Do you enjoy the holidays?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I really try to, but I always feel kind of down around the holidays. After all, it's supposed to be family time and our family is so small. Usually we have two "celebrations" (very small) in Chicago with daughter and one at home...just hub and the two kids. It doesn't really FEEL like a holiday. Just feels like any other day.

    Do you love or like the holidays? Are you indifferent? Do you love AND not love the (a little of both.)

    How are you feeling about the upcoming holiday? :) Why not share?
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I loathe this season. I can't put on a happy face, so many awful, destructive things have happened to me, to all of us, due to undiagnosed, undealt-with mental illness. Everyone is dead. I miss my aunt/godmother H. I miss my mother in law. I feel like a freak because I don't get all warm and fuzzy about it all. It doesn't help that husband was born on Christmas day.

    This evening I saw a woman fall on the sidewalk, she was carrying a little child and was accompanied by a toddler. She screamed when she fell (that's how I spotted her). No one stopped to help. We were turning left and had to keep going. She just crouched there, clutching the toddler. I felt so helpless and shocked that those who were in cars next to her did nothing. We are all so untrusting of each other, even during this holiday season.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have always had a very hard time with Xmas itself. Im pretty sure this had to do with the fact that I am an only child and most years it was only my parents and me celebrating alone. Some years we did go to my dad's family up north and I loved it then. But that all stopped when I was 15. After I was grown it has always just been my small family. We included my mom with us on the actual day itself and then saw my dad normally the week before or after. Still...I normally was always putting on a good game face for the present opening and then I went and hid in my room the rest of the day. Tony has always done the cooking for the holiday meals...both Xmas and thanksgiving. I hide. Most likely this year we will be at Cory's and I will put on my brave face and try to act like I am thrilled. Its what I do.

    I know I should be happy. I have good kids, a home I own, cars I own, food, etc. I am. I just dont do well this time of year.
  4. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Janet, how interesting that husband and I are also only children. I wonder if the isolation has something to do with the lack of warmth.
  5. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    I more than loathe the holidays. I flecking hate Christmas.

    I hate it more than I do toxic in laws, I hate it more than anything on this planet. This year I hate it even more than that. It's just one big trigger because this time last year I was that stupid, naive housewife that was being cheated on two Christmases in a row with no idea it was happening. I found out on Jan 12\11 exactly what I was thought of - not worth the honesty and integrity of our vows.

    I was thoroughly humiliated, embarrassed and stepped on. Yeah so holidays....not at my best on the holidays. I put on a fake smile, laugh a fake laugh and that's for the kids. On top of that, the holidays were never cheery happy happy with a dysfunctional and cold family growing up in the first place. Just one more thing to have cr-p on me and kick me in the teeth while I'm down.

    I'm cranky tonight. *sigh* What a party pooper I am huh.
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    The malcontent are finding each other, LOL!
  7. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Mamaof5, I think you're on to something for me. This season is supposed to be about trust, about knowing where one stands in one's family and in this world. I'm sorry you've been c*****d on.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Christmas is my holiday. It's the only one I truly get pleasure out of. Halloween is ok........but nothing compares to xmas.

    As a kid xmas basically svcked from every angle. We got to spring clean type clean the house just so we could put up mom's idea of decorations.......fake tree, red and blue glass balls, too many icicles.....and silver garland around the ceiling also with red and blue glass balls. About as bland as her xmas cheer. There were few presents under the tree and none of them were ever what you wanted or asked for, usually they were second hand or underwear. whoopee! So one stopped believing in santa rather quickly, otherwise you'd have to think you were a really bad kid, because surely Santa couldn't get it wrong every xmas. Then if mom wasn't being paranoid over her family members we might get to eat at the big family dinner, but usually she was being paranoid so we didn't do that but a few times. And other than plenty of good food.......that made it worse when you were little to see cousins get tons of gifts when you got squat.

    But as a kid I somehow learned to make xmas special despite all that. I honestly dunno how. But I'd wait and wait until I saw the Norelco Santa commercial every year and Rudolf on tv along with the other specials and I swear I lived vicariously through them. Swearing the whole time that I'd have xmases like I dreamed of as a kid when I became a grown up.

