When I was a kid, we weren’t allow to even speak of Christmas until after my mother’s birthday – December 14th. Since that was halfway through December, it made enjoying the holidays difficult. I found I had to squelch down all my childlike wonder until 10 days prior to the BIG DAY because my mother wanted all eyes on her until after her special day. I mean really, what self-respecting narcissist wants to share her birthday with the SON OF GOD!
I don’t know what I was thinking!
Now I decorate as soon as possible after Thanksgiving and I try to enjoy the entire season but I recently realized that I still tend to squelch those feelings.
You know…stuff them down.
No! Can it be? I STUFF down emotions!
You know, a sarcasm font would come in very handy right about now.
As soon as the Christmas commercials and decorations start after Halloween, there’s a voice in my head that says, “No! I will not enjoy the holidays until…(whatever random date).” As the excitement begins bubbling up I stuff it down and stuff it down until…well…it’s flat. As a pancake. With about as much flavor. You know…before the syrup.
Then I get all wound up in the other thing my mother taught me about Christmas – that no matter what…it’s all about the presents and how much you spend on them.
I try and try not to do this but no matter what – it always seems to seep through.
The pinnacle and thus turning point for me was last year when, in spite of everything swirling around me, I struggled through the holiday season in a deep depression. Part of it was chemical but a bigger part was all about stuffing everything down and then expecting it to resurrect itself when called upon and create a magical wonderland of holiday joy.
Yeah…not so much.
Then, as usual, when it didn’t happen I blamed myself. I didn’t spend enough. I didn’t bake enough. I didn’t do CHRISTMAS enough.
Well not this year people. I am making a conscious effort NOT to do these things for one more holiday season. This holiday revelation came about after watching the marshmallow Target commercial with the little girl that looks a lot like my granddaughter did when she was about 7 years old. I heard the familiar chords of the song “Marshmallow World” at the beginning of the commercial the day after Halloween and thought, “NO!!! It’s too soon!”
Then I stopped. And thought (amazing right). And a big lightbulb appeared over my head and lit up…bright! Why is it too soon? Who says I can’t enjoy this feeling RIGHT NOW? Why should I wait until some arbitrary date? There’s enough holiday cheer to last me through New Year’s even if I start in August, so why not on November 1st?
The next time that commercial came on I sang along. I let the feeling of holiday cheer fill me up and spill over. I took a shower in that shit yo.
Then I decided that I was cutting a third of my holiday list because, quite frankly, we just don’t have the money this year (three kids in college = no cashola) and that if my friends couldn’t get on board than oh well. I even emailed a couple of them to let them know and, surprise surprise, they WERE on board! So, instead of exchanging gifts that we and our children do not need, we decided to spend time together instead. Fucking genius right?
Next I decided that I wasn’t going to measure the thought or intent of the gifts I did buy by the price tag. I really try hard not to do that but when it comes to the kids…I fall really short of my goals. It never feels like I’ve given them enough which I’m completely aware is crazy but stuff that you’ve been doing your whole life is really hard to stop doing you know? I’m going to sit down with all of them and explain what I’m feeling so that it’s out on the table and they know what to expect come Christmas morning.
Because for real people? It’s about how much we love each other as a family and not about how much we spend on one another. Up until now that’s been easier said than done for me. I’m hoping for easier done than said this year.
So let the holiday celebrations begin! I can set the table for Thanksgiving while singing Christmas carols! I can Christmas shop and shop for my Thanksgiving turkey! Bring on the commercials filled with heartfelt sentiment! Let me see some Salvation Army kettles! String the lights, lights and more lights! Gingerbread lattes in red cups for everyone!
I’m ready and, for the first time in a very long time, I’m happy about it.
Namaste and dare I say, Happy Holidays!