Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 30, 2014

Cooper reflects upon and prepares for the Christmas season

Nov 29, 2013

By MEGAN COOPER

Mt. Pleasant News

As the holidays near, well Thanksgiving has come and gone, but Christmas is looming ahead, I think of what that means.

Now, I’m not a Grinch, but I have, over the years, started to dislike the Christmas season. First off, I think it stems from the fact that Christmas has infiltrated even Halloween this year. It was discouraging to see.

Secondly, Christmas means it’s cold in Iowa. Which, as we have discussed before, I despise the cold.

Thirdly, shopping. Now, I love shopping, but hate the “I want this” or the “I want that” attitude. It just seems a bit much anymore.

Watching TV and seeing commercials for iPhones for kids, or iPads, or whatever else that is extremely expensive just seems, I don’t know, a bit much. It just seems that we are becoming a society based on wants instead of needs. What do I want for Christmas? My bills to be paid. There is a reason why I drive my husband’s jeep to work a few days a week…but, we will let you guess why.

Better yet, what I want is to be able to actually afford to purchase presents for my children instead of depending on my parents to do it or “helping” to make those purchases.

The more I think about the Christmas season approaching, the more my stomach churns and the more I want to remain inside my home.

Okay, so now I will get off the bitter train. There are things I like about Christmas. I do like the lights and the look on my children’s faces when they see our house lit up at night. That to me is the real gift. Their happiness at something so simple, it just melts my heart.

I also see Christmas as the opportunity to see my brother, whom I am really close to. I see him approximately twice a year, and so I look forward to the weeks he gets to come home and see all of us.

Having him around makes the season just that much more bearable, and well, it’s good to spend time with him and catch up on our lives.

Another aspect I like about Christmas is seeing friends who are still in college or have since moved away from here. Seeing them makes Christmas okay, which is why I said I’m not a total Grinch when it comes to Christmas, I just have more dislikes than likes.

Having my family and friends home for Christmas is something I look forward to every year. Perhaps, deep down, that could be another reason why I don’t like Christmas…maybe it’s because I know it’s the one time of year I see these friends and when it’s gone, I won’t see them again for another year. Hmm…something to think about I think.

I also enjoy family traditions. When I was growing up my family was big on tradition. My grandparents used to be the ones who would have reindeer and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in Wayland. That was when Wayland used to have lights galore. I remember going to my grandparents’ home, eating chili, running amok with my cousins and hanging out with the reindeer on Christmas Eve. It was just something I would always look forward to, plus we got to stay up late.

As time wore on, the tradition faded, but it still resonates inside of me. I still long for those nights when it was simple and magical. I can even remember when I was older, my mom and I would drive around Wayland looking at lights and we would check up my dad who said he was “cleaning deer” even though it was almost eight o’clock and he had been hunting since five in the morning. We knew what the guys were really doing, and I’m sure it included a few beverages.

But honestly, that was the best part of Christmas. It was just something to look forward to. My family has since tried making traditions, but it seems that with the way the world is, it’s harder to keep them going.

Now, my mom, dad, brother, husband and children try to all get together on Christmas Eve, partake in some adult beverages (not the kids), games, chili eating and opening presents. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the closest we have to tradition.

We have another tradition on my dad’s side; we meet for dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house and draw for presents. We have done that for a while now, but I know some things have changed again this year, and we find ourselves squeezing the event into a day when everyone can meet, which gets harder every year.

Perhaps that is why I love the movie “A Christmas Story” so much, because even though my family tries to make a tradition last, something comes in the way. In the movie, they had dogs eat the turkey and were forced to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, even though it wasn’t planned, it ended as a night to remember. It seems in my family we always have something that comes up to change the plans that were set.

Even watching “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” I get jealous, because even though their Christmas was a disaster, they had a house full of family members and had a nice dinner and made memories that will last them forever. I just want a Christmas like that, where we could plan for something amazing, but I know (because it’s my family) it would end in some sort of disaster. It would still be a great memory and story to talk about though!

Overall, Christmas is just a stressful time of year for everyone and perhaps my struggles come from a lack of tradition. Perhaps I am just an old soul and want the big family Christmas I see on the movies, then again maybe I’m so wrapped up in that thought, that I am overlooking what our traditions really are.

Again, don’t take me for a Grinch, I’m just looking for a meaningful holiday, where the kids are happy and family and friends surround me. Maybe, in time, traditions will fall into place, but for now, I will work on looking at the upside of the holiday season and to quit fretting about all that I cannot control.

Have a great holiday season and see you around the community!

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