    Since husband and I moved 2 states away from my family shortly after we married, it was basically just us. We did spend Christmas day with his parents, sometimes his brother and family, but usually with just his parents. Sometimes, ok just about every darn year, my mom and step dad would visit at xmas too. But I worked hard to make xmas the special holiday I wanted.......and not just that day but for the entire month. I still do.

    This year with husband having been gone only 3 months there is a big gaping hole. I want to rush to him with my xmas finds to listen to him grump over the money I spent while his eyes twinkle, because it was all an act. But I can't do that anymore. The other day I watched the Bishop's Wife alone, tears swimming in my eyes. On xmas eve I'll watch It's a Wonderful Life for the first time in 28 yrs alone. It's what husband and I did every xmas eve which was our "2nd' anniversary. (we divorced / remarried on dec 24th) We'd sit with the lights out and the xmas tree lights on drinking my homemade hot cocoa and munching popcorn. Why will I watch it alone? Because that movie reminds me we're all here for a reason, and to appreciate what we do have no matter what happens.

    Travis and I spent all day wrapping gifts. Children's gifts are finally all wrapped. Adults hopefully won't take too long as I want to finish the cleaning with plenty of time to bake if I want to. While I do these things my house is filled with xmas carols blaring. Oddly I've found you can laugh and cry at the same time.

    I dunno. I suppose most people would say I don't have a whole lot to feel merry about this year. And in some ways I don't I suppose. But I've found that the magic that is xmas doesn't just wash over a person, you have to work at that magic so the teeny spark can develop into an outright flame. I don't know if it's attitude or what. I didn't start the season thinking I'd get much pleasure out of it. But I made myself get started, and do many of the things I normally do and it just happened the way it always happens.

    For all the 11 other months out of the year I'm a bonafide pessimist to the nth degree. December comes and I'm all about the magic....... No, not everyone has it. And sometimes you have to look really hard to find it, but it's there. 3S I feel for that young mom who fell and no one helped her. But I can counter that with the woman in walmart who spent thousands of her own dollars paying off total strangers layaway bills so they could have xmas, and others who followed suit. And those who give so heartily to Toys for Tots, food pantries, churches, individuals they know in a meager attempt to make someone's life a tad brighter for at least one month or one day out of the year. For the month of December I simply refuse to see the bad in the world and focus totally on the good.

    While I don't have husband to share my xmas with this year, I do have my wonderful children and grandchildren and my furbabies. I don't have much in this world, but what I do have is priceless.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. I was afraid to admit how lonely I feel at Christmas, but I guess it's ok.

    When I hear about big family get togethers I just want to cry. There is nobody but the four of us. There is nothing that makes the day special. My grandson is in Missouri. My sister and oldest daughter are in Illinois. My father is 87 and in Illinois. My mother is dead. My friends are all involved with their own families. I have a tendency to be depressed, even on my medications, and I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy. I wish we could afford to go on a fun vacation for the weekend to distinguish the holiday from just any other day, but we don't have the funds.

    Hound Dog, you have a great attitude, even with the sadness and loss you have suffered. It gave me some strength and made me feel like a big baby too. And it's true that people do both good and bad things...can't always focus on the bad. I tend to do that. We did give a few toys to Toys 4 Tots this year and usually give a dollar to the Salvation Army bell ringers. Nobody else in my family is depressed by the holiday. I have to try to get over it.

    Bah humbug :) But, really, it's NOT funny.
  10. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    To me it is stressful. I work hard to make it "cheery". Bake, traditions, gifts, decorate. My mom and dad always did a good job but it ended when they were divorced. I was 17-no more celebrations after that. Really no more close family. Our family is small also. We don't go to in-laws since we found out about abuse to difficult child-that was a stress anyway. The only thing I love is the singing in my choir and my own school choirs I direct. I dread the week after-feel kind of down always. We always bake and give to the neighbors and always do some charity. The neighbors don't send goodies anymore and noone stops in for a visit either. I have tried not to think on it and just be cheery for my kids and their friends that sometimes hang out because nothing is happening at their homes. I wonder how to change all this. Maybe a trip to a warm place next year and avoid all the hype and let down???
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We don't "do" holidays - not any of them.
    Even if we wanted to, it wouldn't work.
    As it is... it takes every hour of every available break from school, just to re-charge kid-batteries and get ready for the next onslaught.

