My therapist wanted me to write what Christmas means to me, but she wanted me to do it after the holiday. I see her Thursday, so I thought I had better get on it. Of course, I don't really know how to put it in "what Christmas means to me terms," so I'll be doing it my own way.
First off, fuck this. I fucking hate this because every time I've tried to think about what I might write, since before Christmas and then very much so tonight, I've cried. Quite a bit. Especially tonight. So, just so everyone knows, I fucking hate this.
Christmas was a lot of fucking work. It was putting up Christmas decorations with my mom, with no help from my step-dad because he's a Scrooge. It was making cookies and food. It was cleaning like crazy because we were having family over and you can't have the least little bit of dirt if family is coming over. It was shopping and wrapping presents and never having enough money. It was final papers and final tests. It was a week of crazy, rapid cycling mood changes. Of having to take breaks from my studying so I could cry for no reason I knew and then of being so hyped up that I couldn't sleep, even when I was done cleaning and studying.
Christmas was always sad. I always felt this sadness, this incompleteness. Even before I had a context, I always knew that "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was a really sad fucking song. At least half of Christmas tv episodes made me cry. Still do. Christmas is the end, the last holiday of the year. Your last chance to get it right, which I never felt like I did. I got to see so much of my family but it only highlighted that I didn't live with them anymore. But it wasn't all bad.
Christmas was stolen moments. Stealing moments with friends and boyfriends, whenever the two of you could get away from family. It was trying to hang out with my uncle as much as I could. Cold car rides. "We're going out for a soda. Be back in a few minutes," only we were never back in a few minutes because it took us 20 just to find a store that was open. That one year it was searching everywhere for Crystal Pepsi. It was the Saturday Night Live Christmas Special on Comedy Central. It was sneaking a daiquiri or margarita in the kitchen with my grandmas while my mom was in the other room. It was spending the week between Christmas and New Years back in [the suburb of the Moderately Sized Midwestern City] with my grandparents. After Christmas shopping with Grandma. Getting to visit with the other kids I was in daycare with. Staying up until midnight with my grandpa every New Year's Eve. The neighbors shooting off fireworks or just banging pots and pans around in their front yard at midnight.
Now Christmas is, well, shit, I don't really know what it is anymore. It's still decorating, how the lights outside and the tree still make me feel, even if I have to do it alone. It's still making food. It's still buying presents, how it makes me feel when someone opens their presents. It's still Christmas music, even though I tend towards the newer and alternative, instead of the traditional. It's still about the Christmas movies and the Christmas tv shows- Scrooged, Gremlins, Rare Exports, Buffy's "Amends," the House show with "a Jew with antlers," Dr Who's "Christmas Invasion" and each year's new Dr Who Christmas Special. Oh, and the Grinch. It's still a sadness. It's still working over the holiday, this time because we aren't leaving town and Dad is on call, so I might as well. In years to come, it will probably be required of the job.
I don't really know what it means. To me, it is certainly not the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior, as I have none. While I try to believe as my uncle did, that it's time off from work to spend with your family and friends, a time to come together and celebrate, even if you're only celebrating for the sake of celebrating, it sometimes seems to fall short of that when I feel like half that family is missing, when the family that remains is so small. I try to keep how he felt about it alive in my heart, however, so it remains something more than just a way to mark the year as it slips by.