Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day at the Hospital

My husband had some elective day surgery today, so I spent a bunch of time hanging out in a nearly empty hospital, mostly, as it turned out, listening to staff chatter. We were there early, as folks were coming to work, and the conversation went like this. "Hi, how was your Christmas." and the answer, "Good, I'm glad it's over." The same thing happened in the cafeteria. I must have heard a dozen variations on that exchange. The nurse for the empty recovery bed next to us confided that she had awakened this morning to a broken clock that told her it was December 23...what a nightmare, she have to do it all over again!

It didn't seem that anyone had had a terrible experience on Christmas, it was just too stressful overall. It seemed as if the hospital staff's Christmas was a little like our Boxing Day... nothing awful, but we were glad that it was over with.

Christmas Celebrations are not completely voluntary, but this universal elective surgery response surprised me. I wonder what celebrations would suit people better? Is it just too much of a holiday for families with excited children aged 3-15? That's a relatively small proportion of us, after all. As a family with a 17 year old, we've noticed that it's not quite the same any more. (These days, parents put together the gifts in the morning. The teen now goes to bed after we do and gets up late, too!) But we had a very nice day yesterday, all working our our art projects for nearly a full day. That's a luxury! Late in the evening we made a quick Christmas Visit to drop off gifts at a friend's, which topped off the day nicely.

We have a few treats planned for later this week and a New Year's party to go to. Tomorrow's work is to get ready for the Golden Compass service on Sunday, which, we hope, will bring in the kids who usually don't come to church the week after Christmas. Since most of you, dear readers, can't come to church and discover your Daemon's wisdom, check out the movie site (, where, after a short personality inventory, you'll be assigned a deamon of your very own!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think anyone in my family feels quite the same about Christmas anymore... My wife recently read commentary that suggested that "Christmas has Jump the Shark." It used that exact wording as well. We're actually thinking of changing our traditions, and pretty much abstaining from all the present giving/receiving next year.



Dan said...

I'll admit to a deep exhalation yesterday evening; one part exhaustion, one part gratitude that the day had gone as well as it did. As a family with 3 kids under 6, that felt like a real accomplishment.

As a family who is accustomed to spending this holiday either with other family in our home or in the home of other family, it was an uncomfortable comfort just to be by ourselves and try out our own traditions, or try twists on others that we had grown up with.

My younger brother skipped Christmas last year by taking his wife and 4 teenage children on vacation. No gifts between them, just the big gift of the trip to the family. They had a fabulous time, and when my kids are older I fully expect to "take a break" from the normal mania and try this out as well.

I'd like to try some of the traditions from my upbringing in an rural intentional community, but somehow I don't think the fire codes allow for large Solstice/Yule-welcoming bonfires in my small suburban back yard.

Kelsey Atherton said...

Well, you'll be getting at least a few kids who rarely make it these days (does 19 count as kids?) The Golden Compass sermon is all kinds of exciting, so I'm brining along a guest better known from the blogosphere.

As for the stress of Christmas, I noticed it was much less so this year, without a big dinner to go to. In New Orleans, Melanie had a reading which involved a family postponing the stress of the Christmas dinner a few days, and just generally spacing out all the stress and excitement, and it sounded so wonderful. Holidays that can be laid-back should be, I think. Over-stressing doesn't ruin the event, but it certainly builds resistance towards repeat performances.