Tag Archives: holidays

Thoughts on the Holidays

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So life…it’s the holiday season for me. I always want to love this time of year but for the past few years it has been hard not to see all the changes and differences in my life. My family does not do big get togethers. In fact Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of my father’s “I hate Christmas/ this season in general,” story that I have had to listen to every year.

I last year I just wanted it to pass by but this year I find myself needing a little holiday cheer. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have my own issues about the holidays. It is hard to listen to other people tell their happy stories and know that more than likely that will not be me. But I’m working on making my life what I want it to be instead.

I spent Thanksgiving with my friends and the weekend with my sister and her family. It was really wonderful. There was no drama, not fighting and I even clocked a few new good memories. Christmas is harder though. I can’t really remember a good one while I was married. We always went to see his family because he didn’t like/ was uncomfortable with mine.  And I have a hard time crashing someone else’s Christmas.  When I was child it was a special day for families (nuclear) and I don’t have one of those. Just me and the cats.

I’ll put up my tree sometimes this week and the boys (cats) will begin the yearly camp out.  I’ll burn candles that make the house smell nice and I’m sure a few batches of cookies as well. But all these things are just things. I miss singing carols with my sister. I miss baking with my mom. I miss having someone to share things with. I know that in part the distance is my choice. But I would rather have an empty Christmas than one that is filled with fighting and guilt.

So I’m off to find my own holiday. Don’t know if I’ll be successful but I’m going to give it a shot.

So this is Christmas

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There are stockings hung on the fake mantel. There is a tree decorated and lit. Scented candles are scattered about to warm and awaken our memories. But the house is empty, there are no gifts beneath the tree and the cats want to know where their people have gone.

I have been struggling the past few weeks with accepting a Christmas that is not the one I wanted. I have tried every trick in the book: calling friends, listening to music, cooking, doing my “own” thing but none of it has worked.

In part I know this is because Christmas is my favorite holiday and for years was the one bright moment in my calendar. There were years my sister and I cracked out the decorations early because we just “needed” a little cheer. But this year the void is too big to be filled with sugar cookies and it makes me wonder “what am I looking for?” Is it people? Nope I got great people, with wonderful spirit to cheer me. Is it the location? Nope my house is all empty and that would be worse. Is it lack of tradition? We got the tree and the egg-nog going on. Spirituality? And this is the place where I stop and begin to think.

I don’t need baby Jesus in a manger to have a happy holiday (no offense) but  I do need a real connection with something beyond myself. I need to have hope and I am realizing that I don’t. I don’t believe things will get better, I don’t believe that I will be fine or want to “go on.” I believe that I will be in pain for some time, that it might get a little better or a lot worse but that it will continue. My Christmas star has gone out.

So what do I do? To be honest I don’t know. I pray; I want to feel more connected and hopeful but in the face of such seasonal euphoria I find my small attempts crushed by a waves of “that is not my experience,” when placed against all the hallmark cards and turkey dinners.  So I do what I always done: I get quiet, I go outside and I try to remember what is still good in my world.

The Georgia pines are still tall, bending in the wind. The moon still hangs above me in its path across the sky and there are many people who love me and want me to be a part of their lives for a long time. But more than these, I look inside my heart and feel the presence of hope. Though my mind tells me that it is not there and makes so much noise it takes an effort to hear, it cannot silence my heart.

In my heart I know that God is with me, that I am loved and that I will make it through what ever happens because of those two facts.  Even if the rest of my life up-ends its self, these things can never be changed. Thanks you God, thank you to all those who have helped me to remember this though their love and compassion. Christmas is here.

Christmas specials- love & hate them

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Holiday movies and specials: over the years I have come to love and hate the return of some of these shows. Some conjure fond feelings of sitting with family drinking coco or eating popcorn and laughing with my siblings. Others remind me of endless movie marathons and my dad reminiscing on and on about some story told every year at the same time. So, here are a few from both sides. I’d love to know what you think about them.

Christmas story/Gremlins

I think I hated this movie from the first time I hear “you’ll shoot you eye out” and didn’t even know what it was from. As an adult I can appreciate the unvarnished view of Christmas but it’s not something I watched as a kid so I guess I missed out on the nostalgia factor.

I love this movie! I have to watch it every Christmas just because. Little trivia- this is the movie that created the PG-13 rating too scary for kids but not an R. Any how, love the crazy dad, the brave mom and the girlfriends tragic Christmas story.

