Reclaiming the Holidays
Sure, I’ve spent a lot of my time this holiday season whining. I’ve been missing my ex; I’ve been missing old traditions; I broke up with Chef; I couldn’t find a tree skirt I liked that was cheaper than $40 and gave up; I dreaded going Christmas shopping and ordered almost everything online. Yeah, that all happened. But then, some other things happened.
The eating of candy canes: I was at a party, and a fellow party-goer handed me a candy cane. I cannot adequately explain to you the pure joy I got out of that candy cane, which I proceeded to eat like it was the last candy cane on earth. And then, my friend gave me hers, because it just seemed the candy cane made me so friggin’ happy.
The wrapping of presents: Once all the presents I ordered online finally arrived, I sat down in my living room and began to wrap presents, somewhat begrudgingly. And then I noticed the sheer amount of space I had on my floor where I was wrapping – I never had that much space at my ex’s house or even at my old apartment. And they were hardwood floors, not carpeting, which makes wrapping presents so much easier. Suddenly, I was enjoying wrapping the presents (even though I know I’m pretty terrible at it. I believe that gift boxes and bags make a gift, and add just enough glittery paper and bows and people will be so blinded by the glitter that they won’t realize you can’t wrap). I couldn’t wait to give them to my loved ones. I looked up, and there was my Christmas tree, that I put up all by myself. Although I was a little meh about it at first, I love it now. Even sans tree skirt.
The volunteering: I volunteered at the Virginia Home, a nursing home for adults with irreversible disabilities, during my company’s community service day. My mom, sister and I are volunteering there again today. Every time I go there, I am amazed by how strong and wonderful the residents are. They have such positive outlooks, and warm my heart with their stories. It feels fantastic to spend time with them and make even a small difference in their days – they make a huge difference in mine.
The buying of Christmas cards: Notice I did not say the sending or handing out of Christmas cards. Nope, I just bought them (never said I was completely in the Christmas spirit). They are some really cute ones, too, from Mongrol in Carytown. So if you sent me Christmas card this year, just you wait until next year. You’ve got a card coming from Catherine. I know you can hardly wait in anticipation; I’m excited too.
The family trip to Christmastown: My family, some friends and I went to Busch Gardens Christmastown, which is basically an amusement park that Christmas threw up all over. The lights, shows, decorated trees, rides and endless cups of hot chocolate were all a blast, but spending time with my family and friends was priceless. A light snow started to fall, sparkling in the colored lights, melting on your cheek and adding to the total holiday ambiance of the place, and it was perfect. Well, close to perfect, because we were missing a few important people, such as my sister Debbie who lives in California. This trip reminded me how lucky I am to have such a caring family and such great friends. These people really came through for me this year in ways that I could never have imagined.
The surviving of my company holiday party: I’d never attended a company holiday party before alone, so I was quite nervous. I was worried that I would feel like the odd man out and I was anxious that people would ask about my ex or about how the single life is going (because frankly, part of my dating sabbatical is that I don’t want to date or even talk about dating. I just want to be.). There were moments where I wasn’t quite sure what to do or who to talk with next, but the anxiety was kept to a minimum and I ended up having a pretty fun time.
Sure, I’m still a little sad this holiday season. That’s not going to go away on its own. But the past couple of weeks of self-reflection, spending time alone, and thinking about this past year and what I want for next year, have really had a calming effect on me. I’m going to be all right. I’m ready for Christmas. It’s not the same as it was last year, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I hope you enjoy the holiday season, whatever and however you celebrate. Readers, I am thankful for each of you this year. Reading your comments and hearing your stories has meant so much to me. Thank you and Happy Holidays.
What holiday traditions have warmed your heart this year?