Christmas is everywhere. The holiday lights, the parties, the work get-togethers, the gift giving. Ugh. I’m not that revved up about the holidays. I’ve spent a lot of years as a single, and the holidays are hard on singles. Like stab you in the heart kind of hard.
I often think back to a few Christmases, when I was at the City’s tree lighting ceremony with a friend. I stopped to chat with an acquaintance who was pushing her newborn son in a stroller. I stopped to coo over her son and catch up a little bit with her. To my shock, she said something along the lines of, “you don’t have to pretend that you are interested in my son, I know you are happy to not have kids.” Ouch.
I was a little less than six months out from an incredibly painful divorce, and a marriage where the choice to not have children was made for me. She didn’t know about any of that. I tried to laugh off her comment (as it wasn’t worth correcting her on my personal details), but it felt like a slap in the face. To be surrounded by all those families and holiday cheer, and to never have had that be an option for me was hard. Really hard.
People have trouble with the holidays for any number of reasons. Maybe they lost a loved one and are grieving. Maybe they are alone. Maybe they have anxiety and all of those social functions seem impossible. For whatever reason, they just don’t feel in the mood to deal with it.
I’ve had years where I have been more enthusiastic about the holidays. Some years I decorate; some years I don’t. Some years I have even hosted some sort of holiday get together. I have never been someone who gets overly thrilled about Christmas. I long for the day when I can just travel this time of year, and opt-out of the festivities.
This year I’m ambivalent – a solid neutral on the holidays. I’ll be in the hospital on Christmas this year, and of course I will let you know how that goes. I’m fortunate that I have people who love me and support me, no matter where I’m parked on the holiday. And next year is going to be awesome!
So go easy on those of us who have a hard time with Christmas. You may love all the “merry and bright,” the music, the lights, the artificial cheer, but be gentle with those who don’t.