It is December 23, 2018. I’m sitting here on this Sunday morning drinking my coffee, listening to Christmas music, and trying to find that holiday spirit. Christmas is just 2 days away and it just feels like any other day.
I’ve had moments in the past when I just didn’t feel up to the holiday season because of the depression and anxiety. This year has been really different for me because the depression and anxiety aren’t there.
In our family, the holiday season started with Halloween and it continued on through the New Year. Constantly busy with the family get-together, birthday parties in-between everything, food, and merriment. This was before I changed it 4 years ago when I separated from my marriage, my parents and sisters. It has been slowly on the decline. I don’t know what my parents and sisters plus their families do now since we are no longer involved. I think that’s a part of the problem but my family continued on creating our own traditions. It has always been about my own children for me. They are the ones that I want to have a good time and create memories.
This year the kids are much older and developing their own lives now. I see that dynamic of us being together for the holidays beginning to change. I guess I wasn’t really ready for it but I knew it would eventually get here. In my mind’s eye, I still see them as my little kids needing to have this big dramatic Christmas full of toys, food, and celebration. So the amount of activity level that would be required hasn’t been necessary. The kids are happy with buying gifts for each other. It’s been simple and very calm. Even our tree this year was the tree my daughter brought from her college dorm room. I was more than happy to let her set it up because I didn’t need to drag out the artificial tree, ornaments, and lights.
Yet, despite that there is less stress for me now, I actually kind of miss it. I was recently talking with my supervisor at work about the task he assigned to me of sending out Christmas cards to our program partners in our community. I told him about how I used to love sending out Christmas cards every year and he asked why I stopped? I told him I’m not really sure but deep down inside I knew why but didn’t want to tell him.
I got married in 1997 after a very short courtship and engagement. I was a single mom with two kids when I met my future husband. He wasn’t from the US originally and grew up in a different culture. The first year we celebrated Christmas was a blend of his traditions and mine as well. It was really nice. I had the house all decked out with Christmas decorations, sent out Christmas cards, and he put up lights something I had always wanted. That changed the 2nd year and to this day I don’t really know what happened.
The 2nd year I went to put up the Christmas decorations which included old Christmas cards that I had from my grandparents, relatives, and friends from previous years. He came home that evening and started arguing about the decorations. Then I was accused of putting out Christmas cards from my “old lovers”. I was so upset, I took everything down. It was the last time I decorated the house for the holidays. So the only thing that I could really decorate was the tree. That’s the year I started the tradition of buying a new ornament for each of my children which is something we still do except this year. This year, I am still in the middle of catching up the bills and didn’t have the money to buy anything but they may do it themselves.
So because of that moment of sadness, I stopped my own traditions. I had a part of who I was squashed by someone else’s ego and pride. I don’t know what happened that day and I never asked. He tried to apologize but it was too late for me. I never saw him the same way again. It changed how I felt and it carried through the years.
The only year I decorated was the year after I separated from him in 2015 and was living on my own. I had asked for the Christmas tree and ornaments so I could put it up since the kids would be with me. He said no and it started an argument. He was so adamant about it and I didn’t know why since he disliked putting up the tree. My kids and I had done it every year previously. I didn’t have that much money but then we received a Christmas bonus of $50 at my workplace. So I went and bought the cheapest artificial tree I could find, some decorations, and lights. I made the apartment that I was living in as festive as possible. It wasn’t what I really wanted, my heart desired more but I knew it wasn’t possible.
He passed away before Christmas in 2016 and we were still in mourning so I wasn’t sure how the kids felt about celebrating that year. So I dragged out the tree, the boxes of lights and ornaments then we went to buy more. It was the most decorated tree that I think I’ve ever had in my life. I bought so many things that year for them the tree was overflowing with gifts. That was when we also started the new tradition of them buying gifts for each other. We continued with the new ornaments for each but it changed to them picking out the ornament instead of me. We had some really unusual things on the tree that year but they had fun.
So this year is one of transition once again. Everyone is having to manage their finances for school or living expenses. I have only been at my new job for 5 months now and still getting my finances back on track. There is a tree, presents under the tree but this year it is not about being constantly on the go and shopping all the way up until Christmas Eve. It has slowed way down and is calm. They are in good spirits and look forward to spending time with each other. The way it should be.
In my heart, I still desire the big Christmas tree full of decorations or a color theme. I want a festive house full of decorations. I want a fabulous light display outside of my home with snow on the ground. I want presents spilling out from under the tree decorated with fabulous wrapping paper and bows. I want to find that perfect Christmas card to send out to family and friends. I want lots of food, desserts, drinks, and music to keep the celebration going well into the New Year. That’s the ideal in my mind.
Then I remember this time of year isn’t really about what we get from others it’s what we give to others. I gave my children good memories. I hear them laughing and discussing it at times. So maybe next Christmas I will fulfill my heart’s desire. It is, after all, another new year.
Thank you for stopping by.
Thank you for the support this past year with the likes and comments. I really appreciated it.
Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you and yours!!