Picture it. You’re 8 years old, and it’s Christmas Eve. The tree is lit up in bright colors in the corner of the living room, snow is starting to fall, and TBS has started their 24-hour marathon on A Christmas Story. There’s presents under the tree, with the promise of a few more hopefully in the morning as Santa should be on his way. You can just feel the spirit of Christmas in the air. Mom and Dad tell you to head on to bed, because Santa can’t show up until you’re fast asleep, so you scurry off to your room and pretend to be asleep, waiting to hear the jingle of bells and snorts of reindeer on the roof until you’ve actually into a deep slumber.
Sounds like a Hallmark movie, right?
Thing is, this is how Christmas felt to me at 8 years old. There was a sense of giddiness felt when Christmas Eve and Christmas Day got closer and closer. There was so much anticipation in the air from everybody, because Christmas Day was when family got together and just had fun. Parents got to see the excitement in their children opening gifts, feeling the pride of a job well done when we screamed, “This is EXACTLY what I wished for!” Back then, Christmas was more than a holiday, it was a feeling.
So what happened? Am I the only one who feels like the magic of Christmas has diminished as we have gotten older? Here is it, December 22nd, three days until the big holiday and it is the most un-Christmas feeling I have ever felt. Sure, I felt a little bit of the giddiness as I was shopping for gifts for my family and friends, but it soon evaporated as I wrapped said presents and stuck them under the tree.
Am I turning into the poor version of Ebeneezer Scrooge?
For me, Christmas Day is just another day, as I have to pull an 11 hour shift at work from 1pm to midnight. So by the time I get done with the day, Christmas will be over. My family has always celebrated and had dinner on Christmas Eve, so that we can be with our own individual units the next day. As me and my cousins have gotten older, some have gotten married and a few have had kids of their own. So I’m sure that giddy, anticipating feeling of Christmas is well and alive in their families.
Is it because I’m going through a divorce during the happiest time of the year? Because it will officially be 6 months to the day that I decided to leave my husband, thus allowing me by Virginia State Law to file for my divorce. That in itself should be a reason for me to celebrate. Not to mention I have a loving and supporting partner right now in my life, plus my parents who have graciously allowed me to move back in with them while I sort my life out. I have great friends, great co-workers, all who are bouncing with Christmas cheer. Those reason in itself are the main reason to celebrate the Christmas season.
But for some reason, something deep down inside is just not in the holiday spirit. And that’s okay. This evening, I’ll get together with my friends and we’ll exchange gifts and have a “Friendsmas” celebration. I’ll put on a smile for Christmas Eve dinner, watch as my second cousins rip into their presents, eat a lot of food, and prepare for my long shift the next day. (At least I’m getting paid overtime/Holiday pay, which will make for a sweet check in January). Fake it to you make it, right?
And next Christmas, I’ll try to find a way to bring back that giddy, anticipating feeling back because let’s be honest, I miss that feeling.