For most of my life, I hated Christmas – the holiday itself and all the “rules” that go with it. I never hated the meaning of Christmas. As far back as I can remember, Christmas was just another day my father could abuse us and it was an opportunity for him to be his best sadistic self.
However, at some point after everyone had departed this planet in their physical form, I thought “why the heck am I still defining MY Christmas by my fears of yesteryears?
I get to recreate and make Christmas happen anyway I want it to happen. I am in charge of my life today, my memories are not in charge. How many people recreate, – or try to recreate – the Christmas of their childhood – good, OR bad?
It is never too late to recreate. For many years, I simply do whatever comes to my mind each year. Most years are different from the previous years. Sometimes if it is really fun, I will do it again. The important thing for me is no traditions, no “have to” for that is what (in my observation) seems to cause the most stress. People trying to make it happen like it is “supposed to be” year after year. What if? What if it did not “have to” be like last year? Meaning, it can be but if it doesn’t “have to” be, then it is way less stressful. Many folks are not recreating what they want, they are recreating what their grandmother and their mother did. It seems to me they often do not even stop for a moment to decide if it is what they want. It is a completely different situation than doing the same thing every year because you want to. Wanting to, and having to, are two completely different scenarios.
Today, I want my Christmas to be about love and giving, not about the decorations, and the traditions of all the years before. It can be the same but it does not “have to be” the same. I really think it is the “have to” that creates the stress. Just my observation. Christmas is such a sweet time, I have never understood why it should be, or is, so stressful for so many. Have you ever stopped for a moment to ask yourself, why? What if you made a list of what you like and what you do not like about Christmas time and everything that goes on around it and about it?
Let me share the traditions that were “have to” in my childhood home.
Normally, on every day of the years except Christmas, my father got up very early – before anyone else – and drank his coffee is solitude. But on Christmas morning, he stayed in bed late, getting up around 9 am. My little sister and I would quietly stare at the tree after looking at what Santa brought us. Santa gifts were never wrapped. However, we could only see without glee. We were too afraid to make a sound because if we awakened father, there would be hell to pay in the form of a beating for me and a punishment for my sister.
So we waited for father to come out of his room.
We also needed to be fully dressed prior to his entrance. Then he would pour his coffee and then we would have to wait for mother to cook breakfast which was after they drank their coffee. If we got too excited and begged to open our presents, they would take longer.
Finally, after breakfast was consumed and dishes and kitchen were clean, it was time! Yay! But not so fast.
Father passed out the gifts one at a time. We all had to wait until each person opened their gift, and no ripping the paper off. We had to gently undo the paper and take it carefully off, fold up the paper and place in the trash and then…… open the gift. By that time, I was rarely ever excited which in that home was a good thing. We were not allowed to express too much emotion. We must show appreciation but without any overt expression of excitement and/or joy.
I remember years later visiting his home and watching a football game with, I yelled out a “YES!!” when my team scored a touchdown and he sternly inquired, “Is that necessary?”
I replied, “Are you serious?” And I left his home.
But that is a snap shot of my life in my father’s house (never allowed to call it “my house”). He busted me once when I was in high school about the “house” word. He overheard me asking a friend if she would like to come over to my house. He screamed, “it is not your house! It is my house and don’t you ever forget it!” My friend said, “I think I will pass.”
Today, after I have gone around town and delivered presents, I enjoy the solitude and the silence of my own home. I have done the decoration thing – for many years doing something completely different each year with the tree, including one year using only decoration I made.
I enjoy the freedom and creativity of choosing a new plan each year. Others are not always so happy with my choices and I find that interesting. They have never even been to my house and most likely never will and yet they fell obligated to tell me how I should celebrate and/or decorate for the holiday. Too funny.
Some have told me I do “not have a Christmas Spirit” after I tell them I do not have a tree.
I know many people with trees who act like a grinch!
I might even have more Christmas Spirit because I am not grumpy that nothing is turning out like last year. LOL.
I do not have any real opinions about the relationship others have to Christmas, I simply bass my comments on what I hear people say. I hear a lot because I cut hair in a salon (I know, that says it all).
It is never too late to recreate. Create your dream. Create a new life.
Create the life you want…… rather than the life you think you are supposed to have.