It’s that time of year again. The time when we are bombarded by a mountain of advertisements touting the “must” have gifts of the season, when we are faced with a near endless supply of cheesy Christmas movies to watch, and many of us frantically try to decide what to wear to the office holiday party. In Christmas’ past, I have worked myself up into a frenzy trying to mail out Christmas cards in time to arrive to before Christmas day, have shopped for a gift or two, watched a couple of cheesy Christmas movies, and have cranked up the volume on Handel’s “Hallelujah.” This Christmas, nothing, zip, nada, zero. I haven’t addressed one Christmas card, shopped for any gifts, listened to anything sounding remotely like Handel’s “Hallelujah,” and yesterday afternoon I pulled the plug on a cheesy Christmas movie. All signs point to tis’ being the season I opt out of Christmas. Subconsciously, I think I opted out of Christmas far in advance of the now 6 days left until its arrival. If it wasn’t for all of the shopping channels I get sucked into watching when I hibernate at home, it honestly wouldn’t have registered into my mind that Christmas is only 6 days away. My Christmas spirit gone bye, bye this year isn’t a case of the Grinch stealing my Christmas, and no, you will not hear one bah humbug out of this girl. My mother having been ill for a good majority of the year, culminating in her death in June, along with having the life and soul’s blood choked out of me on a near daily basis at an uninspiring and un-fulfilling job has no doubt led to this “meh” attitude towards Christmas. I know that it is not entirely fair to couch Christmas in terms of the external forces that have wrecked havoc on my life, but I am human and from time to time the external will creep into the internal. It would be ideal if I could set aside my feelings of hurt and stress long enough to revel in the decorations and good will toward men, but that simply will not be the case this year and I am at peace with that reality.
Even though I will not be decking any halls this Christmas, I will be enjoying some much desperately needed time off from work. Assuming no stray ornaments or Christmas trees land on my head, on Christmas day I hope to cuddle up with some hot apple cider, warm blankets, some can’t wait to read books and articles. Also on the agenda is to hopefully draft some more blog posts and check out the billion and one websites I have bookmarked on my laptop. I don’t know how many of the things I’ve planned myself during Christmas will come to light, but if even one of these things happens, I will be over the moon with joy. My goal is to distance myself from all of the hoopla surrounding Christmas that I am just not into this year and instead carve out time to decompress and enjoy the simple things in my life. If there is someone in your life that is not feeling Christmas this season, please give them the time and the space that they need to work out whatever it is that they need to work out. Don’t cast your version of the “perfect” Christmas on anyone else, don’t harangue them to participate in Christmas activities and events. Coming to an authentic place of healing requires not only time, but the ability to be honest with oneself and others.
May I encourage anyone who is feeling less than jolly this Christmas to try to find at least a few minutes of solitude during the day or night, indoors or outdoors. Do not allow yourself to feel bad about not living up to others expectations when it comes to Christmas. You are not obligated to be the picture of what others deem to be appropriate Christmas behavior, whether that behavior stems from a secular or religious viewpoint. Don’t worry, Christmas will be here when you are ready to come back.