I’ve always had mixed feelings about the holidays. I raised six children through many celebrating times – in great moments and in difficult ones. This year I have not decorated the house. I used to go overboard with designing and decorating rooms to make them as enchanting as possible. My two youngest will be leaving to visit their father after three years. This will be the first time I celebrate Christmas alone without children. In twenty-four years of raising youngsters it is the first holiday that will come and go and have no expecting face looking forward to “something” in the morning. I am more than fine with it. Truth be known, I am exhausted from the catering of a month that seems to be turned into a mass-media chaos of gift giving. The entire significance of these celebrations has been lost to past traditions.
I remember when I first watched, “Four Christmases,” with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. I thought, “These people have the right idea…running to an island to celebrate the holidays without having to cater to their crazy families.” (Even though they never got to leave their families) I think the concept is the perfect way of spending these stressful days.
This year I will be enjoying the seven days with quietness. I get to pick and choose who I will visit. I can take on my Christmas day tradition and go watch a marathon of new movies. I have no expectations. I am not depressed by the idea of this solitude. I will miss my kids…all of them. But, I do know that I will see them after the holidays. Santa Claus received my memo and he is static to have one less place to visit!
My father walked out of my life the day before Xmas when I was nine. He went to get a pack of cigarettes in the other side of the universe. Never returning for the festivities, I spent many Christmases in my youth waiting to see if he was going to show up around that time. Somehow I had programmed my little head that if he left in Christmas time he would also return during the season like some sort of festive-boomerang. Raising my children, an ex who hated the holidays, and making sure everything was just perfect sucked a giant space out of me every year. I would cringe when I started to see the holiday decorations in the stores right after Halloween. And now it seems that Christmas is starting even earlier.
The holidays shouldn’t be about stress. They should be about taking those precious moments of sharing, eating, relaxing and loving those close to you. They should be about gratitude, reflecting and spending time in a spiritual connection with others we love. We, as a society, have added so much strain into those days. Just go into any airport during the season and see people yelling, chaotic frenetic behavior, horrific energy everywhere, as they have to appear in some other location that will cause the inflation of any pharmaceutical drug stock on Wall Street to hit all time highs. Depression is on a rise during these days, and the entire experience of being with those we really don’t want to see is just depleting. It is what it is because we have created it. We have created a monster out of the holiday season while missing out on the importance of unity, community, and spirituality.
My children’s father will get to spoil these two teenagers after such a long absence. I am being spoiled by just the act of him having them. It is a precious gift this year. They need this time with him, finally. I need this time alone, finally. I love being home. I love waking up and having a bathroom to myself, clean kitchen and the quietness of my mountain home. And at the end of the seven days, I will be missing them and wanting them home ASAP. I will relish the laughter they will provide when they come home to their spaces.
The holidays need to go back to simplicity. We need to return to the moment of joining in each others’ presence and being present without the craziness of over indulging in material presents. Setting boundaries seem to go out the window during these times. I, for one, am ready to dive into a few new novels, some old movies, and the beauty of sharing with those I love. Have a great holiday season, my friends. My holiday strike is well deserved for this one time. I look forward to next year’s bombardment of decorations and chaos. For now I refuse to let the stress squander the real meaning of these days. Share, give and receive in spirit. Much love to you all…Millie!