I haven’t looked up any statistics on this, but I’d guess most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to the Christmas holiday season – love it 🥰 or hate it 😡. There probably aren’t a lot of people who are “ok either way”😬.
As a child, Christmas, and to a lesser extent, New Year’s Eve, was a magical time when my family of modest means found a way to bake, decorate, and celebrate in memorable ways. It wasn’t perfect, and there were not a lot of expensive gifts under the tree, but those that were there were appreciated. As an adult, I still look back fondly, am grateful for the memories, and wish I could continue on with some sort of happy holiday traditions with those I love.
<here’s where this post takes a turn, sorry 🤦♀️>
Unfortunately, among the deceptions committed by H early in our relationship was to feign enjoyment in celebrating holidays and gift-giving. Just two months after we met, he drove four hours to deliver many thoughtful gifts to me and spend Christmas with my family. I thought it was amazing that he was willing to skip his own family’s traditions to be with me and mine. (If only I’d known…)
He kept it all up for a few years, but eventually lost interest, and I found holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries to be “just another day” for him and sadly disappointing for me. He would say “don’t get me anything” and was incredibly anxious leading up to the day, which, you know, isn’t very much fun for anyone.
Thirty years later, and after lots of therapy, I now understand that he actually despises holidays, family gatherings, and receiving gifts, but understanding the reasons why doesn’t make it easier for me to accept. Sometimes it feels unfair. And sad.
I don’t ask for much, and I can and often do buy things for myself. Gift giving in itself is not so important, although I could enjoy it, with the right person. It’s not “things” that I want or need. It’s the experience that I crave – being able to enjoy Christmas songs while riding in the car, putting up decorations, wrapping gifts – every year, I do all of these things alone. H has no interest, or more accurately, loathes any and all of it. And to do it alone is kind of pointless.
Work and other obligations kept me close to home this month rather than being able to spend time with my family, and maybe that’s what I’m really missing.
Last week, for some reason that I’ve been unable to decipher, we took a little day trip to see an extensive Christmas lights display, at H’s suggestion. It was fun and beautiful, and I don’t know if it’s a hint at what’s yet to come as H continues to grow into maturity, or if this is all there is…is patience the key here, or will I just be let down in the end?
Anyway, I woke up this morning to iPhone videos from my siblings’ family celebrations (a few hundred miles from me) and that, along with the usual tension from H about Christmas was just too much. (He actually expressed relief, while still in bed at 8:30 am this morning, that “Christmas is over” since we’d survived dinner with his mother last night.” OK, then. 😬)
I haven’t cried in a while, but today I spent most of the morning in tears, curled up on the couch with Girl Dog. These are not the feels I was hoping for. Merry Christmas, indeed. 😕
I know that this is on me – if I want to feel joy, it’s up to me to do things that bring joy. What I know is that I need more than I have today. How and what will I change to ensure next year doesn’t go down in tears? I’ve gotta do something differently.