Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River

By Katie East

I’m not the first person to complain about the weather this holiday season. It’s nothing new to have the A/C on for Christmas. Most years the temperature seems to spike just in time for Christmas Day so we all feel uncomfortable and our carefully plotted winter outfits are unwearable. As cheesy as it sounds, the holidays are more about a “feeling” than the day itself: love, joy and hope are prevalent in December. But for some reason, this year just doesn’t feel right.

I’m sitting in my house, surrounded by new gadgets and gifts and scraps of ripped up poinsettia paper littering the room. I’m gazing over at a beautifully decorated tree lit up to the ceiling and stockings still hung from the fireplace. By all accounts, it looks like a successful Christmas. In my gut, though, it doesn’t feel like it.

Is the weather really enough to ruin my Christmas spirit? I want to say no. Christmas is about traditions, being with family and spreading cheer. Who cares if the weather’s not perfect? But for some reason, for the first time in my life, I feel like a Grinch and I can’t understand why.

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas, my favorite holiday; it just doesn’t feel right to forgo a tree or at least throw up a few strands of lights. This year, I decked the halls more than I ever have before. I busted out the holly, spray painted pinecones and even decorated the front porch.

When I look around our living room, the glow brings me happiness. And yet, I can’t help but feel this twinge of regret and a voice in my head saying, “Why did we put it all up just to take it back down?”

Normally, I loathe taking down the Christmas tree but not because of the annoying process. Mostly I just hate the sadness of Christmas being over and the lack of twinkly lights in our lives. This year, for the first time, I questioned why I even put up the decorations at all.

Can the heat really be to blame? I think so.

It just seems so depressing that for the entire month I’ve had my Christmas tree up, I have yet to snuggle up with a blanket or turn the heater on. Mostly, I’ve had to avoid our couch (a prime tree-viewing spot) otherwise my legs would stick to the leather. It all seems fake and forced this year. I feel like there’s some elaborate plot that I missed to move up the holidays to October and now all of our internal clocks are off.

When I analyze my holiday this year, there’s nothing to complain about. I had a great time with my family and in-laws, received thoughtful gifts for which I’m grateful and got to eat and drink all my favorite holiday treats. The latter, of course, being the most important. If you miss just one traditional family dish, your entire Christmas spirit can be thrown out of whack.

As a bonus, I feel really good about all the gifts I gave this year. Sometimes I put off shopping and feel disappointed with the caliber of presents. This year I was thoughtful and everyone seemed very pleased with my picks. I even helped surprise a coworker; we pooled money to buy her a new bike after she was in a car crash last week. She was so grateful she couldn’t stop crying.

All my usual Yuletide requirements have been checked off and then some. I’m so happy when I think about my family and the time I was able to spend with them this year. And then all of a sudden, I hear that negative voice in the back of my head trying to convince me this was just practice and the real Christmas is coming in a few weeks when it’s finally cold.

Am I crazy? Probably. But I can’t help but feel I’m not alone. Several people I know have chimed in: “It just doesn’t feel like Christmas this year.”

I have many friends who physically can’t get out of bed if we have too much rain or too many days without sunlight. I know when I lived in New York I would suffer seasonal depression when the cold winter months dragged on. So maybe the opposite can occur. Maybe we really can be depressed when our Christmas is hot and muggy instead of cold and crisp.

I hate to feel ungrateful for the great holiday I just experienced. So instead of labeling myself a Grinch, I’m going to officially blame the heat. If you’re like me and feel the same, let’s agree to have a holiday party come January or February when the weather finally gets its act together. We’ll wear tacky sweaters, mull wine and tell tales of December 2015: When Global Warming Stole Christmas.

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