My mental health does not take a holiday over the Christmas season and in fact, it gets worse. My dad died in November when I was nine years old and even though that was many years ago, the experience was formative with how I view the Christmas season. I have a strong love hate relationship with this time of the year.
We are bombarded with commercialism, expectations rise, and our day to day schedules go into over drive. People run around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s not even like Christmas is just a week. It is two fucking months of celebration!
Christmas doesn’t make me holly and jolly and it isn’t the best time of the year. It stresses me the fuck out. Plain and simple. With the lack of sunlight added in, the whole holiday season drives me bat-shit crazy.
The day of Christmas has very little meaning to me and so why have I allowed myself to become so miserable? The answer my dear readers is to please others and to do what is expected of me. It takes a lot of hard work to get through the season and there is a lot of swearing involved.
I’m not a complete Scrooge or Grinch though. I do have some joy in my cold, Christmas heart. I’ve created meaningful traditions for my little family to look forward to.
One of my favourite traditions is our Groovy Elf, Noelle. She occasionally hides and does silly things, however; she’s mainly sat in our holiday birch tree this year. Noelle recently helped gift snowshoes to Calista to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
We have celebrated the Winter Solstice with a gathering for nine years. Truthfully, I did not want to host this year. I literally had zero desire to clean before and after the party, prep food, deal with left-overs, and wonder who would show up. I did not want to feel further drained than I already do.
My husband suggested that we spend the morning outdoors and have lunch around the fire. We would invite a few people for lunch and whoever showed up, showed up. Very little stress and pressure. And, that is exactly what we did…
The weather turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! Mother Nature had my back. She knew what was up.
I drank a hot cup of coffee, wrote in my journal, and read a few pages of a book while Calista wondered off wearing her new snowshoes. She discovered Bird Village, a spot in the bush where there are bird feeders. She was occupied in that little area, just her and the birds, for an unusually long time. I was actually impressed that she didn’t come back a few minutes later asking what we were going to do next.
Calista and I headed off for a hike once I was done my coffee and Darcy stayed to tend to the fire. With the temperature hovering around -6°C and the sun shining, I walked without my gloves and hat. I love to feel the cold air on my skin.
The fact that I celebrate the Winter Solstice speaks volumes to what is actually important to me. The rebirth of the sun. Nature has been instrumental in my healing so it is no surprise that I put an emphasis on the Winter Solstice. I look to the sun for energy and warmth. I idolize it in my own way. It is said that the Winter Solstice is a time for regeneration, renewal, and self-reflection.
Moving our celebration of winter outside this year hit a sweet spot for me. I think if I actually want to enjoy November and December going forward, I need to simplify Christmas even more and do more of what I did yesterday.