Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 5, 2010

Bah! Humbug!


The Top 10 Ways Christmas Has Changed Due to the Economy
10.  Twelve Days of Christmas now down to ten and a half.
9.  "Ho Ho Ho" now replaced with an exasperated sigh.
8.  Three out of Eight Maids A-Milking are unemployed.
7.  Yule log has to last all year.
6.  Frosty the Snowman now a depressed, melancholy soul.
5.  Letters to Santa include resumes.
4.  Tinsel recycled for cash money.
3.  People hoping to get coal in case gas gets shut off.
2.  Out of town company staying through next Christmas.
1.  Getting a meat and cheese assortment, not such a bad gift!

Well the holidays are looming and this will be the third Chrimbo that I won't be decorating.  Over and above being sick, it's just too much damn work.  While 2010 has been better than 2009, money is still very tight and times are still hard for so many people.

We were watching the news the other night, and found out that the Washington State Employment Development Department (EDD) made a huge calculation error with unemployment benefits, for people that started collecting 2+ years ago.  That explains why Brian was booted off in October, and why he is unable to get anyone at the State to call him back or respond to his email inquiries as to what's going on.   At least I am still bringing home an income, but the poor guy they interviewed on the news is single, over 50, has already lost his home, and now EDD told him, "too bad, so sad."  He said that he applies for tons of jobs, even for low paying ones, and either never hears back, or told that he's overqualified.

In October, one of the cartoons in the paper showed someone going into a costume shop and asking for the scariest Halloween costume they had.  The shopkeep retorts, "Over 50 and Unemployed".  Sometimes I think that some of my family and friends think Brian's just malingering or not trying.  I know he's trying, but there isn't anything out there.  Unemployment in Washington is just about 10%.  He just doesn't hear back from anyone, ever, about any jobs he applies for.  It's frustrating as hell for him.  My mom keeps saying, "he can't give up!"  But you know, after 2 and a half years of rejection after rejection, it's awful damn hard not to give up.  Plus his health problems are fairly significant, which limits the kind of work he can do.  

I used to be so into Chrimbo when times were good.  I would look forward to decorating and would do it on Thanksgiving weekend, so we'd have a whole month to enjoy it.  The last time we had a real tree was the year b/f we got Sagan, which was 2005.  I used to be able to cover the wood stove's brick pad with decorative candles and holiday snow globes.  I had a really cool smaller fake tree in the upstairs window and a large brass wire tree to hang my Radkos and the beaded balls I've made.  I used to put green (fake) pine garland around the wall that frames the picture window upstairs, and I hung beautiful glass balls from it.  Our tree ornaments are very unique and very fragile too.  My parents would give me a new one every year, starting the year I was born.  That makes many of them over 40 years old, aka, "antique".  I have one of an angel inside an eggshell that a neighbor gave me in 1973.  All these years and the egg has not been crushed.  I have a wax-face angel too.  And the star for the tree was bought in the early 50's.  There are several ones made of wood that I assembled from a kit when I was 9, also fragile.

Now, I love my little sweet Sagieboo to death.  And that's part of the reason I stopped decorating so much.  He's just so clumsy sometimes, and walks over the brick pad, dripping water from his dish, stepping on whatever's in his way.  He jumps around by the slider when he's excited.  He likes to roll around on the floor with toys in his mouth then wants you to play fetch with him.  He stands in the upstairs window, barking at perceived threats, often putting both front feet on the table to increase his height.  He races around the livingroom with his treats, leaping on and off 'his' couch.  He'll take the pad out of his upstairs bed and whip it around from side to side. Do you see where I'm going with this?  The breakable-ornament carnage would be unreal.  I decided that I'd rather not decorate, than to risk one of my precious and irreplaceable ornaments being shattered because Crash Craddock knocked over the tree or pulled down the garland.

Over and above the Enthusiastic Doggie Factor, it's just too much damn work to drag all that shit out.  We have a lot of decorations.  Tons of them.  They are all fragile and unique, and some of them are now antique.  They must be carefully wrapped and stored.  So unpacking them, and then putting them away, takes so much time and effort. It can take days to do it.  I always take everything down on the 26th, mostly because the real tree we always get is pretty much tinder by that time.  That means piles and piles of pine needles.  It's bad enough we're tracking them in from outside, without piles of tree needles too.   Last year when I didn't decorate, I promised myself that this year I would.  Now I'm promising myself that next year I will.  In my defense, I've noticed a marked decrease in the lights and decorations I see in my travels over the past couple of years too, although there is one house on the corner that looks like Chrimbo threw up on it.  I'm going to have to take pictures of it and post it.  I can see maybe having one of those blow up lawn ornaments, but man alive, these people have about 10 of them.  The inflatable Joseph, Mary & Jesus is particularly disturbing.

