Where Are You, Christmas?

Cirque du Today14 Comments

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I may be more like a child than my own children when it comes to saying goodbye to Christmas. Even though some old-school Catholics like my mom believe that Christmas doesn’t truly end until after the feast of the Epiphany (when the wise men came to visit), I personally am not an old school Catholic (shocker). So I start feeling my post-Christmas depression around about TODAY, the day before school begins.

I don’t know about you, but childhood never feels very far off for me. Of course I’m an adult now with kids of my own, but I’ll never forget what it was like to be a child. And to be a child on a Sunday, any Sunday in the fall, winter, or spring, was the worst time to be a child. Today feels just like a Sunday. No matter how much you liked your teacher (I didn’t), or how popular you were (I wasn’t), or how you excelled at school (I didn’t), there was always a mild depression that moved in on Sunday and hung there like an ominous storm cloud ready to burst open first thing Monday morning.

If Sunday was the worst day to be a child, Christmastime was the absolute BEST time. The magic of Santa anticipation, the glow of lights, the smells of cookies baking or cinnamon sticks or pine from the Christmas tree, the sounds of jingle bells in almost every Christmas song, the taste of a multitude of treats – everything looks, sounds, tastes, and smells beautiful, and best of all to a child: there is no school. No early bedtimes, no dark and dreary mornings, no homework, no navigating the confusing social waters of one day Susie likes you, the next day she doesn’t, no struggling to fly under the teachers’ radar so they won’t call on you because you NEVER know the answer to the question, no watching the clock slowly tick by until it’s 3PM and you can go home for a few hours before this torture starts all over again.

Christmastime is not the free-for-all for adults that it is for children. In fact, we all know that it comes with many more responsibilities and hurtles like shopping, Christmas cards, wrapping, baking, cooking big family meals, and cleaning up big family messes. Sometimes it comes with anxiety about money, bills, arguing with your husband, or fighting with your inlaws, or fighting with your own family. But I still love Christmas. As tiring as it is, that childlike part of me still looks out the window with wonder at the beauty of it all – the comfort and the nostalgia that wraps around me like a warm, woolen blanket. There were nights during this Christmas season that I walked around my decorated house, gazing at the Christmas tree and peering out at the lights in my yard, and like a small child overwhelmed with emotions she can’t quite put her finger on, I wanted to break down and cry.

Today, the last day of Christmas vacation, I want to cry again. It’s over. Back to life, to routines, to schedules, to early mornings, to homework, to listening to the kids whine about their kid responsibilities, back to adult responsibilities, which were never really gone but just buffered for a while by the promise of the joys of Christmas. Time to take down the tree, pack up the ornaments, take down my precious “exterior illumination,” put away the stockings, and do it all with a hole in my heart that won’t be filled for 358 more days. When my boys fought off their tears tonight at bedtime, I comforted them and said all the positive things I’m supposed to say. I drew out their childlike optimism and reminded them there are other occasions and experiences in life to look forward to. But when I turned out their lights and walked out of the room, it was my turn to fight tears . . . because nothing compares to looking forward to Christmas.

 

Where Are You, Christmas?

14 Comments on “Where Are You, Christmas?”

    1. Ashley

      Awwww, thanks for subscribing, girl! I have been slacking on this poor blog, but I think of it every day. This morning I was determined. xoxoxo

  1. Amy

    I could not agree more! Love this one!! I am officially swallowing that lump until my alarm goes off tomorrow morning!!

  2. Jo-Anne

    I love Christmas but at times it passes way to fast, I like to leave my Christmas decorations up till the new year not like Tim who wants to take them down on Boxing Day

    1. Ashley

      I still haven’t taken them down, but my husband usually wants me to take them down right after New Year! Not this year…I’m going to start tomorrow but slowly, slowly Thanks for reading, lady! xoxo

  3. Alyson

    Dear sister, you are an amazing writer. I really love this piece, because you were able to articulate the very same feelings and thoughts I have had post -christmas, especially today- Sunday and back to school- double whammy! I imagine so many others who read this post today will identify with it as well, and be comforted by it; and therefore , ready to face tomorrow. We got this sis!!! Xo love you

  4. Drew Clarke

    Heart-warming post. Why can’t certain family members behave, stifle their instincts, and just try not to fuck up everyone’s Christmas? They are like the cankerworm. They come around once a year for a few days, eat everything in site, shit everywhere, give you a migraine, and leave it to you to clean up their mess.

    I have a less maudlin view of Christmas but I won’t share my thoughts here lest I dampen the warmness of your post.

    1. Ashley

      Did you not have a good Christmas or are you just referring to my mention of family fighting? 😉 Never fails for me, but who knows, it may be my fault. (Doubtful. Lol). I hope you and Jess had a good Christmas, despite all the shitting and migraines. 😉

  5. Holly Rizzuto Palker

    Yeah, it is sad to take down the tree. We did it this past Sunday way before the epiphany (to my italian-catholic mother’s chagrin). Jazzed things up with some showtunes. Kids hated it but my husband and I had a “Rent” reunion.

    1. Ashley

      Well that sounds like a fun way to do it! I took everything but the tree and outside lights down yesterday. I still don’t want to face it! Thanks for reading. 😀

  6. Drew Clarke

    Our Christmas was fine overall and it sounds like you and your family had a good Christmas. I was responding to your comment more in a general or historic context. I just have to deal with the same shit from the same people every year and it is tiresome. Some of our family members and the family dynamic in general has changed since my father and her mother passed away and since my mom remarried. This year, mom’s well-crafted emotional wall cracked just enough to make it clear to Jessica and me that she doesn’t really lover her new husband Tim. I had already suspected as much and surmised that mom married him to avoid been alone during her golden years. He’s such a nice guy and really loves my mom. He called me before Jessica and I left for GA asking for my advice about how to deal with mom’s….idiosyncratic behavior. I feel badly for him.

    You don’t have to answer this but what causes the discord in your extended family during Christmas? How do you handle it? Have you discovered anything that helps subdue or temporarily mollify an irascible family member?

    I wanted to thank you for all of your support and your unconditional friendship during 2015. I hope our friendship continues to thrive and that your 2016 is filled with love, joy, laughter, and personal and professional success. Know that I am always available if you need anything.

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