Advice Column Question: How do I hate Christmas less? Ya know?
Answer: Yep. I know. But I don’t think you hate Christmas. I think you are grieving.
I call it the un-nameable Christmas sadness and it shows itself in many forms.
One of my highlighted bad memories of Christmas was looking out of our living room window on Christmas morning at the snow falling softly on my Dad’s car as he slept inside it. The presents had not been touched. We were all too sad and worried about what we did to hurt his feelings to unwrap any gifts yet. I think I was about 11. My brother was 8.
There was also the year I knew it would be my moms’ last Christmas and I still wouldn’t dance the jive with her in the kitchen.
I could go on and fucking on.
Almost every Christmas I’ve ever had has been steeped in stress and anxiety.
I’m not sure what your story is but I’m pretty confident that as a child Christmas brought about the un-nameable sadness for you and now when it comes around, you feel the pressure to perform, enjoy yourself and be a good person when really, you want to crawl into bed alone and moan softly till it’s over.
I get it.
But the secret is- your pain comes from the effort of not letting yourself feel the pain.
So, I feel sad during the holidays.
I actually prepare for it.
I plan to sleep as much as possible.
I know that by 4pm the darkness will roll in so I shouldn’t make any big evening plans.
I don’t go shopping after December 19th.
I try to surround myself with people I like.
I take breaks. I hide out.
I let friends do nice things for me and I try to do nice things for my friends.
You’ve had many little traumas over your life and Christmas is the week that asks you to unwrap them in front of your loved ones.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a bummer to everyone around you. Just sink into your quietness, treat yourself like you have the flu, move slowly, and whenever you get the spazzy, ringing in your ears stop whatever you’re doing, go into a room, turn off the lights, lie down and rock.
That’s what I’m doing right now.
My family is upstairs, they are good people and I’m very lucky to have them. But I’m still holding back tears throughout the day. I can’t even say why.
So tonight I came down to my room, opened my computer and wrote you back. Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone in the un-nameable sadness. And we don’t need to find a name for it, or have an excuse or reason for its being here. The darkest night of the year is upon us, let’s huddle up and cozy in and then when we can do it, take a blanket- go outside and look at all the twinkly lights.