In general I manage to keep my stress levels down and just take it easy over the holidays. There are people who hate me for this. A couple simple gifts for my brothers, something a little nicer for my folks, and something for my godson and my holiday shopping is done. I don’t have to host any parties, though I do tend to go over to the folks’ and help clean for whatever parties they end up hosting (though I think it’s just the one this year, with Dad’s family). My brother and I tend to host a couple of my cousins for a few days out at our place, but about all this costs us is a little more food over those days. All around, the holidays aren’t cause of much concern for me.
(If it’s any consolation, I don’t expect it to last. One of these days I’ll find the right someone, settle down, and have a litter of screaming rug-rats. Which I’m sure will change my entire existence more than I can even begin to imagine. Weirder stuff has happened.)
I think it helps, too, that I’m not much of a partier in the first place. I’d rather hang out and talk with friends and family than hang out and drink. (I’ve never actually been drunk, to be honest, and seldom have more than two drinks. I’ve been a little buzzed on occasion when one of the two drinks was stronger than I expected. But I figure I make enough stupid, potentially disastrous mistakes when I’m sober that I don’t need any help from the alcohol.) I think the key reason I’m not a wild partier lies in that both sides of my family tend to hold fairly low-key parties. I say “low key” in the sense that no one gets stupidly drunk, no one’s property gets seriously damaged, and they are generally safe for the younger kids. This isn’t to say that they don’t get loud. My mom’s family in particular is quite large, and thus tends to feature a lot of noisy laughing, joking around, and storytelling.
I expect this year will be quite different on Dad’s side of the family. We lost Grandma Marilyn back in July, who, up until around five or six years ago hosted all of our Christmas parties. Grandpa Don still seems to be taking things in stride, but mostly this is because he is very good at keeping himself busy. I have to wonder just how different his first Christmas without her will be for him. I have to wonder how it will be for all of us.
Anyway, a joyous holiday season to everyone. For your viewing enjoyment, I give you Santa’s Dark Elves.