I want to know where the year went? How is it that there are just over 3 weeks left till Christmas? HOW I ask?!?!?
I am not a huge fan of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong I don’t actually hate it, I just don’t love it. I think the whole ideology behind it is quite beautiful. But Christmas is a grossly commercialized holiday that promotes greed and is permeated with a deep rooted sense of entitlement. It seems that at Christmas time nothing feels good enough, we must prove our love for others and prove our own self worth through the giving and receiving of material things. (So many people go deep into debt every Christmas only to spend the following year digging out of debt, just to repeat it all over again).
All the seasonal Christmas movies promote unrealistic ideals of Christmas parties, family joy, and Christmas “miracles” that real life most often cannot compete with. I wish it was all about love, family time, and wonderful home cooked meals that everyone enjoys and then happily join in to help clean up. But I find that this is not how it goes down no matter how much we plan for it.
Again don’t get me wrong I am not trying to be a downer, to be all “Bah Humbug” on joy and gifts and turkey dinner. But I truly feel it has become so overwhelming, so overdone. There is something to be said for small and intimate.
Perhaps some background is needed here? Growing up I was pretty poor… not dirt poor, we had food, clothes, shelter, we celebrated the holidays with gifts and a tree and all that jazz. But some of my best memories are baking and sewing and crafting with my mom making homemade goodie baskets for family and friends. Giant gingerbread cookies, bags of nuts and bolts, cookies, crafts, hand stitched dolls, etc.
My grandparents always went big at Christmas, they held a big dinner at their house, the whole extended family and any other relatives in town were there. The gifts were piled high under the tree. The only thing higher was the expectations. Which is the problem I have with it. Getting together was wonderful. Playing games was generally OK. Dinner was delicious. But even back then the expectations that were held by all and placed upon all, was killer.
As an adult and a parent I have been again pretty poor. Poor enough that I could in no way buy my kids the things their friends were getting and I know that my kids, although grateful for what they do get, have experienced the pangs of jealousy and even shame at Christmas time (Wow writing that hurts). My Ex would pretty much have a meltdown every holiday, especially Christmas. So I would need to keep things ‘happy’ and keep the wheels of life turning. It’s been hard. Now that we are separated I have to fight every year for him to commit to plans so I know who has kids when. And even then he changes things at the last minute, goes behind my back and makes plans with the kids, who don’t understand the manipulation going on, without consulting me.
Anyways Christmas for many, many reasons Christmas is not my favourite. Even though a part of me wants it to be. I long for the movie ideals, the carol sing-alongs, the games – with no fighting, the perfect dinner and the perfect family who all join in to help clean up after the fact. But I have resigned myself to the fact that those are pipe dreams. Real people, living real lives do not behave like that and it is cruel to place those expectations on the day, on myself, on those around me. By doing so I am just setting everyone up for the fall and great disappointments.
Christmas is messy, it’s overwhelming, it’s chaos. And yet I suppose there is some kind of magic to be found, if we can drop our expectations and just be, I think we may just find it.