need to pull myself out of my pre-holiday funk.

Here’s the deal. I haven’t sent out a single Christmas card, although the annual holiday letter has been drafted and awaits final editing.

I haven’t baked Christmas cookies. I don’t need the sweets and the guys in the house don’t have a sweet tooth. Eventually I’ll bake the cream cheese roll-out cookies that have been part of my Christmas since childhood. And I’ll pull together some date pinwheels for my husband, part of his childhood tradition.

No presents in my sleigh yet.

As for shopping, the lists have been compiled. But since I dislike shopping, the task looms before me.

Decorations? If you count the holiday painting by my father-in-law hanging in the dining room, the six Christmas cards we’ve received and the peppermint candies in a dish, then, yes, I’ve started my decorating.

I’m not the type who goes all out with holiday decorating because, visually, I dislike clutter. I also live in a relatively small house.

Then there’s my husband, who worries about the Christmas tree drying out and creating a fire hazard (a legitimate concern) if we buy it “too early”. Once we waited so long to purchase a tree that we had five pathetic choices in the tree lot. We got a heckuva deal, though, by buying only days before Christmas. True story.

So there you have it. I am feeling more Grinch-like than holiday-ish. For me, the important part of Christmas lies in celebrating Christ’s birth and in gathering with family.

Gathering with family...one of the most important aspects of Christmas for me.

I expect therein exists the partial reason for my melancholy. My second daughter, who lives in eastern Wisconsin, will not be home for Christmas. She’s on-call both holiday weekends at her job as a Spanish medical interpreter. She has missed Christmas before, while living in Argentina. So I should be used to this. I am not.

I have no right to complain. None. Many families are separated by greater distances or war or illness or death, or even by choice.

Eventually I’ll pull myself out of my holiday blues. Perhaps I’ll start with addressing Christmas cards and work my way up to mixing cookie dough. The shopping, though, I never have been able to embrace no matter how hard I try.

Although I'm struggling right now to pull everything together for Christmas, I will. Here's the complete holiday painting by my father-in-law, Tom Helbling of St. Cloud, MN.

SO…WHERE ARE YOU at with your holiday preparations? Do you struggle with any aspect of preparing for Christmas? Submit a comment and share.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling