Tag Archives: Holiday Stress

Just Like the Ones We Used to Know

I think the magic is gone. I don’t know how to find joy in this holiday season anymore. I’m trying to put up a good front on the outside, but I’m a regular Bah Humbug on the inside.

And aren’t we kind of set up for this from the get-go? We believe in this guy Santa, then we are told he doesn’t really exist, then we watch a million movies where grownups don’t believe in him but end up converting back to believing in him. Then we lie to our kids about him and recreate the whole fantasy, only to have to watch their crushed faces when the sad realization that he’s a myth sinks in.

The expectations are so high. A White Christmas, a kiss under the mistletoe, friendly gatherings with delectable appetizers and drinks in festive glasses, finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list, making crafty decorations, trimming the tree while listening to Christmas music, baking artful cookies that look too good to eat. Feeling all holly and jolly and gay.

At least I feel gay. But that’s only because I am gay.

So with only 9 days left I’m not really counting on holly and jolly. I wonder if it is better to be a person with low expectations, so you feel surprised and happy when something good happens, or to be someone who gets their hopes up, gets excited about all the possibilities, only to have reality fall short.

Maybe it’s better to be Jewish at this time of year, eating Chinese and going to the movies. Or is the glare of the Christmas season intrusive, annoying, demoralizing to everyone?

The irony–I love Christmas. I still have that child’s wonder and hope inside. I still want glistening snow and twinkling lights and a deep blue midnight sky holding the promise of magic.

But I will settle. For minimal dysfunction and weight gain, for the smell of pine tree in the family room, for a hug from my kids, for a bank statement that doesn’t give me angina, for yet another candy dish from a coworker, for a moment of silence and peace and goodwill to all. Just a moment.

And do I even hope to write in the midst of all this? To grapple with a scene, discover something new about a character, nail a section of dialogue, fix my improper use of tense, fall into the writer’s trance and surface with new material?

I do hope. Sometimes I even believe.


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