Christmas … Raw

Let’s Be Real

Hallmark movies and social media paint a warm and happy Christmas picture. Even the Grinch gets a happy ending. The holiday season isn’t all hot chocolate and twinkle lights for everyone though.

I wish I could write a post full of first-hand information on how to get through the holidays and beat the blues. What is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” isn’t always so for many people.

I always start the season with high hopes and try to set a cheerful mood, but I always feel like I fail … at least I let myself down. The decorations looked festive enough. The presents looked nice under the tree. Then Christmas Eve came.

All four kids are over 20. One was present for all of ten minutes. He doesn’t believe in Christmas (or any holiday really). One is married and out of the house. One had to work on Christmas day (starting at 7am). One left with friends. That one came home for the opening of presents, which we decided to do on Christmas Eve because of the other’s work schedule. Not long after the opening presents, she left again, one retreated to his room, and even my husband disappeared to resume a never-ending video game.

I sat on the couch with the TV on and laptop on my lap fighting back tears. That’s when I thought it didn’t really feel like Christmas. I went to bed fairly early and cried myself to sleep.

Back up to earlier in the day, my near-16-year-old Pekingese face planted off the couch, and something in his mouth bled a little. We couldn’t tell where exactly the blood came from. He didn’t eat or drink that night or the next morning and was jerking his head to the side in pain every time he opened his mouth licked his lips. So the next day, after making a big Christmas breakfast (and eating just a little of it), I took him to a vet emergency clinic. They also couldn’t tell where he bled from and sent us off with Gabapentin for pain and an antibiotic for his evident gum infection. (Our own vet the next day also couldn’t pinpoint with certainty what was wrong and did blood work that was to take about 48 hours but it’s now been 72 hours and no word from them yet).

By the time I made it back, I had to start cooking (and drinking) immediately. Dinner and a game after ended Christmas with laughter like any other family game night would have. The only reminder that it was Christmas was the Christmas tree lit up in the next room.

So tell me honestly, in this day and age of instant gratification, what is so special about Christmas for those who buy themselves what they want when they want it, don’t celebrate advent or attend special holiday services at a church, or live near family to have big gatherings? It’s just another day but with expectations of joy, presents, special foods, and togetherness.

Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

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