I’ve never been a big fan of the Christmas season. Oh, there are things I like about the holiday. I like the lights, and the food, and the time spent with family, but all the shopping, shipping, and stressing about gifts and cooking is just more time spent away from the things I enjoy doing for me.

Instead of giving in to disappointment, I’m trying to think of these weeks as time outside of time, a break from productivity and passions to get a little perspective before the new year begins. It’s helping, but I miss my books, my journal, my blog, my courses. I miss sitting and silence.

‘Tis the season for giving of the self, I know, but with the pandemic and so much of life and tradition put on hold or cancelled entirely, it’s hard to get into a festive mood and a half holiday or less hardly feels worth the effort.

I don’t mean to be a grinch. I wish the season found me in better spirits, but this year has been too hard on me—too hard on us all!—and I can’t seem to find my holiday cheer, or perhaps it can’t find me. My hope is that come Christmas morning when all that stress is behind me and there is nothing left but to enjoy good food and time with family, I’ll finally find the Christmas spirit that eludes me now.

I was up before the sun again but my wife joined me shortly after so we could Facetime the nieces and nephews and watch them open their gifts together and then head to brunch at my mother’s house to open gifts with our in town family.

As much as I love my family and enjoy giving and sharing joy with them, I’m looking forward to a quiet Christmas dinner just the two of us. We’re cooking together, our new holiday tradition. On the menu is lamb again, like on Thanksgiving, but this time with a new recipe, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, lots of wine, and a raspberry mousse cake for dessert. I’m very excited.

But until then I’ll have to feign the holiday spirit. I’m not feeling well still and Christmas day has always been a holiday tinged with some anxiety and sadness for me. Coming from a broken home and a dysfunctional family meant missing the family that couldn’t be there and fighting with the family that was. Coming from poverty meant feeling guilt for whatever gifts you got and shame for your angry over what you didn’t.

Of course, life it different now, but our childhood selves never leave and they never grow and we carry their pain with us too. To that little girl in me: I’m sorry. It gets better. I’m here and this Christmas will be better than one you ever knew with love and warmth and safety. Merry Christmas. I love you.


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