Skip to content

Reclaiming the Holidays

December 24, 2010

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.

candy canes

Photo courtesy of WELLS net

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.

Busch Gardens should totally hire me to promote Christmastown. Have you ever seen anyone so excited?


Another one of me at Christmastown. I had on two scarves, three shirts, ear muffs, a hat and gloves. Still was cold!

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?

32 Comments leave one →
  1. duke1959 permalink
    December 24, 2010 9:42 am

    You’re doing fine. You have so much going on in a positive way. The pain will go and the awkward moments will end. ( keep in mind those issues are the other person and not yours) You have a life to live and only you know what is right for you. Nobody else. My father had a saying that I will clean up for you but it pretty much says “No matter what happens in life they can’t __________ you” The point being is that the worst thing people can say is no. Have a Merry Christmas.

    • December 29, 2010 11:44 pm

      Duke: As always, thank you. And I appreciate your sharing your dad’s saying. As far as the awkward moments ending… I doubt they’ll end any time soon. I have a knack for the awkward. 🙂
      Happy Holidays!!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  2. December 24, 2010 10:31 am

    I get plenty of those awkward moments at parties as well – whether I’m single or not!

    I’ve really enjoyed reading and commenting on your blog this year – you’re a great writer and I look forward to seeing what comes next for you. Happy Holidays!

  3. December 24, 2010 11:39 am

    Merry Christmas, Catherine! I totally know how you feel about candy canes, haha 🙂

  4. December 24, 2010 12:41 pm

    May the new year bring happiness like you’ve never known before! Merry Christmas Catherine.

  5. December 24, 2010 1:26 pm

    I’ve been super sick and barely functional since right after I got to my parent’s house to spend the holidays with them. It is making it hard to get in the spirit because everyone else is doing the wrapping and decorating while I lay on the couch and increase the number of medications I am taking to fight off the plague.

    But you are right. All those things help pull the spirit together- especially when you are dealing with the changes that come from being single.

    It will be different. But you know what? Every year is different from the one before and you never know when you will be caught off guard and end up having the best Christmas ever.

    Merry Christmas!

    • December 29, 2010 11:46 pm

      Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well – I hope you are feeling better now! I can honestly say I’ve never been sick on Christmas before (that I can remember), but I can imagine that would really suck. It’s hard to get in the mood for the holidays if you just aren’t there.
      I loved, “You never know when you will be caught off guard and end up having the best Christmas ever.” This is SO true and I had never thought of it that way. Thank you and hope you ended up having a good holiday!

  6. December 24, 2010 5:25 pm

    Once again, I am going to Thank You for your post. I am glad that you are doing well, I have been wondering about how thing are going for you. Good luck with things tomorrow 🙂

    • December 29, 2010 11:47 pm

      TL: Thanks for your comment. I hope you are doing OK… good luck this weekend. I know it may be tough, but I’ll be sending good thoughts your way. It’s only one day and you will survive!!! 🙂

  7. December 24, 2010 11:20 pm

    Thinking of you.

    1. Great to hear about the candy canes.
    2. I found the cards this year that I bought two years ago, addressed last year and put photos in, and never sent. Threw them out.
    3. Tradition – Every year I give my father a can of cashews and my mom a box of chocolate covered cherries that they don’t have to share. They act surprised every year and thank me. (they get other stuff too, but I can’t forget these treats)
    4. I used an old Christmas tablecloth for a tree skirt for several years (hand me down from someone) because I couldn’t buy the nice tree skirt. Just draped it around and no one knew.

    Merry Christmas! You are blessed to have perspective and a caring family. Many people don’t have either.

