Posted by: sarahswati | December 15, 2009

I Miss Christmas!

Recently, I was helping my Dad go through boxes of old Christmas decorations he has in storage, trying to decide which ones to put up this year. He seemed to enjoy the process a lot more than I did. I suppose it comes to something like this for everyone eventually, but looking through those boxes of memories, I couldn’t help but feel sadness and longing for the past.

There was a time when “the holidays” which I tend to think of as being from Halloween to New Year’s, was my favorite time of year. Everyone seemed to be happier at that time. The world seemed to be relatively festive and full of goodwill. I suppose this was partly due to a youthful, naïve view of things and partly due to the fact that my family was into holiday celebrations when I was a child. Though, not religious, my family took part in secular Christmas celebrations, embracing the spirit of giving and spending time with loved ones.

My parents divorced when I was about thirteen. They went through a necessary, beneficial time of change in their lives and my sister and I were swept along in their wake. For whatever reason, about that time, the way my parents celebrated the holidays started to change. I’m sure some of the evolution was due to the fact that my sister and I were no longer little kids. Part of it, I think, was due to the fact that my dad’s spirituality was more pagan than anything Christian-like, and indeed, he began to have smaller, pagan-based rituals centered around the Winter Solstice, rather than Christmas. My father (my other parent), also, is not really spiritual or ritualistic at all, so I think he maybe never really saw the point of celebrating holidays, though I don’t really know for sure. (And, yes, I have two male parents… one I refer to as “my father” and the other as “my dad”. I’ll be talking more about this in future blog posts.)

Anyway, over time, I began to feel like I didn’t really have a family anymore, even though I still saw my parents and sister frequently. (My sister and I lived with my dad after the divorce.) This has increased some since my sister and father now live in Beijing and I don’t see them anymore, except occasionally via Skype (and that’s another future post… *sigh*).

It’s kind of funny, actually, this longing for togetherness… any kind of “family”. I have a group of friends that get together periodically, especially around the holidays, and while I basically don’t like going to big parties where there are a bunch of people I don’t know (as there always are with this group, though the core group remains the same), I always look forward to going there (it’s usually at the same friend’s house every year). I actually feel more at home in that house than anywhere else and am always really reluctant to leave once the party’s over.

This feeling of family-lessness… of, I think, a lack of feeling “at home” with a group of people who care, has been compounded by the fact that my own life as an adult hasn’t progressed at all the way I’d hoped it would, especially in the area of family. I’m 36, not married, and don’t even have a girlfriend (and I hardly ever really have) and though things have started to get slightly better over the last few years in that area, it still seems like I will likely never find someone to spend my life with. I am a very loving person and a romantic, so this feels like a great chasm in my life and it haunts me. Add to that the fact that l have a great desire to have children (yes, in fact, to bear children… this is becoming a veritable table of contents of future blog posts!)… and you can see how things like Christmas decorations, which remind me of love and family and togetherness, make me sad, angry, depressed, and full of longing for things I seemingly can’t have.

So, basically I’ve gotten to the point of hating the holidays altogether. I don’t even like to look at old Christmas decorations. I can handle new ones, I guess, particularly candles, since I’ve always loved those, but anything that brings to the surface this love/hate thing I have with the holidays is really just… bleah.

So, at any rate, I hope you are all having happy holidays… because I’m sure not. Someday, I hope to figure out how I can get back to enjoying them again, but right now I just don’t know. If you have any ideas, I’d be happy to hear them.

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Responses

  1. Sarah,

    Wow, this was a great read and one I can very much relate to. The holidays can be such a tough time, especially when it seems that everyone around you has a better life than you. I know the friends’ home that you are speaking of, and glad you at least have that. I hope to visit there one day myself. The owner of that home is a great person. :D

    The only thing I can think of that may help is volunteering somewhere. Maybe volunteering with Meals On Wheels or at the hospital visiting kids that are bed bound. I am not sure how you go about doing that, but helping others in some small way would probably do wonders. Not only would it make others feel good, but it would make you feel good as well.

  2. Thanks, Chris. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something like that. Maybe it would help. (And it’s a great idea in it’s own merit, anyway.)

    And yes, that person is wonderful. I’m very glad to have met them.

  3. It’s common for humans to focus on the things that bother us and other negativity but if we take the time to stop and take stop of our lives, there is *usually* more positive than negative. It’s also hard to realize and recognize that but I hope you can find some positives in your life Sarah. I enjoyed the post and look forward to what’s to come. :)

  4. Thank you, Hal. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do have a lot of positives in my life and I do try to focus on them; it’s just that this time of year gets me a bit down. I’ll get over it. :)

  5. Hey Brian,

    I went through a period in my life where I also hated the holidays. I had two Mom’s rather than two Dad’s but still struggled with similar feelings. My other Mom had died, I wasn’t getting along with my family, and I was divorced and single. I agree with the post that stated you should do some volunteering. That was the only thing that got me out of my “funk”.

  6. I had similar feelings to those you describe all through my twenties and thirties. Some of us take a lot longer to find our way than others. I can really relate to feeling a void over the holidays. My mother had a female partner for over 20 years, so I’m naturally curious about what it would have been like to have come from a family of origin with two mothers. I believe that things will change for you, and that the ability to put yourself out there as you do is one of the things that will bring about the change. You’re an amazing person, Sarah. I very much look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

  7. Thank you for the comments, Darlene and Alison! :)

  8. I meant that I am naturally curious about what it would be like to grow up with two parents of the same sex…..and I hope you’ll blog about it.

  9. Ah, I see, Alison. Well, my mother did not transition to being my “dad” until a few years ago, so I didn’t really grow up that way, but I am planning to touch on his transition in a future post or two.

    • I’m blue, too, Sarahswati. My own family isn’t very sentimental and since leaving home, I haven’t felt like I have a “home” at all–I’m married to a military guy so we move constantly. It was fun at first but as I pack boxes for yet another move, (and he’s leaving for Iraq in a few weeks) I am feeling greatly sorry for myself. Dealing with holiday traffic doesn’t help. So here’s to you and me, sad grinches both, and let’s promise to do something nice for ourselves in the New Year once all this holiday hoopla is over!

      • Thank you for the kind thoughts, Debra. That sounds like a great idea. I hope your 2010 is better!


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