I have racked my brain trying to remember what Christmas was like after the age of about fourteen and the truth is that I cannot remember. I was more than likely in a black-out drunk state for the entire month of December, year after year. The month of December has typically involved a month-long mental health breakdown with a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and a dark shadow cast over.
I was twenty-one years old when the childhood-like magic of Christmas came back into my life. I dated someone for four years who had full custody of his two kids and were one and four years old when I met them. I got along well with his parents and was invited to Christmas dinner every year. I have delicious fond memories of roasted duck and green beans with bacon. I met his Grandma one Christmas and I remember her telling him that she would put in a good word for him when she got to heaven. It was the most sincere thing I had ever heard.
I bought a small Christmas tree and ornaments for my boyfriend and his kids and we decorated the living room and dining room. The kids and I made paper snowflakes and hung them up along with pages cut out from colouring books that I gave them. For the most part, celebrating Christmas during those four years was really nice and in some ways reminiscent of Christmas during my childhood.
Like alcohol had a tendency to do with me, I often drank too much and lost control. During our last Christmas together, I got a little too mouthy and caused a bit of a scene at his parents, which I felt really bad about afterwards. It was neither the time nor the place to speak my mind. What got me so riled up? Bratz dolls.
My husband had the pleasure of seeing me go completely off the rails and turn into a blubbering mess during our first Christmas together thanks to too much wine. We were together for two years before our daughter was born and those Decembers were really tough for me.
I have been able to enjoy the fun and festive moments sprinkled into December over the years and I put myself out there to help create some of those special moments. The Christmas Cheer Board is near and dear to my heart. When I was about eleven years old, two years after my dad died, someone organized a hamper for us. I remember being really excited about the large teddy bear, homemade crocheted slippers, and chocolate.
Fast forward to December 23, 2021: I had a life changing “Aha!” moment as I hugged my husband and whispered to him how grateful I was. We celebrated our little family Christmas early because of work schedules, something we do every year. A couple days prior, I was in a FUCK CHRISTMAS mood and yelled about stocking stuffers. I declared that I was DONE with Christmas and proceeded to sing a song about punching people in the face to the tune of Deck the Halls.
My husband took care of getting the stocking stuffers. Truth be told, it felt really good to have something taken off my plate. As a way to distract myself from the heavy emotions I carry during December, I have insisted on checking all of the boxes by myself on our Christmas To-Do List and I never asked for help. I now realize that this greatly contributed to my annual month-long spiral.
We played Monopoly after enjoying sushi for dinner and opening gifts. I felt connected to what was happening right in front of me instead of my head being off in some dark cloud. The Christmas spirit inside of me felt rejuvenated and how I feel right now is what I have longed for all of these years. I finally feel at peace.