    • December 29, 2010 11:52 pm

      Workingtechmom: Thanks for your kind words and for thinking of me during the holidays. I hope that you enjoyed Christmas as well!!
      On your comment….
      2. Haha, too funny. Glad to know I’m not the only one missing a little follow-through.
      3. Your cashews and box of chocolate dovered cherries is awesome! Every year on Thanksgiving, my mom puts out pearl onions in memory of her mother. We never eat them, and every year they just sit on the table. Sometimes my mom actually cooks them, sometimes she leaves them in the jar and they just sit there, ceremoniously. Also, on Christmas Eve, my parents always give us pajamas for a present. This tradition was intended for us to always look cute in pictures the next morning. While it’s not the same now (because we live in different houses), we always get the pajamas. I love pretending I’m not positive what the gift will be and then relishing that this is something we’ve done year after year (and I can’t wait to pass this tradition on to my family too). Sometimes, these traditions are the very best. I love it.
      4. Tablecloth! I probably should have considered that. I don’t own any tablecloths, but that might have been a good solution. Next year!!

      I hope you had a wonderful holiday and thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. December 25, 2010 9:35 am

    Enjoy this day, and enjoy wonderful YOU! Candy canes? I literally inhaled 2 within 10 minutes. Something amazing about them this time of year. Such a simple pleasure. Good things are coming your way in 2011…I just know it! xoxo

    • December 29, 2010 11:53 pm

      SimplyStac: I’m totally assuming that candy canes don’t have any calories, cause I’m about 5 in this year :).
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I feel good about 2011 too!!

  9. December 25, 2010 3:43 pm

    As excited as you look in that picture promoting Busch Gardens, imagine how much more so you would be with a candy cane in your mouth! Man alive, that would just scream Happy Holidays, wouldn’t it?

    I had a miserable holiday or two following breakups…I’d say overall, it sounds like you pulled yourself together just fine and were still able to enjoy the season. Good job! Have a Merry Christmas!

    • December 29, 2010 11:54 pm

      Mark: Haha, I totally should have a candy cane in my mouth in that picture. Total failure on my part. 🙂
      Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  10. Nancy permalink
    December 26, 2010 11:03 am

    We had no tree skirt either this year, cause no one knows where it was packed after last year! We searched high and low, but to no avail.

    Nothing like a simple candy cane, or volunteering at a nursing home (or even visiting someone else at one) to put everything in perspective.

    Merry Christmas Catherine, and the season’s blessings to your whole family. In just a little over 3 months we will be back at the Lake!

    • December 29, 2010 11:55 pm

      Nancy: Good to hear I’m not the only one sans tree skirt this year 🙂 I’m sure it still looks wonderful!
      Can’t wait to go back to the lake and can’t wait for this cold to be over!!
      Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  11. December 27, 2010 8:15 am

    Did you just have peppermint candy canes? I’m a huge fan of the cherry ones and the blueberry ones.

    • December 29, 2010 11:57 pm

      thoughts: I did just have a peppermint one…but I’m on a search for after-holiday sales with the fruit flavored ones. Good call!

  12. December 27, 2010 11:25 am

    I’m glad to see you came around!


  13. December 28, 2010 8:30 pm

    Loved this post. It’s memories like these, the little things, that make the holidays priceless. Too many people forget. Glad to see you enjoyed the holidays!

  14. December 29, 2010 9:32 am

    Ha! Christmas Town looks fantastic. It reminds me of what my husband always says about our next door neighbor’s annual Halloween decorations: “Wow! When did the Walgreens holiday aisle explode?”

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year to you!

    • December 30, 2010 12:08 am

      36×37: Thanks so much! Christmastown was really really fun. Over the top explosion of Christmas, and I could definitely only go once a year (some people go several times they love it so much!). As far as your neighbor, sometimes I wish I was the kind of person that would go nuts decorating. That’s gotta be fun!!
      I hope you had a wonderful holiday too – mine was great; I felt very lucky and loved all day (what more can you ask for?). Have a great New Year… big things in 2011!

