I have been thinking about how to write this post & what exactly it is that I want to say. I’m not 100% sure if I can get my thoughts out correctly, but I am going to write it anyway because this has been weighing heavy on my heart/mind for a few years now.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I grew up in a family where everyone came together for breakfast, gifts, naps, fun, & dinner. Christmas was always magical & I used to become super excited as a child. I wasn’t just excited for gifts…I was excited to have visitors, time with family, a sense of belonging…
I remember watching out our windows (even on non holiday days) for someone to pull into the driveway & visit. To this day, I become slightly excited when I have a visitor! Quite frankly, I wish people would still just stop by my place for a surprise visit once in a while…
I noticed how Christmas changed the older I have gotten. I constantly look forward to it, but feel depressed when it ends. But why? The magic has left…
Do all adults feel this way about Christmas? Is it truly just another day?
SAY IT AIN’T SO! I have felt this longing for that childhood Christmas magic for several years now & it breaks my heart. So, I literally googled “why don’t I feel excited on Christmas day?”. I came across a blog & the answer I found made sense. But, before I share my “googlized” answer I want to say I know a lot of different factors play into this not so magical feeling (some personal & some normal).
Googlized…The answer I found was about us adults getting to spend our money all year round. There literally is no such thing as delayed gratification when it comes to Christmas gifts anymore. This makes total sense to me! As children, we had no responsibilities & didn’t have to work for things we wanted. Instead, we got to choose things based off of commercials, window shopping, or magazines & hoped to get those cool, expensive things on Christmas day or our birthdays! Delayed gratification is a beautiful thing & that truly is what made Christmas “magical” as a child. As adults though, we either spend money instantly on whatever we want or whenever we save a little money. Gifts aren’t “magical” or even meaningful anymore since we treat ourselves/each other throughout the whole year.
Now, I completely agree with the above googled answer. My husband & I usually save a little or just go buy the things we want & when Christmas comes around we just get each other things we know we’d buy otherwise. For instance, he bought me some expensive makeup & a bluetooth speaker I’ve been wanting. If he didn’t buy these things, I had already planned to go buy them anyway. There are some things I didn’t get as gifts that I plan to buy eventually.
That being said, Christmas is not about gifts. As children, we looked forward to that & the thought of Santa Claus bringing us fun stuff to play with. I still just look forward to spending time with family.
Work. I have had to work Christmas eve & Christmas day for the past 3 years. Luckily, someone covered for me last year. I have worked multiple different shifts during the holidays these past few years & that definitely “ruins” it for me.
Snow. I could have sworn it always snowed on Christmas when I was a kid! Hell, listen to all of the Christmas music…songs about snowmen, cold weather, snow, sitting by the fire, etc. Oh & movies…the dreaded Christmas movies! They’re always filled with snowy joy! I only recall 3 “white Christmases” as an adult & that SUCKS. Snow literally made Christmas seem magical! Looking back, I know it didn’t snow every Christmas when I was a kid, but when you’re a kid you think the whole winter time is Christmas so when it did snow you probably associated that with actual Christmas.
It has been warm these past few Christmases & I live in PA. I hate when it doesn’t snow & when it’s not cold on Christmas! The weather literally has tricked my mind into not feeling the Christmas joy. I hate it.
The last time I recall feeling the true Christmas magic was in 2012. It snowed Christmas eve & we had a huge feast with my biological sisters & their families. That year was a great feeling. Then, Christmas day was decently white & enjoyable with my family & my husband’s (we went to 3 different families that year).
Missing Family. I have lost several people throughout the past 7 years. My mom in 2009, my brother-in-law in 2013, & my sister in 2015. I also lost a nephew this year (but he wasn’t really a part of our holidays). These three people were a huge part of the holidays. They made the best foods, were very festive, & just brought joy to the holidays in general. Those who know me personally know that I love & adore being surrounded by people. I absolutely love the families that I do have, but since we are missing family members I feel this also takes away from the holiday spirit for me. It just isn’t the same. I cried again today on my way to work. I miss my sister…my mother…my brother-in-law. I actually miss my ex brother-in-law too (he & my sister divorced 12 years ago).
Older. I don’t want to admit this, but I do feel the older you get the more holidays just feel like a hassle. I don’t want to feel that way. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been in grad school, working, & busy with other stuff that holidays are just another chore on my list lately. I hope 2017 changes that.
Children. When I googlized my question, I also found someone’s comment about kids. They said, “Have some kids! They bring back that wonderful feeling!” I do not have kids yet, but I agree with this. I watch my nephews & nieces open their gifts & play together & I can’t wait to have that. I cannot wait for my future kids to wake me up early in the morning to start our Christmas shenanigans.
Having Multiple Families. I know everyone has their own traditions & we all don’t get to be a part of it together on Christmas, but I cannot wait to have a bigger home so I can take over Christmas! My goal is to invite both my families (the one who raised me & my biological one) & my husband’s families. I mentioned before that I love being surrounded by people! Currently, we have to do separate days to enjoy time with my two families & do not get to spend time with my husband’s family on Christmas.
How do we get that Christmas magic back?
Regarding gifts & delayed gratification, I believe surprise gifts (to me & not everyone I’m sure) would bring some of that excitement back. Last minute Christmas lists suck because it is already expected. Husbands & wives (or any family members) should make a secret list of all the stuff others tell them they want/like throughout the year…just like we did as children! When Christmas comes around, we can be surprised about said gifts because I can guarantee some of the things we wanted in February was forgotten about by December.
I can’t do anything about snow, but my sisters & I have discussed the possibility of renting a log cabin in another snowy state around Christmas time! We can always have a white Christmas if we rent a cabin somewhere cold & snowy & decorate it however we want!
Work is always challenging, but can be changed in my own personal life. I won’t be at my current job next year & will hopefully have a job that gives off on holidays. My husband & I plan to have children within the next 1-1.5 years. This might help with the Christmas magic feeling, but only time will tell. I can’t do anything about getting older nor about my missing family members. They will always remain in my heart & mind & I must continue on until it is my turn to leave the earth. The last thing I WILL change is the multiple families scenario. Now, I know not everyone will want to join us on Christmas day & that I cannot control. However, the minute we have a new house I plan to invite every single family member in my life to join us.
I currently make a big breakfast for my dad & husband, but want to have that for my families. I want people to come over in their pjs & enjoy a huge brunch. I want people to just chill at our place, take naps, play games, etc. & stay until Christmas dinner is over. If they want to leave in between brunch & dinner, that’s fine too! I literally want my house filled on Christmas day, damnit! (but I refuse to have 10 kids to make this happen, haha)
I am tired of Christmas feeling like “just another day”. If someone were to ask me to describe Christmas in one word it would be togetherness!
It’s not about gifts, rather, loving one another & being together. I had to edit this because my sister pointed out how I didn’t mention Jesus..the true reason for the season…
As a therapist who loves psychodynamic & cbt, I began to think about where my thoughts & feelings surrounding Christmas came from. The story of Jesus definitely plays a part in it because people gathered around. I also know (already mentioned) part of it is my childhood where our house was always full on Christmas morning. Nowadays, we travel places instead of spending a full day with people. For me, this has taken away part of that togetherness feeling. I am not wrong nor right to have these feelings. My feelings, however, are valid & one day I will bring that feeling back 😊
Stay tuned for my rant about New Years Resolutions LOL