    We DO enjoy the break... time to be together as a family, and do things we don't usually have the time or energy to do.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa...I love most of the other holidays better. I think I have a harder time with Xmas and thanksgiving mostly because its wintertime. I also have a huge problem with receiving any sort of gift so that is always a problem for me. I love giving them though. I wish all the grands were here so we could do all the holidays.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think xmas is so special to me 1. because I really don't get much out of the other holidays and 2. because even as a young child it gave me hope that life could be better than it usually was. As a kid I needed that hope very badly, which is why I think I hyper focused on xmas. The other holidays could easily go by totally unrecognized by me and I'd be fine with it. I do Easter and Thanksgiving for the grands period.......and the halloween party finally gave me something to look forward to as far as halloween because that holiday was totally dying off for me once my kids were past trick or treating age.

    I still have issues with receiving gifts too. lol Giving them is a whole other matter.

    I don't expect everyone to feel the way I do about xmas by a long shot. Sometimes I'm amazed I still feel the same way about xmas as I have since I was little.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I love Christmas... But...

    In the last few years it's been really hard to find my Christmas spirit. I love putting up lights... But husband doesn't... So my penguins aren't even out this year. I could do it, but... :sigh:

    I love being able to find really good gifts. I despise the "gimme" that the kids do. Jett is starting to understand gifts for others, but usually he wants to go into his toys and give those to us. No offense, son, but husband and I have an entire shelf of toys he gave us gathering dust. There's no thought behind it. He did better this year. I have an annual angel hunt for my Mom - for several years, it was a tradition for her to give my Grandma an angel. Well... Grandma passed on Dec. 21, 2004. And I began giving MY mom angels. Some homemade, some bought... It's getting hard to outdo myself!

    But... The whole trying to get the kids to help me decorate the tree, repeatedly yanking husband from his computer to help, making all the food... Pfft. It's not fun when no one else is interested! I clean, I plan... They could not care less... Until they realize it's December 23 and there are NO GIFTS UNDER THE TREE. (This is because the cat chews the paper, but... I haven't had the oomph anyway. They're wrapped.) And Jett is STILL adding things to the list of what HE wants. Onyxx wants this, and that, and buy me this because I need it NOW, um, can you wait till Christmas and see? BUT I NEED IT NOW. (Not a need, a want, by the way.) The whole gimme gimme gimme gimme really grates on my nerves.

    I'll be honest... I loved sleeping on my parents' sofa, getting up whem Mom did, drinking coffee and staring at the tree till Dad woke up. Maybe having some breakfast. The leisurely thing that made sure it took well into the afternoon to open all the gifts, and there weren't that many. Even when I had to work, or the first few Christmases with husband and the kids.

    Onyxx is being good right now. Of course! But I still didn't sleep well with her upstairs. I highly doubt she's going to do anything right now, she certainly does NOT want to go to juvie. It's just PTSD. husband is cranky, not sleeping well, not really feeling well, stressed out. I'm worried about him.

    I love Christmas... But this year... I just want it to be OVER.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I used to love it. For some reason I vividly remember the first year I was old enough to shop all by myself for family gifts and I have never been more eager for the 25th than I was that year looking forward to each of my gifts being opened. That was sixty years ago, lol, and it was my favorite Christmas. Truly I enjoyed the holiday when the kids lived at home and we developed alot of traditions just for our family.

    husband has "issues" from his erratic childhood and never has been "into" the spirit. In the last few years I'm just letting it ride and this year I haven't done one thing. No reason to manufacture the environment for those who don't really care. I feel a little sad about the void but am accepting it as a life change. on the other hand, I am very happy for those who are psyched up and enjoying what I used to enjoy. DDD
  16. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    When I was growing up, Christmas was very simple. It was just Mom, Dad, my Sister and Me. Dad was active duty and always took duty on Christmas Day so that his men could be with their families. So, Christmas Eve was our family Christmas. We'd go somewhere and while we were gone, Santa would come. Then Christmas Day it was just Mom, Sis and me.....and the one time that we got to talk to family on the phone!! (back in the olden days when you couldn't afford to talk on a phone). It was a wonderful time.... but I always wanted a HUGE Family Christmas.

