Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Holiday Blues

I may regret writing this post but it is such a huge part of my thoughts and feelings right now that I feel like I need to purge it....and what better way than this blog to get it out....uninterrupted....and read by my family and friends and complete strangers. But please, don't take any of this personally. You aren't the problem. It's all ME.

My problem? The Holidays. For me that means the incredible action packed weeks between Halloween and New Year's Day. Two solid months of food consumed, purchases made, Christmas music being piped in , bombarded by ads and gatherings all geared toward one of those special days that fall between October 31 and January 1. Sweaters, tshirts and socks even just for these special days.

If you're a child, this is the stuff memories are made of. How fun to just show up and be surrounded by loved ones and gifts and treats and hugs and kisses. Let me go on record as saying I had a wonderful childhood and my childhood Christmas memories are some of the best ones. But for adults.........well, for this adult....I suffer. And I know I must not be the only one or the term Holiday Blues would not have been coined.

To make it clear, I am not "blue" in the bed, can't get out, crying "blue." My "blue" is just an inner sadness that seems to linger for these 2 months...year after year. And if I am to be very honest, I think it is triggered by my loss of control. I am the typical Type A personality who wants everything in their world to be controlled....perfectly perfect. Laundry done and put away. Groceries stocked in the pantry at all times. Meals cooked to perfection. Gifts wrapped the moment you bring them in the house ala Martha Stewart style. The house decorated....while playing Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate. All relatives good looking and functional. Etc, etc, etc.

When did this dreaded feeling start happening to me this time of year every year? Where did this inner sadness come from? Oh, don't think I haven't soul searched. I have analyzed myself for years over this. I think it's about control but I also think it's about dysfunction. And never are we more forced to face our family dysfunction than at this wondrous time of year. Here are some of the reasons I've come up with....

It could be that I had to take the dreaded trip to the inlaws every year at Christmas....every single damn year. Never a expectation. And not once did they come to our house. So I now associate this time of year with all the added stress of laundry and packing and traveling and being away from home and having to board my dogs. And having to do all that to go visit dysfunction.

It could be that years seem to fly by marked from one Christmas to the next. You know the thought, "Didn't we just take the tree down?"

It could be that thing that happened to my family...the family I was born into. That rift that happened that made getting all of us together not possible. The rift that had to do with a member of my family being in an abusive marriage.....then separated from that abuser...then getting back together with that abuser right before Christmas. I took a stand to say the abuser was not welcome in my home and somehow I am the bad one. Honestly, sometimes I have to be true to my gut....sorry about the train wreck it caused. I will never understand how others in my family didn't take the same stand. Never.

It could be that I watched my sweet cousin dying during Christmas, 2003, and now the time of year takes me back to his little one bedroom apartment and I can't help but see him in his chair with that gaunt scared to sick...and I don't believe there have been 5 more Christmases since.

It could be that I am hyper-aware of all those without at this time of year. How can anyone not get a little down when they see a Christmas tree with tags bearing children's names and needs. Not in need of an IPod or a digital camera or a new bike....but in need of underwear for a 6 year old.

It could be that I so desperately need to lose weight and yet I attended 5 parties in the last 2 weeks where I had absolutely no discipline when it came to partaking of all that delicious party food and beverage.

It could be that I know how sad my mom is without my dad....and while I know this is daily for her, it just seems sadder during the holidays.

It could be that the trees are bare and the grass and plants are brown and the ugly just gets to me.

It could be I don't have little ones anymore who cannot wait for us to wake up so they can see if Santa came. My little ones now have to be woken up on Christmas morning.

So now the holidays just remind me that I am not in control. That sadness and dying don't take a break at this time of year. That families are so dysfunctional....even the best of them. That really only kids see this time of year as magical. That children grow up fast. And that this time of year, which is meant to be joyous and magical, just seems over the top with expectations.

Okay. I feel better now. Just had to get some of that sadness out.


  1. Oh my... well, there you have it. I think you covered just about every possible reason you could and believe me, I hear you. You are not alone. It happens.

    What really soothes me at this most hyper time of year is the Christmas Church service when it really feels like it's just me and Him. It sustains me and I pray it will sustain you too.

    All the best! LindaSonia

  2. You are SO not alone and I haven't survived some of the traumas you have. Blessedly my life has been so uneventful. This time of year, I am never ready and never feel like I can take time to truly enjoy the reason we do celebrate this wonderful time of the year. I just wish it could all be perfect and it so ain't!! I too feel sad and overwhelmed. But my kids love our house at Christmas and have had wonderful memories of each year. So it does all come together but it just feels so painful somehow but we are truly so blessed. Soldier on, won't we? Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks for writing this. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about this same topic. She said one year she just decided to say it out loud "I don't like Christmas very much." It's true for me too - not my favorite time of year - because it is full of expectations that can't possibly be lived up to.
    So, lesson learned that it's okay not to love it.
    Hope some love and peace find their way into your heart this holiday season. Hope the same for me too. xoxo

  4. Hugs to you sweet friend. I struggle with feeling inadequate because I can never seem to make my Christmas like the one I picture in my head and see in magazines. My presents are never wrapped stylishly, I'm out of control with the eating too, my mom doesn't have much interest in being a part of my life or my children's lives, I feel guilty for not mailing out Christmas cards for the last several years and I'm sick of buying gifts for nieces and nephews that aren't thankful. I feel better now too. Maybe we should change something and make it different next year.

  5. It's a long hard road to Bethlehem! Especially when you are in charge of the trip.... I do understand.

  6. Your doing great!! I have sunk to no tree, giving the kids and grandkids no shopping or wrapping and dinner is at one of the daughters. I am trying to make this a no stress Christmas...funny thing is now I am stressed about the no stressed Christmas...Keep on trucking your doing great and your family will have memories forever!! Next year I am going to take on the stress and have a Griswold Christmas!!

  7. Thank you for your honesty. I am having a horrible time this year. My mom died last Nov, my granddaughter was born and we moved all within 3 weeks. Somehow I stumbled through the holidays but this year I feel it all. I cried all the way to the PO the other day just listening to Christmas music - I called my daughter and told her she had to make me laugh before I could go in. I haven't listened to music since and I love music. I haven't found a good group of girlfriends here and I miss my friends. But I knew the reason for the season and I rejoice in His love and peace. If only the holidays were simple again.

  8. :( This makes me sad. I know what you mean tho. I, too, have lost alot of my Christmas joy. I think mine has to do with my boys all being grown and gone. Oh, how I miss those Christmas' so long ago. It is hard for me to imagine you being sad, and I don't like it. You always make me smile, I love that about you. Just know that you are loved. Oh, thank you for the socks!! Loved them, the note was better tho!!!!!

    Love and Christmas kisses!!! :)


  9. Reading your blog "backwards" as it's written, I can't help but be more and more uplifted as it looks like you were, especially soon after the trip where you took that picture of THAT woman. It all looks so fun to me. I swear I'm going to spend Christmas with all my children again some day...