Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Blues

I often sit and wonder why I even celebrate the holiday of Christmas with my family.  I haven't been Christian in a very long time, and the stress of the entire holiday exacerbates every illness that I have.  Commercialism has taken over a holiday that was once very sacred and decorated in in gaudy tinsel, garland, brightly colored packages, and the smells of cinnamon and mulling spices.

We were taught from a very small age the importance of the Christmas holiday.  The birth of Jesus was foremost and we always read the nativity story before breaking into the goodies accumulated over a month's time in a brightly colored stocking gleaming with glitter.  The Christmas holiday season was literally a season.  We made an effort to bake goodies, decorate a family tree, reminisce over ornaments, pick the perfect gift for every individual on our list, and watch classic Christmas movies and gorge ourselves on snack trays filled with goodies from Hickory Farms.  Unfortunately, none of that has happened for a very long time, now.  The torch has been passed back and forth from parent to child to parent to grandchild since the beginning of the holiday.  But when did I start becoming a Scrooge?  I am thankful when someone gives me a gift that takes time and effort.  I choose great gifts and expect no less from others.  Since becoming Jewish, I see Christmas as a time to share love and gratitude to those who have loved and been loved in the year.  Family is most dear and I get up lovingly each Christmas morning to cook a holiday brunch for my small family.  Just one more act of my giving.

I thought that this year would be different now that we have a 12 year old and a 2 year old in the house.  But for some reasons we all fall back into that same position we held as children in the family.  I become upset when each member of our family brings home gifts from work or other parent's houses.  I am just pushed off while we have the "look at me" show and reminded of my inadequacies of being a daughter.  Plus, I have tried to pick up the slack for everyone in my family that didn't have something to give the ones they loved even though I did not have the money to purchase my own gifts.  I become full of debt for those who do not even care enough to make a batch of cookies for others, create an ornament, or simply tell someone that they love them in a special way.

Plus, I don't want anyone to be left out of the holiday.  I am tired of giving until it hurts (sometimes literally) and not getting anything in return.  I find it very hard to believe that I can be a forced baby-sitter and then not even receive a dollar store gift in thanks.  As long as my family is together, I assume that I will be forced to reflect upon the holiday itself.  However, this is the last year that I will allow myself to fall into a holiday depression.  I have never had to go without.  My mother is loving and kind.  And kids will be kids.  Perhaps next year the best gift that I can give everyone is a vacation for myself.  No harm, no foul.  No tears, no pain.  Just a week, alone with a computer, sketchbook, and pencils, hot chocolate and warmth are all I need to feel like I am loved by the one person that counts.