    Then I married husband and we had HUGE family Christmases and I hated them. husband was still an active Alcoholic. mother in law is the wicked witch... couldn't discipline Ant at her house... mother in law would spend $100 each on the difficult children and maybe $10 on easy child. husband got mad at me if I was offended by that. OH and we had to do both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at MILs. I hated Christmas at that time.

    About 8 years ago, I put my foot down and told husband Christmas Day was for MY parents and we stopped going to MILs on Christmas Day. My Christmases got a little better. I suffered thru Christmas Eve, looking forward to the peace of Christmas day. That Day was so enjoyable. No pressure, no problems, no nothing except unconditional love from my parents and the joy of being together.

    Then 3 years ago (husband's first sober Christmas) I refused to go to MILs even on Christmas Eve. I was done with all of it. Well, husband wouldn't go without me....and standing up to Mommy-dearest made him so sick. He spent both days throwing up. It was growing pains for him.

    I now love Christmas again!! It's a lot of work for me. I spend 2-3 weekends doing nothing but baking. And it's worth it. I mail boxes of home-made goodies to husband's Aunts in California. And it makes them SO HAPPY! You'd think I'd sent them a million dollars. And then husband's Aunts that are local start asking husband if I'm going to bake for them again this year. They, too, love my baked goodies. I like making people happy. It makes me feel good and so worth the work.

    As soon as work gets out today, my holiday starts. Steph is going to spend the night so we can celebrate Christmas with her tomorrow. Tomorrow we will let Steph and easy child open their gifts. We will go visit my parents so they can celebrate with Steph. We have a Christmas Eve party to go to with some of husband's Aunts. Christmas day, we will celebrate with my parents again but this time with Ant.

    There will be sad parts, like how we couldn't get Ant a really nice gift. We had to get him things he couldn't sell or pawn. And seeing how bad of shape he's gotten in could be sad too. But, husband and I have decided to be happy no matter what is going on around us. And in spite of having to put on a wedding reception on Monday, it will be a good weekend.

    I have a lot to be happy about this Christmas. husband and I have jobs. We are still very much in love. Even though our immediate family is split apart with Ant living in his druggie world and Steph having found herself a nice foster home.... they still want to see us on Christmas. That is wonderful. For me, Christmas comes down to finding love in my life, no matter where it is found. And it's found in a cold nose in my face every morning followed by that quick tongue with the wet kiss. And the beating of a tail on the floor from the other furbaby waiting her turn to say good morning. It was in the cup of coffee husband delivered to me this morning (he got home from work as I was my alarm was going off). It's in the greetings from my co-workers in the morning. It's that rare smile from a stranger in the Mall. (I actually like going through the mall and smiling at people. Very few respond back, but when someone does - it's wonderful - it's like a gift exchange with a stranger). And I find love in the strangest things my car starting every morning when I get in it. To me - that is a blessing - because it would be a bad day if it didn't.

    Someone told me once that people get caught up in the Norma Rockwell picture of what a holiday should be. But to remember that that picture is a one-second still shot of that holiday. You can't see that Uncle is Drunk or that Mom & Dad aren't talking because of some fight or that one sibling is kicking the other under the table. Each and every family has their own issues - the trick is to enjoy life in spite of it. And that is what I try to do.
  17. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I guess I am in Lisa's camp. Christmas wasn't always stellar growing up - There were a lot of us and so money was scarce, I had horrible asthma and almost every single year ended up in the ER sick, often sleeping the day away. Then my birthday was two days later, again into the ER, sometime my b'day was forgotten completely, ugh. Just not always nice memories.