  15. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    January 3, 2011 3:22 pm

    Straight up pulling a Vanna White at ChristmasTown! They should totally hire you!
    I loved this post, you sound so positive! 🙂

    • January 4, 2011 5:28 pm

      Haha, Vanna White. Didn’t realize I had that pose, but you are totally right. Love it. If only I LOOKED as good as her! (even if she is older now, that girl has aged well!)
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  16. January 7, 2011 7:54 pm

    This totally melted my heart…

    “And then, my friend gave me hers, because it just seemed the candy cane made me so friggin’ happy.”

    That’s what’s beautiful in the world. The sheer happiness. The sheer awesomeness of your friend. Love. It.

    • January 10, 2011 9:32 pm

      Something She Dated: I know. My friend is awesome. She could just tell how happy a stupid candy cane made me … and she just added to my happiness. Can’t ask for more 🙂

  17. Jes permalink
    December 20, 2011 1:37 pm

    REading your Holiday posts from last year is really helping me right now.. Thank you.
    Last year right after Thanksgiving was when my boyfriend of 6&1/2 years and i broke up. We were still living together, and to make it easier on our friends and family we decided not to tell any body until after the Holiday season.
    Which makes it one year of me being without him… and my first holidays alone. I dont miss him. I’ve learned a lot this year about who i am and the type of person that i need in my life, and i know it wasn’t him.. But i do miss him being around this time of year…
    Just like you had posted, Thanksgiving was when it started.. and I had a GREAT Thanksgiving this year… But the whole time it just felt like something was missing.. And then i sent him a text… We are still friends, but i realize now that we cannot be the type of friends who send heartfelt messages on Holidays…. Because he never responded. Maybe that was his way of dealing with Thanksgiving without me… but it hurt. Alot.
    And now Christmas is coming in a few days….
    i loved loved loved his family, i usually spent Christmas morning with them, and then we would go over to my family’s for Christmas dinner… Not waking up in their house is going to be awkward and sad. HIs mom sent me a text yesterday saying how much she was thinking about me this time of year and was also sad that i would not be joining them.. I think that was one of the worst parts of the breakup, not losing him… but losing his whole family…
    YOu also mentioned the company Christmas party. Mine is in Two days and OH man am i dreading it… I think somewhere in the responses of this blog i have mentioned that i had a very brief relationship over the summer with a man that treated me like CRap.. Well he is also an Employee at my company… (bad idea to date co-workers, I know! But it happens ) So not only do i have to go alone to the party, i will also be in attendance with this A**hole and his new chubby girl friend…. (okay, maybe i didn’t need to add that she was chubby… but… well.. ya know!) I’m sure it will be fine.. there is enough people in this building to avoid him, but just the thought of this party makes me a bit sickly..
    I like this post right here about reclaiming the holidays though.. Like I said, it’s helping. Making your own little traditions for your new life.. Which is something that i am also doing, which is fun..
    For the most part i am fine, and i am really happy which how my life is going in general…
    but Ugh.. why does this time of year bring back all the hurt.?!
    I kinda want to take a nap and wake up in 2012…
    Merry Christmas!!! How is your xmas going this year Catherine?

    • December 23, 2011 8:16 am

      Hi Jes,
      Thank you so much for the comment. And congrats on surviving this past year – it sounds like you are in a much better place without him. But, it’s still going to hurt. He was a big part of your life. As was his family. All the things you’ve talked about here, I totally get. Missing his family, missing the way things used to be. And I can imagine the dissapointment you felt when you texted him and he didn’t respond. That’s the worst. I promise it gets easier and easier as time goes by… and next Christmas will be easier for you. Just try to enjoy as much as you can, rely on your friends and family for support, and remind yourself of what a good decision you made on moving forward from this relationship.

      I”m having an okay Christmas this year. I’ve been a little too stressed to properly enjoy it, but now I’m trying to actively participate in the holidays. I’m thinking of you Jes – hope the work party went okay and keep us updated!


  1. My Attempt At St. Patrick’s Day « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  2. Breathing this Holiday « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: