Friday, December 23, 2016
For those of us who don't love Christmas
Admitting you don't love Christmas is sometimes like saying you hate puppies -- especially the really fluffy ones -- or that you think Caillou is just misunderstood. (Wrong and wrong.)
But for some of us, Christmas is NOT the most magical time of the year. It's a glitter-sprinkled month (or more) of extra stress or anxiety or frustration or *insert other annoying feelings here.*
Not only do you feel THAT, but you have the added irritation of people trying to MAKE you feel things you can't/won't/don't want to feel.
(People are serious about Christmas and they want you to be, too.)
I don't hate Christmas but I don't love it, either. It's hard for me every year.
The shopping stresses me out. I put a ton of pressure on myself to be done really early so I don't have to go out in December when the stores are crazy. (We have a gift system so I don't stress about how MANY gifts to buy, luckily.)
I had to go out for gift cards and a few final stocking stuffers last weekend and my anxiety was terrible, even though I went alone and tried to relax. I don't get that excited-and-happy Christmas buzz that others seem to get from a decorated mall playing cheerful holiday music. Nope, nope, NOPE.
I don't like routine changes so the "vacation" aspect of Christmas is difficult. I still have to work, but the kids are home (and totally nuts with excitement). Sometimes I don't have to work, but still feel that I should.
The visiting and travelling and scheduling make everything "off" for two solid weeks and, oh, did I mention THE BIG DRY NEEDLE-DROPPING THING THAT I AM SO TIRED OF STARING AT in our living room? I'm itching to put the room back to "normal" and if that makes me a Grinch, oh well.
Most of all, I think, I don't like the pressure and the build-up of ONE! BIG! DAY! because there is such a letdown when it's all over.
It's the biggest case of The Sunday Blues ever, times a million.
Even Christmas morning, after the presents are opened, I feel like it's all over. There are still hours left in the day, and dinner and visiting and everything, but my favourite part is seeing everyone open their gifts and stockings. When that's over, it's like ... Oh. Well. That's done for another year.
In exactly the same way I'm always desperate to see summer vacation come to an end, I'm looking forward to gettin' on with this season of joy and fudge and rumballs.
In the meantime, of course, I'm doing all of the baking and cleaning and prep work that you're supposed to be doing as an adult on Dec. 23. I'm changing the sheets for company and cleaning out the fridge and putting away the toys. I'm taking deep breaths and reminding myself no one will look at the state of the baseboards. (Please don't.)
I'm finishing my last few assignments (until Monday when I'll definitely be back in the office, clamouring to feel normal again). I'm taking deep breaths and reminding myself that it's OK to take a couple of days off, that everything has slowed down for a while, and that we will not be penniless if I step away from the keyboard.
I'm singing with the kids and helping D finish his latest Lego creation (mostly because we need the table back for Christmas dinner). I'm trying really hard to be patient with the kids + their constant chatter. I'm taking deep breaths and reminding myself that this is a really special time and I have to get into it.
I don't love Christmas but I'm trying. I'm trying for my kids and for my husband and for our families. I'm going to take my own chalkboard-ed advice and try to calm the eff down and enjoy it as much as I can.
I see you, too, not loving Christmas. I see the split-second flash of panic in your eyes when people ask that CONSTANT December question of "You ready for Christmas?" I see the eyerolls at the over-the-top merriment because you're just looking forward to a Netflix marathon (that sounds amazing BTW). I see the pressure to show everyone you're OK -- you're having a good Christmas, really! -- and no, you don't need to accept their pity invite.
We don't have to love Christmas. We don't even have to like it. But we should, however, figure out the things that are going to make it a good day for us.
For me, that's spending time with my family, eating mashed potatoes with gravy, playing board games, eating my mom's famous home fries for breakfast morning breakfast, and seeing everyone's faces as they open their presents.
(Yes, I also noticed that two of my favourite parts include potatoes.)
If you're not a Christmas-lover, don't feel guilty or like something is wrong with you. Do what you can to make it an OK day, whatever that means. Consider this a virtual fist-bump as we take lots of deep breaths and look forward to getting back to normal.