Christmas 2012. My bangs are 30% grayer now.
I don't love Christmas. I have depression and it depresses me. There you go.
I walked through an arcade downtown today en route to a meeting and there was a tall, conical Christmas tree installed centrally. As I passed it, I politely said "no" as though it were going to ask me to sign a petition for something.
This was supposed to be the year that we finally achieved my dream of going away for Christmas, just the two of us. Watching the sun rise on Christmas morning from our tent on the beach. Better yet, trusting that the sun will do its thing and waking up Christmas afternoon. Even Nick, who was not initially sold on the idea, announced shortly after we arrived home from all our Christmas driving last year that the next year, we were taking off, we were gonna do it.
Now that there's a baby in the family, of whom I quite fond, we both couldn't imagine missing his first Christmas. Even though he can't comprehend "hands" let alone the wonder of an omniscient trespassing elf who brings presents. Gotta smush on his face. Gotta do it.
I get very tangled up in the perceived expectations of others with regards to how we spend our time during the week of Christmas. We have three sets of parents between us who are all within a few hours' drive of each other. Every year we change up how we make Christmas happen logistically and every year we feel like we are doing it poorly and unpopularly but in a fresh, new way. Often the happiest time of the season is driving 4 hours from northeastern Ohio to southwestern Ohio or vice versa, alone with Nick on the quiet highway.
I also have a hang-up about gifts. I was blaming others' expectations at first but it is my ego. I feel "legitimate" when I can give a family member a thoughtful, "nice" gift. Each year, Nick and I push for a reduced emphasis on gifts within his family and it never happens. This year, we are just going to start giving small edible gifts and owning it. Like, literally a jar of homemade pesto with a ribbon around it. It seems obvious, but sometimes these things get snagged on cultural weirdness and status quo on their way to execution. Say it with me now, the gifts aren't the point, the gifts aren't the point, the gifts aren't the point.
Perhaps someday faraway-Christmas will happen, but for all I know my blue mood would follow me to paradise regardless.
Life is stupidly short and we owe it to ourselves to love on our families while honoring our own little hearts. Cheers**.
*for some values of "wonderful"
**Oh, I finally found a holiday beer that doesn't taste like spiced garbage! Shiner Cheer.