Ok, I’m a Scrooge. I’m NOT in the holiday mood. I’m decidedly all out of holiday cheer. When holiday good tidings were being passed out, I must have been working. Or sleeping. Or maybe I was just absent that day.

I look at the whole holiday sham and I just have to shake my head. It bothers me. People going in debt to buy things for people that don’t need or appreciate the items, so they stress out for months after the holidays while trying to either pay off the bills or deal with the fact that they are saddled with goods they must now determine how to display so no feelings are hurt. Geeze!

I’d just rather not. Really. I would rather NOT. I’d love to spend that day (and the day before and the day after) here at home with my hubby and my kids. I’d like to NOT travel this year. I’d like to enjoy the time alone with my immediate family. But you know what? It’s not gonna happen. There’s traveling before and traveling on Christmas day in my future.

I’m just a humbug. And it’s this time of the year that makes me really “get” how spoiled and ungrateful most of those sharing my nationality really are. I feel guilty BEING an American during this season. My guilt for our waste and carelessness as a society is nearly overwhelming. Case in point… at a family event over Thanksgiving, we drew names for Christmas. The adults always draw names and all the kids get gifts from everyone (never mind that there’s absolutely nothing that they need). I’d like to “opt out” — but it’s not an option. This is the way it’s always been, and this is the way it will always be. So there. I will learn to deal… eventually.

While at this holiday gathering, my son (age 16) asked if he could draw with the adults this year. Later, when Wayne asked him why, I was so proud of his response, I just have to share…

Because, he explained… “there’s nothing that I really need and I don’t want everyone to feel obligated to buy me something.” He said he felt guilty that everyone bought for him because he was a “kid” and it made him feel obligated to buy for everyone else, even though he couldn’t afford to do so. He said with a single gift, he could buy it himself, put time and effort into the process and feel better about the outcome. He said that he was cleaning out his room (which he has… to the point it’s nearly barren) to prepare to be more mobile during his next few years of life. (He’s making plans for college now and will be a Senior next year).

One of the other “kids” — age 18 — was asked if he wanted to draw with the adults this year. His response? “Which way do I get more gifts?” And that is why I say “BAH-HUMBUG!” Where’s the spirit of giving? The appreciating time together? The “getting to relax and recoup?” It’s not here.

Here, we have to hurry up and do events here so we can go do events on the other side of the family. These days, everyone has ex husbands and ex wives with whom they must “share” the children on holidays — so everyone is on the road and no one enjoys anything. The kids are exhausted, the adults are cranky, everyone is worn thin and financially over-extended and… for what?!?!

I’m venting, I know, but I can’t be the only one that would like to roll back the clock, make popcorn balls, decorate a tree an a leisurely fashion ( a REAL tree a few days before the holiday — not a fake one put up in October and taken down just before Valentines Day) and play board games and sleep in late — can I? Am I really the ONLY one?

Now, I’m rushing around trying to figure out what to buy for those “obligatory” gifts — trying to finish up the stuff for my kids — which is going to be minimal in number this year – although, unfortunately, not inexpensive. And find a way to make life special for my hubby during the holiday season — so he can get some holiday cheer, even if I don’t. He’s like a kid at Christmas. I’m like a ogre. What a pair we make!

I do hope I’m the only one so Scroogy about the holidays, but somehow, I don’t think I am. Maybe it will pass. Maybe I’ll find a way to get in the spirit. Right now… it seems like a commercialization of what SHOULD be a time to get closer to those that are most important to you.

If you ask me, TIME is the best gift. And if I could have anything, it would be more control over my time and how I spend it this holiday season. I’d spend time with my family. I’d like a time warp machine so I can spend several days hibernating with my hubby and my kids — and still be able to meet the family obligations — without rushing around and hating the whole thing.

I’d love it if I could spend a day or so with both sides of the family — just doing things together. Talking, playing games, spending time together without a television going. Seems like the only thing we do is rush in with a potluck, eat and then leave for the next obligation on both sides of the family at all family events. It’s always hurry-hurry.

I want to slow down. I want to smell a rose occasionally. I want to get off the merry-go-round for a bit. I’m getting motion sick.