You can tell Christmas is coming, when everyone is stressed out, cranky and complaining about a lack of money.
I am trying to be all "zen" about Christmas this year. I have realized that there is no way in hell I can please everyone, and with the short amount of time I have off from work, I can't even really please myself, and do exactly what I wanted to do, which would be having at least a few days to see everyone, and go everywhere. From what I understand, that's just the way it goes, once you're a married adult who has a job.
This year I will not be able to go to Small Town for Christmas, and instead we will be going to Smyrish's dad's place on Christmas Day, and his mom's on Boxing Day, so we're still getting good meals, and time to visit relatives before I have to get back to work. We even get to throw a Boxing Day brunch in there with a couple friends who do not have family here, and for that, I am grateful. To me, my friends are family too. I am also grateful that I have a mother that understands that regular everyday life doesn't stop just because it's a holiday. She understands that I have to work, and that I only have a day and a half to do the Xmas thing, and we can always get together another time. It's too bad my brother GQ isn't as understanding, because it would make this year much easier on me. I've missed out on Christmas before due to work, weather or car troubles, and the world didn't end. It just sucks a little, not to be involved in the Christmas traditions we become so accustomed to, after years of doing those same things, and seeing the same people.
The first Christmas after my dad died, was when I learned that life changes, and things don't always stay the way you want them to stay. Christmas morning was strange and awkward for me, even though our routine didn't change much. He wasn't sitting on the couch in his robe, watching us as we opened our presents, giving us lame advice on what we should do with our new things. We didn't have to beg him to hurry up and open his presents, and I couldn't laugh and roll my eyes at his "surprised" look when he opened the day planner that he got from us every single year. We made Xmas brunch ourselves, instead of eating his greasy, but yummy, mess of eggs and bacon.
Things just kept changing even more after that. Relatives and friends that I was used to seeing every year, got married or moved away, had babies, or started new jobs. Now I am married, and have an even bigger family to include in Christmas plans, and possibly one day we will have our own children, and we will start our own Christmas traditions, and people will just have to roll with it.