Taking Back Christmas

Hello everyone and happy holiday season!!

I love the holidays, and if you are like me, you are humming Christmas carols, checking people off of your shopping list, and waiting "patiently" for the Christmas season to start. This year I have three Christmas', which means lots of food, laughter, and lots of gifts to be swapped. I. Am. So. Excited. 0.0

However, if you had talked to me three years ago my outlook on Christmas would have been quite different. Growing up I loved Christmas, but after working the holiday rush at Target for three years I must admit that my holiday spirit was incredibly dampened. Instead of a time to enjoy people and connect, Christmas became something to dread and be critical of. Instead of appreciating the holiday giddiness that surrounded me, I grumbled and called the shopping stupid and got frustrated at all the little silly things people do when holiday shopping/returning their earlier holiday shopping. Christmas music became annoying- not so much because of the stress of working late night retail over the holidays, but more because I was in choir and we started singing holiday tunes in October and by December I had become tired of hearing holiday jingles.* In total, my holiday joy was crippled.

And the worst part was, it took me a while to realize it. I couldn’t see the changes, because, like many changes, these ones started out small. A grumble here. A murmur there. A shared laugh over a sarcastic Christmas themed joke with co-workers. I didn't notice that what I really loved about Christmas was slipping away from me. I still had fun buying gifts for those I cared for and spending time with my family. I told myself that I was still infused with the joy of the season, but I wasn't. It wasn't that I turned into a green Grinch or was cruel to those who hadn't had their holiday spirit dampened, but I had become blind to the magic and the joyful glimmer that surrounds the season. I no longer focused on the positives, and the negatives became a source of constant irritation.

But I did eventually realize it, and for the past two years I have been working to take back Christmas. Being out of direct retail has helped, but what really helped was me making a conscience effort to harvest the positive aspects of the season and use them to counteract the negatives. So this year I started humming Christmas tunes in July (which was probably a bit too soon) and started my Christmas shopping in August (the Christmas crowds stress me out a bit, so thank goodness for internet shopping). I am looking forward to my three Christmas celebrations, to spending my first Christmas with Bob's family this weekend, my second Christmas with my immediate family and with my 'not really blood related but you are my family' family (you know who you are), and my third Christmas with Bob, my dear friend Cathy, Anne, Darrin, and my parents. I am looking forward to learning the holiday traditions of others and enjoying my own. I am "patiently" waiting to see the looks of surprise on Anne, Darrin, Bob, Cathy, and Bruce's faces when they find their stockings and open their gifts. For the laughter and the "oh you shouldn't haves" and the "oh no, really I should haves." I am excited to team up with my Mother and Brother (if he makes it for Christmas eve *fingers crossed*) to convince my Dad that we really do open one gift Christmas Eve every year. To wake up on Wednesday and jump out of bed and race around the house excitedly calling everyone to the tree, to see my parents purposely insist on waiting to open anything until after they have brewed fresh coffee and had a cup and a bite to eat, to pretend to be annoyed by their purposeful delays. I am taking back my Christmas spirit, and immersing myself in everything the season has to offer.

How are you taking back your Christmas spirit?

(Sneak peek of a portrait series of my brother)

-AK

*P.S.: I loved being in choir and in no way am I trying to discourage people from participating in choirs or practicing Christmas music. I fully understand that choirs practice the compositions early because they want to perform them perfectly for their audience, and I think that is wonderful. Unfortunately, at the point in my life that I am currently referencing, I was struggling to remember those things and to appreciate the beauty and magic of the season.