Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Humbug

For me, the Empty Nest Syndrome hits the hardest during the winter holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that my girls are all grown up, living elsewhere and with plans of their own, I feel a strong sense of “who cares” when it comes to holiday plans. It’s just my husband and me now and as he works in an industry that knows no vacations, he has to work on the holidays. So when I get the inevitable question, “what are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I feel an awkward reply stick in my throat, “not much.”

I actually don’t mind avoiding the preparations involved in either hosting a holiday event or going to a social gathering, it’s kind of nice not to have the hassle. On the other hand, I remember one of my very favorite Christmases, about five years ago when I had a house full of people for four days, a fire going in the fireplace, and me, cooking and baking and watching my family and friends enjoy the warm embrace of our home and hearth.

Frankly, living in Las Vegas during the time of year when snow should be on the ground has never given me a real sense of the holiday spirit. I find it laughable to see decorations such as snowmen and Santa set up on desert rock landscaping; it just isn’t the same.

 However, the display that the Fashion Show Mall and the Bellagio Gardens puts on makes up for it.

It’s this time of year I really feel the sting of not being near family. I could fly back home to New York, but my husband wouldn’t be able to go with me. We could drive to California to be with his family, but not when it falls on a “work” day for him. Besides, holiday traffic does not an enjoyable holiday make.

In years past our home was the stop for anyone we know who was far from their own family, we loved the mix of people. Now, I’m the one who gets the invite. As much as I appreciate the offer, generally I’d rather stay home or wait until John arrives and then take a long drive – in the opposite direction of everyone else. While we still live in Las Vegas we take advantage of the great food served in the casinos on holidays, so I can take comfort in the fact I don’t have to cook or clean up!

I see a move in our near future, out of Vegas and to a more rural lifestyle where the winter holidays look like they did when I was growing up.

Here's my brother showing off his winter wonderland

Soon I will have that roaring fire blazing, family and friends surrounding me and tired feet but a happy heart. In the meantime, my plans for the upcoming holidays “aren’t much,” but they’ll do.

Happy Thanksgiving to All


L.T. Elliot said...

That's a winter tundra-land! I'm sorry that the holidays are bringing "not much" but at the same time, I'm envious. The craziness of holidays get's nervewracking. I say that but I also love it. What a crazy mix.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alan Burnett said...

You could always come on over to England and miss Thanksgiving altogether. I have been trying to think of a British equivalent, but can't think of one.

katie gioia said...

I am in the same boat when it comes to my thoughts on holidays in the south....but i have taken your place, as I tell all the people that I know don't have family here to come to my house for a meal. But I do think about the christmas we all spent at your house in attica, dancing,,laughing, and drinking (underage of course for me!!) love you aunt lisa!