Hate, despise, loathing, and dislike are all strong words but that is truly how I felt about Christmas for many years.
I was 9 years old when my dad died in November and Christmas was very different that year. A mountain of presents flowed out from under our Christmas tree, more than I had ever seen before. I was in awe of all of my brand new Barbie dolls and accessories. I was given everything that Barbie could possibly need.
But then something happened. The next year there were less presents and the following year, even less. After my dad died we stopped going to church. Christmas had changed and I resented the change. I began to wonder what the point of Christmas even was.
Sure, as a teenager I liked receiving presents but I craved much more than a pretty wrapped box with a bow. I wanted my dad. I sulked with typical teenage angst combined with not knowing what I should do or feel. Christmas brought on a lot of emotions for me and each and every year it was a confusing time.
I started working in retail when I was 17 and I became disgusted with the way people behaved once December rolled in. Someone had a break down in front of me and cried because we ran out of a product and their daughter would be mad at her for not getting it. A husband handed me a $100 bill and told me to pick a gift basket for his wife and he had no idea what she would like. He just needed something to put under the tree.
I saw the slave that commercialism made people into and I vowed to not be a part of it. This became a new layer of hate for Christmas.
My ex-boyfriend was a single father with two children and I celebrated four Christmas seasons with them. I spent time with two little children who were constantly full of wonder and amazement. I returned to the innocent place of my childhood where the magic of Christmas rang once again and my perception of Christmas and what it meant to me started to change.
I bought a small Christmas tree for their apartment and we decorated it with homemade ornaments and hung up Christmas crafts all over the walls. I shopped for special gifts that I knew they would appreciate and love and not just something to fill the space under the tree. Christmas became special.
I am thankful that my family has traditions that we love. I am truly blessed this time of the year. I have family and friends to celebrate with, a home to decorate, and the ability to donate food and gifts so others can have a special Christmas as well.
This is the first year in a long, long time though that I am not feeling the Christmas spirit. I am having a hard time putting my finger on what exactly is bothering me and why I am not jiving with the jingle bells this year. Maybe I have succumb to the rush of the season that I vowed to not be a part of.
I am thinking of attending a Christmas Eve church service. I have gone a number of times over the years to church, during the year and at Christmas. I find a sense of comfort sitting in the pews, singing hymns, and listening to the sermon. I don’t identify with any one religion and there are views and ideas in the Christian faith that I don’t agree with but I still feel drawn at times to go.
I think attending church on Christmas Eve is a good choice for me. A simple, small church not too far away. It will be a soothing way to end the year and let go of the stress that I have been carrying this month.
If it existed, a restorative yoga class complete with meditation on Christmas Eve would be really nice but since there is not (and I have looked) church and singing hymns feels right.