    However, as an adult, I love love love this time of year. Not the jerks on the road or in the stores, but the overwhelming love and joy of GIVING. There are Christmases that we don't spend together and H and I are alone - that's okay because it's still nice to see the lights, wave at neighbors, smile at strangers, and continue to give. Give give give and it's better than receiving any gift in the world!

    I love Christmas and Halloween and New Years - they are, for ME, times of renewal, love and joy. I would not want to relive my childhood Christmases, but I do love them now.

    H is a big Humbug - he hates Christmas and it has a bit to do with his own family 'issues', but it's also because he feels compelled to go nuts and spend lots of money...which I tell him every year is not necessary. And I mean it.

    Keep it simple, begin your own traditions that bring you joy. If you love to be around lots of people, volunteer your time at a Christmas event for children, go carolling at a nursing home or children's hospital. There are so many ways to spread the joy, which, in turn, will bring you joy.
  18. jal

    jal Member

    Christmas was always a special time growing up. I was very blessed with supportive, loving parents that are still together and a brother who I love and have always gotten along with. My mother would make a special xmas eve dinner and we'd get to open a present, as she commented the other day usually new pj's so we looked good for photos, haha.

    The next day we'd wake and open gifts. Then mom would prepare a big dinner for both sets of grandparents and my great & uncle. After that we'd hang around and play with our toys etc, then open presents from the grandparents. In late afternoon all the uncles, aunts and cousins would come and my mom would put on a buffet and more present opening would take place.

    Those were the best times and it was that way for many, many years until the cousins got older and had families of their own or moved. So now the celebration is much, much smaller. We've held it at our house, but usually go to my parents. We will visit and have dinner with mother in law and her husband on xmas eve. This year our large group is now only 6. So my parents, my grandmother (who is the only living grandparent I have left, she's 93), husband, difficult child and I who will have dinner on xmas. My brother lives on the west coast with his wife, they always call. husband is an only child and so is difficult child. The cousin I am closest to, who is like a sister, lives the furthest away with her daughter who is a year younger than difficult child. So no kids for difficult child to play with on xmas like I had growing up.

    It will be quite and difficult child will want to get back home to play with his new things. Luckily, my parents live a minute up the road by car.

    I have found it harder each year to get in the spirit, usually do to what I've been dealing with for the past 9yrs of difficult child dom. Yet I have to say this year is good. difficult child is doing so, so well and is much easier, most of the time, to deal with. So I have been looking foward to xmas. I am looking foward to a 9 day vaca from work and the look on difficult child's face on xmas morning.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know, looking back after reading all of these posts makes me remember more of our Xmas's. I think maybe I did enjoy them more than I actually realized. LOL. While my mom was bad she did do some things that were good in between that I carried over into my family. One of them was our Xmas eve drive to see all the lights and then home for oyster stew and hot cocoa before bed. I also got new pj's that night. My grandmother always sent me my xmas present about a week or so before xmas when I was little and my mom would let me open it as soon as it came. Her theory was that I would play with that gift for the whole time and get more fun out of it and keep from being so anxiety ridden over the presents under the tree. It worked. That one present probably was just a small thing...a few small dolls or something but I played and played with them for hours.

    I really looked forward to the oyster stew and I have looked forward to oyster stew every year of my adult life. I never have it any other day. I could. I am perfectly capable. I just dont. We did it with my boys too. Now when they were little ones, we used tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches or chicken noodle soup. When they got to be about middle school aged they started with the oyster stew. Now they do it too. Or I know Jamie did it the year we were there...dont know about years we arent. I suspect he has to buy a can of oyster stew for himself because Billie wont eat anything fishy. I know Cory loves it so it will probably continue in his house. We have done this with Keyana when she has been here...the lights, the pj's, the cocoa, the soup. I am thinking the soup probably came from the fact that my dad was My family just has no idea thats why we do it.

    I only have vague memories of my childhood Xmas's. I think I remember 3. None awfully bad but I think its odd I only remember 3. I do know that I have fond memories of my later teen years of getting together with my best friend and driving around to see if we could spot people in the richer neighborhoods to see if folks got Thats what we did on Xmas day. But that had to be at 16, 17.