Miracle on 34th street/  It’s a wonderful life/ Family man

Never really liked this story very much. I was never a believer in Santa and so being forced toe watch the black and white version every year killed it for me.

At lone point in time I think I actually liked this movie but again after years of being forced to watch it its one a avoid.

Love this movie. I think the ending is what makes it for me. I love Nicolas Cage and Tia they make a believable real couple. Definitely on the Chick Flick Christmas list.

CCharlie brown’s Christmas/The Grinch (old school)/ the nightmare before Christmas

When I think about Christmas this is the sound track that plays in my head. From Linus’ monologue about the true meaning of Christmas to Charlie loving on the twig he calls a tree. There is much nostalgia for me that i couldn’t imagine Christmas without this one. Long live the Peanuts!

Like wise the animated Grinch holds a special place in my heart. I have always had a love for the ani-hero and the Grinch delivers in large portions. When I don’t feel so Christmassie I watch this one and then I do. Great music and old school animation.

A more recent addition to my fall/winter movies. I love Jack and his epic journey to understand joy and realize his true place in the world as the Pumpkin King. If you’re not a fan of Tim Burton this may not be for you, like all things Burton its a little on the dark side but very hopeful at the same time. The music is wonderful and the info about how claymation is done is amazing.

Claymation Christmas/Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer/Frosty the Snowman

I used to watch this all the time as a kid. If you can’t tell from my selections so far I have a love of claymation, the art and the craft. I think this special is one of the first that really inspired me to become and artist. I love the beautiful weaving of so many different techniques to such inspirational and fun Christmas songs.

This is a love /hate one. There is a part of me that still roots for the little reindeer and wants him to feel special and then there is the grown up part of me that winces at the voices and the ridiculous sound effects. This one is definitely more for the little ones.

I feel the same way about Frosty. I really want to still like him but his voice and the cheesy villain just don’t work for me any more. Will that stop me from giving this movie to my nieces and nephews…no way.

The Muppet’s Christmas Carol/ Scrooged

I have to watch this every year or it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I must explain by saying I have watched every Muppet movie ever made and was watching the Muppet show before I could talk. So it’s not surprising that I love this movie so much.Micheal Cain does a wonderful job as Scrooge.

This is a great holiday de-stress movie. Bill Murray is so crazy and over the top. The chain-smoking cabby and the door-mouse worker turned office shooter round out the ridiculousness that make this movie so fun. This is not a movie I would let small children watch but it is great for adults.

And the snow came down

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What do you do when the world around you is happy and bright, people are excited and jolly and you are…not. This is the place I find myself  in. I thought putting up the tree would help but its shocking lack of packages makes it seem all the more bare. I tried playing Christmas music but it either got on my nerves or made me sad, so I turned it off. I broke down and actually baked a cake. For me this is the last resort when I comes to holiday cheer. I usually conjure up images of my sister and mom baking cookies and it makes me happy but this time it all went lop-sided. Instead of making me happy I got really sad and wanted to eat half the cake (which is why I  don’t bake very much).

So what do you do with the holiday season when all your cheer has run in the other direction. I think it started with me letting go of the picture in my head of how my Christmas “should” be. In stead of being at home, I’m going to be with my best friend and her adorable husband. I know that I will find laughter, good food and probably a few tears.

Second I had to find s ways to help myself instead of sitting a round the house bemoaning the fact that I don’t care about finding presents for people or mailing them on time. So this morning I took myself to the gym, did a yoga class, had a smoothie and went to a second yoga class. By no means am I implying that yoga will solve your seasonal or life sucks right now depression  but doing something you love will. Even if you don’t feel like it GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Thirdly I remind myself that though I love Christmas it is just another day when plied against the rest. It is no more sad or depressing that it is not going my way than on any other day if I choose to keep it in perspective.

Why might you ask am I writing all this? this year has taught me to be kinder to those who won’t be with their families, who are dealing with loss or depression, people who are reminded moment by moment that a roof over their children’s heads is the only gift they can provide. I wanted to let these people know that I understand and you don’t have to let it destroy you. I’m not saying that it is not hard, or heart breaking, just that you are a valuable person and being here is important, loving yourself might just be the greatest gift you ever gave yourself or your family. All things change and pass in time, your life is so much greater than this moment, take courage in this, it will not go on forever. But you deserve to go on past and though this and you can.

Question of the week

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What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I like to sit in front of the Christmas tree when the house is quiet and no body else is awake and go to candle light services on Christmas Eve.