I hate Christmas. There, I said it.
I. Hate. Christmas.
I know, you love Christmas. The masses of you who had your trees up the day after Thanksgiving; lights twinkling away for passersby on the street. You love to shop for just the perfect thing. You play your Christmas music with such joy. All you want is to share your joy of the season with others.
Don't try it with me.
Christmas is nothing but triggers and panic and shame.
I understand, as a Christian, I should find this a celebratory time.
Nope. Nope. Doesn't quite work that way.
Oh, I can hear it now… I'm missing the point. I'm too self-centered. If I can't think of someone other than myself at this time of year, what good am I?
"It's not about you, Marisa."
I know. Truly.
I have 2 good Christmas memories. One was my 8th year, and yes, it was the gifts I received… not simply because I loved them but mostly because they'd been painstakingly handmade by Mum & Dad. The idea that handmade items are special because of the love in their creation is something I've believed my whole life. They were tangible expressions of something I craved to the exhaustion of everyone around me. Playing with raggedy ann was as good as the rare hug. The wood of the doll cradle reminded me that my hard working Dad had love enough to take the time and effort to make something for me. The cradle kept me company when he'd be away for a month or more.
The other good memory is the only time the kids and I ever surprised Charlie. That's a story for another day.
Not a lot of Christmas cheer for 49 years of living.
Too much of the holiday is cloaked in a suffocating blanket of shame. Not enough. Not grateful enough, not good enough, not considerate enough, not quiet enough, not reverent enough, crappy gifts, too needy of attention, and somehow not enough and too damned much all at the same time.
I was never able to give anyone around me the joy I wanted them to feel because it's hard to give something you don't have.
Never giving what was wanted. And I don't just mean gifts.
And let's not forget the sheer number of times I ruined something by just being me.
Never enough. Too much. Entirely unable to find a neutral zone between the two.
Honestly thought I could give the kids enough good memories they'd cover over those of my childhood.
I can be so naive.
Pretty sure they're just as fucked up by it all as I am.
I'm sorry will never be enough.
There are fleeting moments, usually in a song, where I feel for a moment or two that joy that's otherwise so lacking. But then the song ends… or becomes an ear worm that entirely sucks the spark of joy right out of existence.
Yes, I'm a Grinch. My heart is 2 sizes too small at Christmas.
Sure, maybe I should let myself off the hook. It's also possible it's barbed and I wouldn't survive the extraction.
Better not chance it.
Thinking a little less emotionally, there are other good memories. Less Christmas Day moments but rather events of the season. Family moments with Charlie and the kids and grandkids.
Still, the visceral reaction to Christmas remains unchanged.