Taking Back My Christmas Spirit

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share my feelings and hopes for the holidays. Really, since I also made fun of Bitchy for loving Christmas movies, I should admit up front that I am all for mushy, romantic, love filled Christmas gestures. SUE ME. I will never be (ever again) one of those women who doesn’t admit that she hopes for nothing more than sweet words, romantic gestures, and even maybe cue cards and boom boxes. There, I said it.

Now, on with the story.

Nearly my whole entire life, my Christmases have sucked. Big time. I have few really good Christmas memories from my childhood. I have tons of bad ones. One benefit of getting older is that my memories of those bad times do fade into the recesses of my mind, but yeah, Christmas was not cookies and presents and trips to visit Santa when I was a kid. Christmas for me was violence and screaming and drunken, violent adults and, more often than not, police sirens. You know those holiday parties everyone goes to? You have a couple of drinks with friends, talk about good times, share gifts, do weird things like ugly sweater exchanges? Well, my mom and my step-father’s parties were always ones that you knew would end in someone getting hit, possibly the cops being called, and raging, raging screaming all night.

I hated Christmas. New Year’s Eve was worse because add hillbillies with fireworks and shotguns.

I will never forget the Christmas Eve when my mom had me run to a neighbors in the snow to call the police because he had beaten her again. My neighbors were my step-grandparents. They wouldn’t let me call, but tried to give me my presents early to appease me. I went to the next neighbors. When the cops got there, they told my mom that she’d be the one who would have to leave because he was the man of the house. Have to love the early eighties and women’s rights right there.

My suspicions about Santa were confirmed when I was eight years old. I was a normal kid who poked around everywhere looking for signs of wrapped presents because how could a dude make it around the world in ONE night? The same usual scene had happened on Christmas Eve and I woke up in the middle of the night and there were no presents under the tree. My little sister, who was two, was still sleeping. My mom was passed out in a chair with puke all over her, stepdad was gone. This image I will never forget. I looked around in her closet, under the beds. But I realized I had to find the presents and wrap them for my sister. I went downstairs to the creepy old basement and there they were, most unwrapped. So, I brought them upstairs and wrapped them. And no one said a word about it in the morning.

Up until I was about 14 when my grandmother adopted me and moved me to Florida, Christmas was always like this and sometimes worse. I especially hated Christmas vacation from school because school was my safe place.

It took me a long time to really enjoy and love Christmas and, mostly, these days, I can avoid the temporary depression that grabs a hold of a lot of people during the holidays. Fast forward to the last few years…I don’t spend Christmas with much of my family because, well, see above and/or the awkwardness of being around people for the holidays that you can’t stand. Personally now I try to make Christmas about the people I really care about in my life and I try to make Christmas really special for the most important people.

I do Christmas cards, I make cookies, and I buy entirely too many presents. I buy Christmas presents for months and months beforehand. I buy little things that remind me of people and I often forget things I’ve purchased and pull them out after Christmas when cleaning out a closet. It’s not that I am materialistic (OK, I have a shoe problem), but even little tiny things that make me think of someone I want to GIVE to people. I love ALL of the Christmas specials, Christmas music, cocoa and fuzzy slippers, etc etc. This year I only took out about 25% of my Christmas decorations because I don’t have as much space and I still have Christmas night lights and hand towels in both bathrooms. CHEESE BALL CITY.

The other things I always do: donate to a local food pantry, donate to toys for tots, choose children from a Salvation Army tree and purchase their presents, and give cookies to my neighbors. I probably am also prone to attacks of emo mush towards the people I love. It’s a good thing that they already like me. I mean, if you can’t find it in your heart to share your emotions at Christmastime, then boo on you.

What I don’t do? I don’t wallow in the past and feel sorry for myself.

I hope that all of you, my dear readers, have a wonderful, happy, love-filled holiday season. And here’s to a fabulous 2013.

(And even you guys who read this blog to continue to stalk and harass, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.)

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2 Responses to “Taking Back My Christmas Spirit”

  1. Rad Cocker says:

    I tend to think warm and fuzzy Christmases are memories shared by most Americans, but from time to time I’m reminded (as you have done here) that the experience is not universal and some people passed this annual childhood milepost under the most trying of circumstances. Though I don’t buy into the commercialized hokum that marks the run-up to the holiday, I’m glad you’re able to put the past behind and get some enjoyment out of the season, and particularly that you’re sharing what you have with those who can use the help. Merry Christmas!

  2. Wine Librarian says:

    And to you!