When I first started to write this post, I wasn’t sure how I should go about it (or if I should even publish it at all). I didn’t want to write the most depressing Christmas related post ever, and I didn’t want the post to read like a journal entry. But every time I started to write, that’s exactly what would come out: really long depressing paragraphs worthy of my LiveJournal circa 2005-2006. Trust me when I say that no one wants to read that.
I then decided I’d turn the post into a list. I think the things I wanted to share will be a little easier to digest if I write them out this way (versus rambling on and on about a bunch of random shit).
Below you will find some of the reasons why Christmas has lost its magic for me. I’m sure I’ll still ramble a little, but hopefully the list format somehow makes my thoughts seem slightly more organized.
1. I made the choice to move away from my family. I was never happy living in my hometown, and I always knew I wanted to move away (even at a young age). It just wasn’t the right place for me. If I’m being completely honest, the only things I ever miss about it are my family and close friends who still live in the area. I know that moving away was the best thing for me, and I’ve never regretted it. That being said, I sometimes get really depressed around Christmas because it’s not always feasible for me to fly to my hometown to spend that time with my family. I may have chosen to move halfway across the country, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to feel at least a little sad when I can’t spend time with my family.
2. Eric and I haven’t really created any Christmas traditions yet. (Well, Christmas traditions for the two of us as a family.) This is generally okay with me since we do a lot of stuff with his family for the holidays and I’m not sure if I want to add on even more stuff. However, since we don’t even decorate our apartment, exchange gifts on Christmas day, or do any other special things, it just feels like any other day. I will say that this year we’re planning to make a special holiday dinner for the two of us (which I’m really looking forward to!), so hopefully that will help make the day feel a little more like Christmas and less like a random weekend day spent around the apartment in pajamas.
3. As an adult, holidays in general become more stressful. But Christmas? Christmas is a fucking nightmare. I know I stress myself out more than I need to because I’m such an awful procrastinator when it comes to buying gifts, but I think I’d still be stressed even if I finished my shopping in September. I used to love giving gifts, but I think it’s gotten more difficult to come up with thoughtful and unique ideas … So I usually default to a gift card. Don’t get me wrong … There’s nothing wrong with a gift card. In fact, I think I sometimes prefer that to an actual gift because I can go shopping at a later time when I think of something I really want or need. (And I know some of the people I exchange gifts with feel this way as well.) However, that doesn’t change the fact that I used to pride myself on giving awesome gifts for Christmas and now it’s like, “Merry Christmas! Here’s a gift card because I couldn’t come up with anything better for you.” Yes, it’s harder to buy gifts for people you don’t see every day, but I still feel guilty when I go for the gift cards.
4. I think the main reason I feel like Christmas has lost much of its appeal, though, is because I can no longer spend it with my grandparents. They were very important, very special people in my life, and now that they’re both gone it’s hard to imagine going on with the holiday traditions without them. I actually haven’t been back to my hometown for Christmas since 2008 … My grandmother passed away the following month. (My grandfather passed away in May.) I’ve almost been too afraid to go back for Christmas because I know it won’t be the same. Every year we’d spend Christmas at their house and share a huge, delicious meal that included my mom’s awesome cheesy potato casserole and my grandmother’s famous red velvet cake. (Okay, it was just famous in our family … But it was amazing and one of the highlights of the meal!) I’m thankful I was able to spend so many years getting to know them and that I have so many wonderful memories, but I still miss them all the time. And it’s even harder to deal with around Christmas (especially now that they’re both gone).
I hope that one day Christmas will regain at least some of its magic. But for now, it has to just be another day for me because if I focus too much on the holiday itself and how much I miss the years I spent with my family when I was younger, I may never stop crying.