This year, I decided not to celebrate Christmas. At least, not the way I used to in the past years.
For the past six years, I would host several Christmas parties every year, listen to the music starting in November, buy all the holidays related shit I could find, I needed to own it. I was watching all the Christmas movies I could find, Hallmark ones and all. It was an obsession. I wanted to succeed at Christmas. I would have done everything to have this Christmas Magic feeling back, only for a minute. Holding it and never letting go. Only to be disappointed once more every year. Nothing could even compete with this level of expectation. Christmas came with this mix of dread, hope and disappointment. This massive source of stress and expectations, ending the holidays emotionally and physically exhausted and sad. Usually followed by the winter months of depression.
I had been reflecting on the moment this Christmas Magic feeling vanished for me lately. I can almost certainly pin it back to the year my grand-mother died, 14 years ago. Christmases were never the same after. I just only realized this, all those years later. Ever since, I have been chasing these feelings of amazement, sparkles, being swiped off your feet. Moments that would leave you breathless, full of wonder, grateful. I know I will never see my grand-mother again, but I think a part of me died when she did. Now, it is up to me to make this holiday my own.
This year, due to several circonstances, I decided to not celebrate. I tuned it down to minimum, mostly on my expectations. No gifts, no decorations, limited parties. Very low dose of Christmas music, which I realize really just makes me feel sad for now. Same goes for Christmas movies, especially Hallmark or romantic related ones. I see this as a break. Perhaps, one day, I will find a new meaning to this Christmas Magic; have healthier expectations, closer to reality. But for now, it is easier to take a step back from this collective madness that can be Christmas, with the holiday stress of diners, gifts giving, overspending, and just focus on the present time.
I used to think that you could win or fail at Christmas. I valued this holiday above all the others. I wanted to be the Christmas Queen. It was the time of the year where I HAD to be happy and spread the cheers. Giving a lot of presents, homemade gifts, thoughtful cards. I focused so much on making it perfect, looking everywhere for a feeling that doesn’t exist, that I ended up missing everything. I would feel resentment at times, sadness and unfilled needs I couldn’t identify at others. I don’t want to become bitter, become a Grinch. I just want to be happy.
I wish everyone happy holidays, may they be jolly and bright, whatever it means to you. Whether you are lonely or working or away during this period, remember that you are not alone. It is a time to reflect on the past year and the one to come. Spend it with the ones you care for and that love you as you are. It doesn’t have to be your blood family. And if you don’t feel safe celebrating this year, it’s okay to take a break, skip parties, not giving gifts. You don’t owe anymore. Take care of yourself first. This is the best gift you could ever give yourself.
– Cynical Mermaid.