Not Everybody Loves Christmas!
Getting Through The Holidays
Let’s face it! People in this world are as different as patches on a crazy quilt. What some love, others loathe. Most have either a love or hate relationship with Christmas. Usually thought of in terms of happiness and good cheer, the other side of that coin may be depression, sadness, stress and even embarrassment. It’s the cheerful, wonderful side of Christmas we usually hear about. Seldom does anyone delve into the other side, at least not publicly.
The expectations of Christmas are endless. Events are non-stop . . .school plays, class parties, work parties (his & hers), the neighbor’s open house, and of course the annual visit to the parents (his & hers). Not only does this add physical or emotional stress to an already stressful season, it can have an undesirable effect on finances, what with costumes, hostess gifts, gifts for a classmate and teachers, the hairdresser, dog groomer and. . .well, you get the drift. For those who love Christmas and all it brings – that’s wonderful! This article is to help those who love Christmas better understand the reasons others may be of a different opinion and for those who do not love Christmas to realize they are not alone in their wish to hibernate for the entire month of December.
Have you ever been in one of those situations where all the women at the family Christmas gathering are doing the round robin thing where one pipes up with “Oh, have you seen the 1 carat diamond ring hubby bought for me?” “Oooooh! Oooooh! Ahhhh! “, the others exclaim. Then, “Hey guess who is going to Hawaii next week?” Sooner or later they get to the woman who responds with, “Oh, we didn’t buy for each other this year”, and suddenly she is surrounded by a sea of faces with that pitying look that can be read without a word being said. The look says “Oh, my! You poor thing; you got nothing! “ She sits there feeling embarrassed, a little angry and hoping the floor will open up and swallow her at any moment.
Then there is the supposed Scrooge at work who everyone is whispering about because he/she didn’t participate in the gift exchange. Never mind that some people do not talk about their personal problems and perhaps that person was struggling to buy gifts for children in the household and provide Christmas Dinner. Yes, even such a small amount as $10 may make a difference in some situations.
We’ve all heard the in-law horror stories of things that go on during family holiday gatherings, leaving people out, snide remarks, guilt trips or someone is mad because it was the other family’s turn this year. And, of course, we all have that family member who is over worked from start to finish on family gatherings.
Some find the holidays painful from a grief standpoint. Even after 30 years, I still think of a childhood neighbor’s family every year at Christmas. One year on Christmas Eve the neighbor’s daughter had to be hospitalized. They learned she had cancer. One year later during the holidays, she passed away. The next year the same neighbor lost a sibling within two weeks of Christmas.
Whichever end of the spectrum you are on, you can be where you are without making someone on the opposite end uncomfortable. If you hate Christmas, you do have options. Simply say no. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to keep an open mind. It could be that you will enjoy that Christmas party more than you thought. If Christmas is intolerable because you grieve for someone, time may be what you need, however, you might find comfort in an annual ritual in which you cherish your loved one’s memory but also allows you to spend enjoyable time with others. It might be as simple as a visit to the cemetery or hanging a special ornament on the tree. When money is an issue at Christmas, get crafty. If you still need to say no, then do so without feeling discomfort or guilt.
If you are a Christmas lover with friends who dislike Christmas, they might appreciate a quiet visit during the holiday, just the two of you over lunch or a cup of coffee, rather than attending your open house. For the friend who is grieving, listen if he/she needs to talk. As for your Christmas Party, provide a couple of quiet spots your Christmas hater friends might utilize to get away from the crowd if they need to recharge. Either way, whether you love or loathe Christmas, be where you are in life and allow others to do the same.