It seems to me that every year Christmas is appearing earlier. This year it was the day after Halloween. It used to be right around Thanksgiving. The stores would begin decorating. The radio stations would start playing 24 hours of Christmas music. Next year it will be right after Labor Day. In two years it will be after the 4th of July.
My fiancé and I were going to the movies the weekend of Halloween and I was searching for music on the radio since I left my IPOD at home. When the tune began to evolve into Christmas melody I quickly changed it and said, “Nooooo! Gosh, I wish I could skip this holiday season all together.”
Matt asked me why I hated Christmas so much. I was taken aback. I decorated last year for him being our first Christmas together. I have always gone above and beyond in my homes. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy it but I faked it pretty well. My children never spent a holiday without the appearance of a winter wonderland at home with magic in every room. In my huge house in Florida I had several trees with themes. One was kept throughout Easter. After Christmas I took everything down and decorated it with hearts for Valentine’s Day, then immediately switched to St. Patrick’s Day ornaments and finally eggs and sweetness for Easter. Matt’s question took me off guard as I was witnessing a beautiful mountain day. Did I really hate Christmas? Why hadn’t I ever thought of it that way?
I have disliked Christmas since 1977. On the 23rd of December we were gathered at a family’s house celebrating and my father went out to get cigarettes…I’m still waiting for his return. Every Holiday season after that I hoped he appeared like St. Nick. Rationalizing that longing or reasoning makes no sense to me now as an adult but the ego and psyche are sometimes irrational beings. Just because he left in Christmas doesn’t mean he would return on it. After nine years, at the age of 18, I left home, and found him in Puerto Rico. I spent two days with him realizing it wasn’t me that made him run. It was him. I visited him several times and kept in touch with him until I was in my thirties when he died from cancer. My dad was 54 years old when I was born. The man I saw throughout the years went from a 6-1” frame to a tiny sick version of a man. My heart broke each time for the loss of his mind, body, and spirit. But, Christmas still must go on regardless of the depth that has finally released with a simple question from my mate.
For the first time ever, Matt’s questioning made me fully aware of why I disliked the joyfulness of the holiday. I cringe at the melodies, the in-your-face-too-early propaganda of commercialization. The real meaning of Christmas has been gone since I was a kid. I don’t see the gathering of loved ones without the stress. I don’t witness the handmade cards, thoughtful and loving presents. Christmas, and all the work in entails in a home, is lost in some form of materialistic translation.
This year I would like to skip it just like I wish I could every year, but our grand-daughter is with us. She will be a year old on New Year’s Day. The lack of space in our small home is daunting but we will find a place for twinkling lights and ornaments.
For the first time in a long time I left the Christmas music playing in the car yesterday while running errands. I moved through the uncomfortable parts. I sat there holding tightly to the stirring wheel. “I can do this. It’s okay. I am not a scrooge. I can love this season and all that it brings. I am blessed for all that comes with the love of my family and friends.” In the end it is about magic, hope, grace, and peace. The little girl in me is finally coming to terms with a lifelong hidden awareness….and that’s an incredible rewarding Christmas gift this year. May you find the joy in this season and the love for the child in you!