Once upon a time, I think I loved them. When I was a kid, I lived for the holidays. Family, food, presents (not necessarily in that order). It was the best. I have brilliant memories of me and my anxious siblings trying to guess what is under the tree, opening up a new door for each day of Advent, lighting the candles every night on our Advent wreath, Christmas plays at school, midnight mass... it was wonderful. My parents never had much money to give us everything we dreamed of, and it was painfully obvious the year that I got a "fake" Cabbage Patch Doll and I was way too embarrassed to show it to any of my friends with all of their beautiful Cabbage Patch dolls complete with Xavier Roberts tattooed across their butts. I eventually got a Cabbage Patch with money that I had saved from my allowance. Now that I am all grown up, regardless that I didn't always get what I wanted, my parents created wonderful memories and traditions that are very painful for me to break. I feel like I am leaving something behind when I can't be there and it guts me every year.
So why do I hate the holidays? Ever since I met my now husband, I feel like we have been pulled in two very different directions. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband's family and it isn't that I don't want to spend time with them, but I'm not certain they had the same traditions growing up. At least, I never hear my husband talk about them. His parents worked in health care and more often than not had to work the holidays, plus lately his mom hasn't been decorating for the holidays and has been trying to give us her decorations. I can't wrap my head around why- I hope that I am decorating my house well into old age whether someone comes to visit me or not. Putting up the tree, the lights and the wreath are all things that I have been doing ever since I can remember. I can't imagine not doing it. Again, my memories and traditions for the holidays run very deep.
This year is no exception to the usual tug-of-holiday-war. My brother just got married and I want to spend time with him and his new wife. My sister-in-law just got engaged so I want to spend time with her fiance and get to know him. We try to find a middle but it is seemingly impossible and someone always ends up feeling hurt. We just can't win and it always overshadows all the happiness, joy and magic of the season. Don't get me started on shopping... it is probably the thing I have come to despise the most. Not sure where I would be now without Cyber Monday.
Therefore. I hate the holidays. I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't want anyone to think we don't care or that we don't want to be there. We do.
I'm really trying to get over this horrific attitude about the holidays. Somehow, I want to be able to create memories and traditions for my son to remember in the years to come. I am hoping that some of his child magic will bring some joy back to the holiday season for me.
How about you? Do you dread or look forward to the holidays every year?