While most people consider the holiday season the “most wonderful time of the year”, I have much different feelings about it…
The holidays are supposed to be grand, happy times spent with those that you love, but what happens to those people out there who don’t have a happy, loving family that they want to spend Christmas with? Sure, I have a family just like most people, but spending time with them “because I’m supposed to” is an anxiety-filled nightmare that I’d rather avoid all-together.
For as long as I can remember, Christmas has always sucked. Mind you, my birthday also falls on Christmas Day which makes the matters a tiny bit worse. While my mom always did a great job of keeping my birthday separate from Christmas, that doesn’t mean I’ve actually ENJOYED the day at all. In fact, last year was the very first year that I actually had a good Christmas. I spent the day flying home from visiting a friend in Colorado for the first time and then was picked up from the airport by a close friend who brought me to her family’s Christmas celebration. It was the best Christmas I’d ever had and I’ll never forget it.
Previously, Christmas was spent how my mom always wanted it to be spent: Wake up Christmas morning and open presents/stockings, eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, start preparing Christmas lunch (the same exact food every single year), eat lunch, I open birthday cards/presents if any, light candles on my birthday cake then be done with the day. Doesn’t sound too terrible from an outside perspective, I would gather. Yet somewhere in the middle of all this yearly, never-changing-routine, a fight would breakout between two or more of the family members, someone would end up in trouble (usually me) and many, many tears would be shed. Unfortunately, the fighting was just as consistent as the boring Christmas routine.
I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is to watch other people’s happy families enjoy spending time together for Christmas while every year I wished to be far, far away from mine. Social media came about by the time I hit high school which worsened my already-negative Christmas feelings because I could now physically see photos of how happy other families were…
The older I get, the more I’m beginning to understand that what was normal for my family growing up was not healthy at all. Sure, my parents did the best they could with the tools that they had at the time, and I don’t blame them for the things that occurred. Although that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish that I could have grown up in a loving, caring and encouraging environment… One where the importance of compassion was regularly taught and where harsh punishment for bad behavior wasn’t the first choice. And most importantly, one where everyone actually enjoyed each other’s company and didn’t feel the need to force time spent together on each other.
The more I talk about openly about my childhood, the more I’ve learned that I am not alone. Many, many others were raised in unhealthy, unhappy environments just as I was. While I don’t wish this upon anyone, I’m very thankful to have others who can relate with me. Those who understand my perspective and help me feel less alone in my struggles.
All that being said, what I want to encourage you to do as an adult is to create your own holiday traditions with your chosen family! The people who you hold near and dear to your heart, who stand by you through thick and thin. The people that you choose to surround yourself with because they share the same values as you. THOSE are the people who deserve to be in your presence during the holidays – no matter what anyone else tries to tell you.
To wrap this up, I just want to say that I hope this message will help anyone who needs it know that they’re not alone and will inspire you to break free of the miserable holiday traditions you’ve been stuck with in the past. Instead, I hope you have a blast creating new ones with your chosen family. 💖
Click here to see what I chose to do for the holidays this year.