27 December, 2007


Despite my alternative beliefs, my family is still very much Christian, so I still celebrate Christmas. It's usually a pretty good time, since we have a decent sized family, and we're all very friendly to one another. I've known people who've had families that tend to have some animosity between certain members, sometimes with different camps and things. But my group is all decent people. Of course, my family is sort of split in half, ever since my parents divorced. The two sides, though harboring little specific anger for each other, generally stay separate. It's not like they'd actually fight or anything, but because of what's happened, it just sort of seems appropriate to mark your position and defend your territory. I dunno. They don't really ever mix, so it's not much of an issue.

For me, the worst part about the Christmas celebrations is having to get up in the morning, when I'm used to going to bed in the morning. And it's not like I can just stay up through the morning and then sleep the rest of the day. After presents, my immediate family has our traditional Christmas morning breakfeast, featuring a delicious egg casserole, with various sides like danish and cinnamon rolls. After that, we all head over to my gramma's house to get some more presents. Then, in recent years, my two brothers and I have made a habit of visiting my mom's side of the family (usually just a handful of people hanging out at my grandad's place - my aunts live out of state and my uncle often seems to have an excuse for not making it on time). We chill for awhile, then come home just before guests from my dad's side of the family start arriving at our house for the evening, for the traditional Christmas dinner - which consists of a homemade sandwich bar with freshly baked and sliced ham and turkey.

I knew that if I didn't do something about my sleep schedule, I'd end up staying awake over Christmas Eve night, being exhausted during Christmas morning, and just being completely miserable for the rest of the day. So the day before Christmas Eve, I tried only sleeping for a few hours. Getting home from the Christmas Eve party at my gramma's house shortly before midnight, I anticipated being tired enough to get some sleep before the big day. Well, I got to sleep, but I only slept a handful of hours before my body woke up completely. Sometimes this happens - when I'm really tired and end up falling asleep in the small hours of the morning, I'll sleep at most a couple hours, and then wake up fully, with no chance of sleeping any longer than that. Despite how tired I was, and how little sleep I got the day before, that thing happened and I only got a few hours of sleep before Christmas. So I was pretty tired during the day's celebrations, but I managed through it.

I was planning on seeing a movie that night after the big dinner, but by the time the guests left, I was so tired, I had trouble keeping myself awake. So I crawled into bed and just crashed. Of course, instead of sleeping a good long time to rest my body and mind, I ended up waking up sometime in the small hours of the morning. It was like my body was completely rejecting the idea of sleeping during the night or something. Anyhow, I got enough rest to stay up until almost noon that day, but before it got any later than that, I resolved to get a few hours of sleep before the time I'd usually wake up. Trying to force myself back into my old routine, I made a point of getting up at the usual time, around 5pm, after getting only a few more hours of sleep. This is still the day after Christmas. So now, being late into the night of the day after Christmas, I'm pretty tired, but I'm making an effort to stay up until the usual time I'd go to sleep, hoping that I can get a decent rest and push myself back into the usual schedule. Hopefully my wits will be about me better tomorrow.

So for Christmas, my spoils mainly include rock and blues CD's that I asked for, DVD's of various movies, some books (and manga), and a bunch of other medium and little things to make it interesting. I didn't ask for anything major this year, as I didn't have anything particularly in mind except stuff I'd rather take care of myself. For example, I'm planning on buying some kind of ritual cloak - officially, I'm considering it a birthday present to myself (my birthday's in January). I've been looking forward to it ever since I decided I'd get one, over a month ago.

It's exciting (even though it's not a whole lot different from what I do every day) to have stacks of new movies to watch and music to listen to. When I have these kinds of distractions though, it makes it a lot harder for me to make any kind of progress on my artistic endeavors - like writing my stories or recording my music. I have enough crap available to me to keep me busy until next Christmas, I'm sure. But that's not really the problem. I mean, on the one hand, it bugs me that there's always more stuff to do - more books to read, more series to watch, more games to play - but the important thing is that I need to take some time to do the things that are really important (e.g., the stories and music I mentioned).

But I have an avoidant reaction to things like that that need to be done. The more it needs to be done, the less I want to do it. And for something artistic like these things are, I just don't feel like it can work if I'm not in the right mood, if my creativity isn't being facilitated by the conditions in and around me, if it feels more like a burden than a gift. And that bugs me. I don't want it to feel like that, and I don't want to force myself to do something when it feels like that. But it needs to get done. So I'm kind of at a loss. Just thinking about it doesn't make me go "oh yeah, I can't wait to try this and that and get that finished." Instead, I think, "ugh, it's such an effort to go and set up all that equipment, and then make sure the levels are right, and then see how it records and how well I can play it, and blah, blah blah, blah blah." So I put in a DVD instead.

Something's gotta give.


  1. I kind of want to be a writer, and one of the most common pieces of advice that I see is "write every day". I can't imagine that it would be much different for a musician -- "play every day". The idea behind it might be that if you play through the bad times as well as the good, through the inconvenient times as well as the ready, you'll be able to play any time you need to, in any condition.

    At the least, you get a lot more practice.

  2. As a side note, I'm not remotely Christian, and I'm not terribly likely to marry a Christian either... but I'd still celebrate Christmas. I mean, it's one thing to celebrate it as the birth of Jesus, but it's another thing to celebrate it just because it's fun to give each other presents and eat good food.

    Christmas is a lot more than the religious trappings the Church tried to hide the equinox in... and still more than the commercialism America makes it out to be.

    Whatever the case, it's a holiday. Why not enjoy it?

  3. You're absolutely right. And Christmas does seem to be more of a commercial/cultural holiday than a religious one. And as long as people I know celebrate it, I have reason to celebrate with them. I mean, if I knew people who were having a huge Kwanzaa party, and it wasn't a hugely religious thing, then hell, I'd celebrate that, too!

    But ideally, I'd sever any relationship to Christianity, and I'd just take the parts I like about Christmas and incorporate them into my Yuletide celebrations. That's assuming a world where only my beliefs really matter.

  4. Zharth, your family ain't Christian. I mean, sure Gram and stuff are Christian, but me, Kev, and Dad are all atheists, and I think that counts for a lot.

    Wikipedia defines Christmas as 2 seperate but identically named holidays, the secular santa celebration and the Christian rememberence of Christ's birth. I think the secular Xmas is a pretty excellent holiday, and it's pagan-rooted anyway so I figure you would celebrate it.