I am all about tradition. This time of year, I love being smacked across the face by twinkling lights, the smell of that douglas fir, carols on the radio and the giving of magical gifts. From the time the air starts feeling like Christmas, I'm pretty grossly full of holiday cheer.
But here's the deal, holidays pretty much suck now.
I mean, they aren't a total drag, but once upon a time I had the family life people dreamed of. Two loving parents, a kid brother, a dog, a unifying faith to carry us through anything...it sounds sickening, but I loved my life. It felt happy and all was right with the world.
Flash forward to current day and I'm an only child with a dysfunctional family (sure, everyone's a little dysfunctional) trying to stuff the grief that has become the air we breathe deep down inside. I hate to sound like the Grinch, but it's not Christmas cheer we're breathing anymore.
Not a day that goes by is easy, but some sure are harder than others. The holidays, they're always hard. There's this big emphasis on family and togetherness and those of us without a family, or with missing pieces in our family get lost in the cracks.
Good tidings are being handed out like Christmas cookies, but here I am watching all the holly jolly from the outside of this snow speckled globe. Some of that is because I'm still learning how to build my new narrative, learning how to celebrate holidays on my own terms with these new missing pieces. Some of it is because our culture doesn't know how to appropriately acknowledge grief and suffering, especially during what is supposed to be the "best time of year".
So if you're having a hard time this holiday season and you just can't seem to get on board with all the "deck the halls" business, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there's nothing wrong with not having a holiday at all. And there's nothing wrong with having a holiday that doesn't feel like holiday or act like a holiday. Despite the tidal wave that is Christmas in our culture, you do not have to be merry if you don't feel merry.
Just in case you needed to hear it from someone else who's a little less-than-merry.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.