A New Kind of Christmas

It’s funny how “whole” I feel this Christmas Season.  I don’t feel like anything is missing.  I just feel peace.  Whatever happens will happen and everything will work out just fine.  Weird.

Weird because trust me when I say that this “zen” approach to the holidays is a new state of being for me.  Usually I’m stressed beyond words and I end up ruining the whole season because of it.  I used to insist that everything was just perfect because that was the only way I knew how to do it and the only way I could feel good about myself.  What’s worse is that since nothing is ever “perfect”, when something went wrong it left me feeling like shit about myself and the kind of wife and mother I am.

Not exactly the ho-ho-ho kind of attitude.  More like a no-no-no kind of attitude.

The last two sober Christmases were spent in a very different mind set.  I wanted everything to be perfect but for the first one I was so busy trying not to drink and be “okay” with everyone else drinking that the holidays flew by in a blur.  It was really sad because I don’t remember much about what should have been a celebration of me.  Funny – I was used to not remembering things but certainly not because I was sober.

The second Christmas was really odd because I was trying to maintain the illusion of perfect but I wasn’t sure who the hell I was anymore.  I had been sober for going on two years but had not yet entered what I would call recovery.  I was feeling very “flat”, to borrow a phrase from my fellow bloggers”, and lacking in emotion.  I did not like that at all.  Everything looked great on the surface but underneath…nada, zip, zilch, zero.  I remember apologizing to my daughter while they were here because I was going to bed early and not staying up being the life of the party.  She, being the wise woman that she is, looked me in the eye with an expression that said, “Are you insane woman?”  Fact is, I think I was…just a little bit.

But this year I am at peace for the first time in…well…ever.  It’s not the insanity that was the Christmas of my youth, nor is it of the intensity that I had created over the years.  For the first time in my life, Christmas just…is.

There is certainly no perfection…anyone who has access to my Facebook page knows that I’ve decorated and undecorated and redecorated my tree three different times because I didn’t like the lights.  The best part was I didn’t stress about it – I just did it.  And because I wasn’t stressed, my family wasn’t stressed so it was a non-event.  Just another “mom” moment to which they are accustomed.

My shopping is done with the exception of a few gift cards.  That was a lot easier too because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that what was purchased didn’t matter.  It really is the thought that counts.  Who knew?

We may or may not bake.  Fact is, everyone in my house tends to put on weight and we could all stand to lose a few pounds so baking 40 gazillion cookies, candies and cakes “just because” really is not very bright.  Rather, I will make some snickerdoodles, my fudge and a pound cake and that will be just fine.

To tell you the truth, this whole new attitude thing is a little disconcerting and has me just a tad off balance.  I’m way more used to rushing around like a crazy woman, barking orders in every direction and just generally making myself miserable while everyone stands around me, shaking their heads and thinking, “What’s all the fuss about?”  It was about rushing, decorating, baking, cleaning, rushing, stressing, worrying, buying, spending, overspending, partying (drinking or sober), and more rushing.  I know how to do that.

It’s the new version with which I’m not as familiar.  I like this version better.  I think this is what Christmas is supposed to be about…family, love, Hallmark movies that make you cry, commercials that make you cry, sentiment, lights, laughter, children filled with awe (no matter how old), smiles and relaxed family evenings and weekends with nothing to do but stare at the tree and enjoy the moment, tradition.

Yeah…I could get used to this.


8 thoughts on “A New Kind of Christmas

  1. Reminds me of when Jesus visited Mary and Martha. Martha missed the 'moment' spent engaged with Jesus and in meaningful conversation as she busyed herself with domestic chores. Mary? She sat at Jesus' feet and immersed herself in his presence. . .

    Martha really missed a golden opportunity. Moreover, how dissapointed he must have been in her.

    As the kids got older I loosened my “to do” list. Today,, I start AFTER Thanksgiving and spend only the weekends on preparations, but only if it is enjoyable. I used to pride myself in hand written letters; the advent of the computer generated Christmas letters annoyed me and I swore I would never… But, writing personally to fifty people is a chore I found myself not enjoying. So, now, every third year , or so, we send the photo/card thing.

    Baking? HA,, i'm a horrible baker, though, I will make just a couple of favs that I have managed to pull off over the years.

    I resent the commericalism penetrating my home and do exert an effort to minimize it. Lately I have been doing all my shopping on line. I DETEST crabby shoppers and merchants. Really, it infuriates me.

    Fun to drive through Dunn Bros. Coffee and pay for the vehicle behind you – therein lie the real joys of this time of year, wouldn't you agree????

  2. Ok great post, you rock, great to hear, all good, yadda yadda yadda, but all I want to know is WHAT ARE SNICKERDOODLES? Recipe please! I'm going to make them in your honour down here in New Zealand….

  3. This is your third sober Christmas, right Sherry? I'm really hopeful that my third will be as relaxed as yours is sounding. This is my second, and I'm not sure last year really counted, since I was still so raw from having just lost my husband's mom a month earlier.

    We had a pretty nice Thanksgiving here with family, but this Christmas will just be the two of us. That takes a lot of the pressure off, but I still find myself a bit flat (great word). Thinking maybe I'll go volunteer at the homeless shelter, that could be a nice new tradition to start and make it about service to others.

    Enjoyed the post, glad you are feeling more at peace this year. xo

  4. I really think we just have to work through a lot of shit to get to the peace. I'm not even sure I'm all the way there or if I'll ever be but I know that this year is so much better than prior years.

    Love the idea of volunteering and being of service. What a wonderful way to spend the holidays.


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