Yes, the title is ironic.
No, I’m not a total grinch I swear, maybe just a little messed up, as he says. Hear me out, dear readers.
The holidays are hard. They are. Any grown adult who denies this is probably hiding from something in a giant pile of tinsel somewhere watching “The Christmas Prince” 18 days in a row. Maybe someone hurt you, maybe you’re missing all the people who can’t be with you this season, or maybe you don’t have a family to spend the holidays with. Even if you have all your idealistic ducks in a row, maybe you’re just feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for everyone around you. A good friend of simply said the other day that the holidays are hard because “this is the time where you are supposed to be happy.” The whole damn commerce-driven world demands it of you. Wear the sparkles! Buy the people you love presents! Wish everyone “Happy Holidays,” it’s nice! SMILE!
When you work in a customer-facing field (to put it lightly) like I do, it’s imperative you screw that smile on tight every morning. I make holiday small talk with people, but often wonder what’s really going on with everyone else. Do they feel the same way about the holidays as I do? While we’re busy trading cookie recipes, did they lose someone or something they cared about? While we’re playing the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on repeat, who are we trying to convince? We’re here covering things with Christmas lights and pretending that everything is merry and bright and whatnot. Everyone gets swept up in the holiday momentum, and it’s easy enough to blend in with the crowd. As much as the holidays are a reminder of the good things in life, like spending time with friends and family, giving to other people; the not-so-good things often loom on the other side. January is, of course, the magical time where everyone gets their sh**t in order, right? Almost no one I know enjoys January, but we’ll all cross that bridge when we come to it.
All ranting aside, the thing I’ve come to realize is that, no matter where you are in life, you have to A: take a deep breath, and then B: make the holidays your own. Don’t let other people’s expectations ruin what should be a nice time, regardless of your circumstances. Take the focus off of yourself and do something nice for the people you care about. Give yourself little projects, like decorating the house, baking something delicious, or volunteering. Aside from baking and the occasional festive cocktail, I’ve really been enjoying my tradition of making original and slightly inappropriate Christmas cards. (This one won the year for me. Current life status: Emily.) Plenty of people can relate to feeling like the holidays aren’t for them. Each year I make my cards on Shutterfly, I struggle with finding designs that don’t insist on making my last name a plural or forcing me to introduce a whole group of people. What am I supposed to do with this?! “Happy holidays from Eva, her shoes, her glass of Zinfandel, and this Christmas tree”? Well… that’s actually what I do, so that’s sort of a bad example.
I’ve reached the point in my life where the holidays have become a time where I get to celebrate the way that I want, if it’s laughing at myself or just hibernating with a glass of wine and my little Christmas tree. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about how you…well, do you.
Hang in there, dear readers. Happy holidays.