Christmas is my favorite holiday. Hands down. People like me are the reason Christmas stuff is already flooding store shelves in October. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, I basically turn into a 5 year old as the lights and decorations start getting dragged out – that is, if I haven’t already gotten too excited and started the decorating a week early.
But this year, for some reason, I’m having trouble getting into the spirit. I’m very “meh” about the whole thing this year.
I started out with my usual enthusiasm, decorating my parents house with them the day after Thanksgiving – Christmas carols on the radio, hot chocolate in hand. As soon as I got back to my own apartment that Saturday, out came the decorations. I have four large storage tubs full.
The tree went up in all her glory – a santa hat perched atop my head, the yule log crackling on the TV (yea, I’m one of those people), and the Charlie Brown Christmas album blasting out of my laptop speakers. I was thrilled. Even without any of the breakable ornaments on the tree (I purposely left them off this year because Olive is still a kitten), she was beautiful.
But my excitement quickly turned into war. Olive decided that the Christmas tree was a much better playground than the 6-ft tall cat playground we have for her. She, overnight, became a living terror. She climbed, she stole ornaments, she (somehow) managed to shatter what was supposed to be a shatterproof ornament while it remained on the branches.
I tried everything in my cat-behavior playbook except the spray bottle technique (the apartmentmate doesn’t want to use the spray bottle technique with her, and since she’s his cat I must respect those wishes). Nothing worked. Even the citrus spray that cats are supposed to HATE only deterred her for a total of 48 hours. She likes it now.
The more I pulled her out of and off of the tree, the more determined Olive became. It became impossible to actually enjoy the tree. The apartmentmate was pretty good at keeping her away from it by keeping her otherwise occupied – something I was incapable of achieving no matter how much I tried – but he wasn’t home all that much during the following weeks. When it was just me and her, she would not be deterred. And when I wasn’t home either? It was open tree season.
The final straw was the day I came home from work to find three of the tree branches now broken, hanging limp and creating a gap in the tree that I could probably fit in if I curled up.
My tree wasn’t much, but she was mine. My parents gave her to me last year when they bought a new one, and I spent hours removing the old dead lights from it and making it my own (see my post about it here). It was the little piece of Christmas at home that I got to take with me when I moved out. Really, when you get right down to it, my favorite physical thing about the holidays.
And it was broken.
I took the tree down that weekend.
With the tree down, Olive’s behavior has generally returned to normal, and she doesn’t really bother any of the other decorations – at least not purposely. I no longer seethe with anger and resentment when I look at her.
Which is good, since I have to live with her for the foreseeable future. And also because, really, it’s not her fault – she was just doing what cats do.
But I also haven’t really been able to get back into Christmas mode. Even with all my other little decorations still up, Christmas music playing on Spotify, and my Christmas mugs being used each morningm I’ve remained, well, kind of grumpy. The tree for me is the main marker of the season. Taking the tree down seems to have triggered the “post-christmas doldrums” in me several weeks early.
I’m hoping I can get back into the holiday groove when I go to my parents on Wednesday, since their tree is up and perfect still. But until then I’m going to keep trying to get myself back into the spirit.
Anyone have any tips on getting my holiday groove back?