Yesterday I decorated my first Christmas tree since I was a little kid. I actually can't remember the last time I did that - twelve, maybe ten years ago?
Left to ourselves my mom and I don't do anything for Christmas, but now that she's dating an American man we're slowly getting acquainted with his family's traditions. Yesterday they went out and bought an actual tree from a tree farm. I've never even seen a real Christmas tree up close.
I remarked to my mom that we stopped celebrating Christmas when I got older because no one would celebrate with us. "That's the difference between people who think you're important and the people who don't," she said, referring to my dad. "What did he ever want to do with us?"
My mom bought a bottle of champagne I'm supposed to present to her boyfriend as my gift to him. I'm not sure what I think about this. I don't feel the need to pretend I'm more affectionate towards him than I really am. As long as he's good to her, I'm satisfied.
All the same, her boyfriend considers me part of his family now. He even expects me at their party on Christmas Eve, even though my mom is working that night and won't be there herself. Great, just me and them. This may sound awful, but I don't really want to meet them.
To be honest, I'm not much for holiday cheer at all. The Grinch had my complete and utter sympathy...until he decided to return all those gifts to Whoville. There's just something about the fevered consumerism ("I have to shop!") and impossibly high spirits ("I have to smile!") that turns me off this time of year. How is it possible to maintain that kind of exuberance? But maybe, like my mom says, I've just never had anyone to celebrate with.
"This is the first time we've had family," she said. "Try to enjoy it. You might like it."