Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blue Christmas

Now that it is officially the Christmas season, I have a confession to make.

I am not that fond of this particular holiday. One reason is my estrangement with my father, which makes the season bittersweet and emotionally tiring.

In fact, when I sing carols, I sing "Deck the halls with Melancholy, fa la lala lalala there's no way I can be jolly..." which always earns me a "tsk tsk" from my husband.

He loves the holiday, so I try very hard to be joyful for him. I don't complain about the tree (if not for him I wouldn't bother) or the wrapping or the cards or the decorating. I do my best to get into it but I usually have at least one meltdown.

When I was a child the holiday was a time of great strife. My parents fought like insane rabid wolves this time of the year; I suppose they were cooped up in the house together too much. When your parents are yelling and throwing things at one another, it does not make for anything other than great trepidation. Certainly it does not lead to much in the way of anticipation when you're more worried if Dad will still be there in the morning than if Santa is coming.

It is cold and I worry a lot about folks who don't have a lot of money. I just know they are suffering.

Also, there is all of this crass commercialism and gimme gimme and I want I want I want, which I find to be a downer. I love to buy things for other people, or make things for them (I make pounds and pounds of fudge and give it away; I do enjoy doing that). But I really dislike being told "I expect this from you" unless I have specifically asked.

My husband has to work Christmas Eve this year. That day has always had more importance to me than the actual Christmas Day, and I enjoy going to the community Christmas service with him. That won't be happening this year.

I won't grumble about it again and from here on you'll probably think I just adore Christmas. I think it is a very sad holiday, though, and I hope I and others remember that many folks get the blues this time of year.

14 comments:

  1. I used to have to work the holidays. I never minded Christmas Day since I didn't have any particular celebration to be at, but I did mind working Christmas Eve...for the same reason: I like going to the candle-light service.

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  2. I confess, I'm feeling rather blue myself too. In fact I lost it twice yesterday, crying uncontrollably while trying to decorate, listening to Christmas carols which just filled me with such sadness and bittersweet memories that I had to shut the radio off. I decided to just go to bed around 8:30 and spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and trying not to let anyone hear me sniffling. I'm hoping I'll snap out of it...

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  3. I think it is the disconnect between the fantasy of wholesome families, happiness, and the desire for emotional warmth and the dysfunctional reality that most of us live in that drives this "blueness". Perhaps it would be better if we focused on others instead of ourselves during this holiday season. As an example, I'm going to a Christmas morning breakfast at a dear friend's house. The price of admission? A toy for a homeless child. Here is one site, among many, as a suggestion of where to start:

    http://www.helpothers.org/

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  4. Awwwwwww.......

    But hey, you have the right to feel how you want about any holiday.

    My parents were so not into it. It was mostly that decorating took so much effort, and that my Dad was not cheery in that respect.

    I actually won't go home for Christmas now because of those reasons. My Mom has to come here. I decorate, bake, celebrate and do crafts. We are gift lite, but do so much other parts of it. Shan

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  5. Your post really struck a nerve with me .... take a look at this site and let me know your reaction:

    http://www.ithaca.edu/students/breynol1/index.html

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  6. I'm really sorry that the Christmas season is a difficult time for you. I can certainly understand your feelings. I, too, sometimes feel that way because of my own extended family estrangement, which I feel very sad about. But I try to focus on the very simple, good things about the holiday. Like you, I bake lots of goodies to share with friends and family, and there is something about that simple act of preparing food with love that makes me feel better.

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  8. It's usually not my favorite either but you just gotta spend time with the ones you love and it helps! Cheer up! At least the year is almost over.....

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  9. I understand exactly where you are coming from. My childhood experiences affect me like that, too. I was just saying today I can't wait until the holidays are over because it's so hard to get anywhere near the stores. Maybe you could try a little extra pampering or a special getaway with your husband. Give yourself something to look forward to, even if it has nothing to do with the holidays. Me, I just bake my head off. I love that part!

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  10. Last year, was the first year I ever remember feeling blue during Christmas. I didn't want a tree (it would just make a mess and die), I didn't want to shop (and spend money we didn't have) and I really, really didn't want to leave the house. I was just tired of it all.

    With expectation, comes disappointment.

    This year, I've already got another parttime job so that I can spend my own money and not use my credit card. I've employed my kids to help clean and I've tried to keep that blasted TV turned off, so that I don't get sucked into it.

    And that's what little I've battled with warm and fuzzy memories from my childhood. I couldn't imagine having to participate in holiday celebrations that you never really knew from childhood. I'm so sorry.

    I know THAT must be so difficult.

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  11. Yep - totally relate to that. When you carry a broken heart from shattered family relationships Christmas is a trying time. My Dad never paid me much attention either. As difficult as this time of year is, I've found something that really helps. I seek out folks that DO need me. I've found that when I invest myself in their lives, then it actually helps my heart heal. I'm not healed yet...and I don't know if I'll ever be completely over it, but I've found that it does ease the pain. Funny, that's what Christmas is all about. Christ came to bring us hope and peace. When we give that gift to others, we receive it too.

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  12. I’m so very sorry Christmas is a bad time. I just read this here after I made a post joking about people complaining of Christmas. For that I’m sorry because there are people who are really affected by Christmas. I wish, I hope that maybe one day you can carve a little niche defining your very own Christmas (along with your lovely sounding husband), then all those bad memories of Christmas will melt away and you will be left with your wonderful type of Christmas.

    Here is a little exercise, if you are interested, close your eyes but not all the way (so you can still see a little bit), squinting I guess is the word, erase, try to erase all the Christmases of the past out of your mind, and look, look real good at the all the beauty of present day Christmas, all the golds, silvers, reds, greens, and blues, and outside, and the crisp winter (soon to be winter) air, and the deer, and the pine trees, and your husband, and allow yourself to be seduced by it all, intoxicated. Suddenly it all becomes another type of Christmas, not like the one that people are out there demanding and yelling and pushing down doors for sales and turning up their noses at this or that, instead it will be yours, yours alone, what you make of it.

    I'm sorry if I cannot find the words to make you feel better. I do wish you great joy.

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  13. You all are very kind and I greatly appreciate the comments and kind words.

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  14. Christmas time does have a lot of stress in general. I don't like the rat race feeling it can take on. I try to focus on simple things. Like looking at the stars or sitting quiet and looking at the lights. I'm sorry you're going to miss the only part you liked.

    Good choice for the soundtrack.

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