My Trouble With The Holidays

We are late this year getting the holiday decorations up. Yesterday, we finally got our tree – a live one – bummed off some friends with a tree farm for a bottle of whiskey! Hey, it pays to know people! Right? Most of the tree farms have opened and already closed for the season. Today, I will fight with the lights to get them on the tree just right, invite my husband and boys to help hang the ornaments (which probably won’t happen), and by bedtime, maybe get around to putting some gifts under the freshly decorated tree.

I like the house once it’s decorated; the twinkling of the lights with soft Christmas music playing is a favorite scene for me. It is just the process of getting there that seems to take forever. All the other decorations are up and the tree is the very last thing to be done. I have done some baking and wrapped some gifts, as well as sent out packages to family, all of whom are out-of-town. So, it is not like I haven’t been getting ready for the season. It just always creeps up on me, no matter how well intended or organized I am.

The sad truth is that I do not really enjoy it. Our holidays are quiet and have been since we transplanted ourselves in the mid-west. At least nine of the last eighteen years, my husband worked Christmas (hospitals never close for the holidays).  We never travelled back to visit family during the holidays because I wanted our boys to wake up Christmas morning in their own beds. And, other than my sister-in-law, our families did not come here in the winter – holiday season or not. I have always wanted this to be different. You know, using my best china (and, I do have two sets – one from each of my grandmothers), fabulous food, festive music and merriment, all in a beautifully decorated home.  We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “put on” the type of celebrations we see in the media or house in our own heads. But, you know it really is not necessary.  And I am getting to the point of feeling like we really do not “have” to do it in the “suggested” way.

We are late this year with decorating. So What?!  Why should it even matter? Who does it matter to?  No one, actually. And, it shouldn’t really matter to me. But, as you can tell, it does. I am trying not to let it.  As I get decorations out each year I think I will put them away in a more organized fashion, but that never happens. When it is time to put them away, they just get put away.  I told my husband yesterday, as we went to get our tree, that next year I need to do this differently. Maybe earlier. Maybe not as much. Maybe a fake tree. I don’t know, specifically, but definitely, differently.

I do know that for years, like many other people, I have some problems leading up to and getting through the holidays. I try not to, but I do. I have acknowledged it long before now. It does seem less this year – other than the decorating lateness. Less is bothering me. I think it is because due to a health scare I experienced this fall, I have realized that there are more important things than the “perfect tree” or things finished by an arbitrary date that I have set in my head (the 10th, actually).  I am trying to keep it all in perspective. Some days are easier than others.

On to decorating……….


2 thoughts

  1. This is so important! I wish there was less pressure for people to celebrate in a certain way. My family is really small, so growing up I always had those thoughts that maybe I needed a bigger family to have a ‘proper’ christmas. It doesn’t bother me anymore though. Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

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  2. The holidays for me used to bring with it similar feelings and a real struggle with depression. I think those of us that left our families and moved away to start our own have similar emotional responses to the holidays. I just want to let you know that there is a constant evolution of discovering “What really matters” and you are on the right path to discover. Whenever I begin to ruminate on the sadness or empty feeling that the holidays or any other time may cause me to think that way, I remember I am the one who is the master of my feelings. I decide to be happy, to let go and create something new that truly has meaning to me. But first there are those years of self discovery when you pass through the pain. With a lot of positive thinking, reinforcement of what really matters it gets easier and the holidays lose their power over you to bring you down. Don’t forget, they are manmade holidays full of commercialism and marketing directed to make you buy into it all. If I had my way I would say that everyday should be treated as a holiday. Everyday you have your health, your loved ones and another chance to hug them just a little closer. As for the ones we’ve all lost, it’s a time to be grateful we knew them. For the ones we are estranged from it is an opportunity to reevaluate how important the thing that came between us actually was and if it’s time to forgive and let go or be happy be are away from the pain of the toxicity they brought to us. Just one day at a time, filled with gratitude and finding peace, you’ll be so full that you won’t need a fantasy, an illusion of a special day to be fulfilled to find joy. Peace, Love and Joy to you- may it surround you, and me and all of us. Thanks for the blog!

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