I'm just not feelin it.  At all.  I want to.  I was trying to...but it's not happening.  I can't force myself into it.  It's more trouble than it's worth. So it seems that the sum total of my holiday spirit will be the 35 holiday cards I made, and will be posting soon.  Card making is something I do enjoy, and I was actually quite bummed out when I finished making them!  But the decorating just ain't happenin' this year.  I know come the afternoon of December 25th I'll be very glad I made the decision not to put it up, because now I won't have to put it all away.


  1. It's REALLY tough out there for anyone out of work, on both sides of the pond and I've now 'done' all the Christmassy things I have to do, but stubbornly, I'm not feeling in the least bit Christmassy, not even humming '18 wheels of Christmas'!

    Here's hoping 2011 is better for all who've had/are still having a rough time with their lives.

  2. JoJo - I totally feel you on the whole feeling not-so Christmassy thing. but if this is an on-going thing, why not downgrade your decorations so you can enjoy something little? Just a tiny table-top tree with colored lights makes me happy. But no one should feel any pressure to decor-up for the holidays, so I think it's cool you do your own Christmas card thing. I hate all the buy, buy, buy at holidays. I would like to get the dog a cute collar. Other than that, my holidays will consist of trying to convince my parentals NOT to buy me anything and to save their money for when I really need it. And not to expect ME to eat all the holiday cookies!

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  4. My heart goes out to you. It's just so wrong that all the pleasure has been sucked out of things for someone who used to enjoy Christmas so much. I didn't win the lottery last night (for a change) so I can't wave the magic wand. I love to think of lovely Sagan doing his unintentionally destructive thing though. Give him a hug from me.

  5. This all rings true; I could've written it myself. I haven't decorated for Christmas since my parents passed away. It just isn't the same anymore with them gone, the accounts of people clawing each other for the "it" gift for the Holiday and the state of the economy. I empathize with Brian as I am in the same boat. It's exactly as you've said about him, in never hearing back from anyone or being overqualified. In my case, add in the bitterness of losing my job at Wamu that wasn't anyone's fault but lies on the shoulders of the greedy CEO, Kerry Killinger. I bet he's having a wonderful Christmas with the millions he walked away with. My wish is for Brian to find the right job for him because the two of you are wonderful people and deserve as much. Despite all you have going on, your posts and gorgeous photos are full of joy and are inspirational in their positivity. Thank you for that!

  6. The only gift buying that I have to do is for my kids which I do as early as possible. We've even done the boxing day thing in the past to avoid over spending. We like to keep the focus away from all the commercialism. I do decorate a little bit but usually not until 2 weeks before Christmas. I do send out about a dozen cards or so but it has become more of a tradition than an actual sentiment. I would quite that all together too except that I feel obligated.

  7. (((((((jojo & brian)))))))

    your precious baubles sound beautiful but hey christmas is just another day --- eat mincepies and hot chocci in bed and snuggle up together 'neath the duvet --- the greatest gift you have is each other --- you can't buy kisses cuddles and love :))

    love you guys

  8. Inflatable Joseph, Mary & Jesus blowup garden ornaments???

    That's bloody ridiculous. Since divorce and living alone I just put up the cards I get but that's it.

  9. I'm just kind of 'walking through' this Christmas. I put up a tree, the cats are having a blast with it!

  10. i'm not feeling xmas-y either. i plan on plowing thru a bottle of pear vodka on xmas and calling it a day.
    on the other hand, loganne looks so pretty in her xmas sweater.

  11. How about this one "ho ho hum!"
    hee hee!

    I hope you find some twinkle this season.

  12. I'm basically seeing a lack of spirit everywhere actually. Our street used to have lots of lights and stuff, but only a couple houses have them now. It's just such a bother to drag it all out.

    The thing that kills me the most is that we have always been big givers, esp. during the holidays, and I haven't been able to do that the last couple of years.

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