Reclaiming Christmas: Year 1

As we know, I’ve been on a journey of “reclaiming Christmas” this year. For a quick recap: childhood Christmas’s were exhausting and honestly a little miserable and then I grew up to have some deeply hurtful and unpleasant experiences around the holidays and now I just kind of dread the whole thing (you can read all about it here). Now that I’m unmarried, I feel the freedom to make this holiday less dreadful. I get to decide what feels right to me and I’m allowed to say no to the things that don’t. I get to decorate (or not decorate) all for myself.

And now here we are. Christmas is Friday – which begs the question: Have I done it? Did I salvage Christmas? Did I redeem this holiday for myself?

The answer is, yes and no. I say no because I believe it will likely take years to truthfully “redeem” a time of year that has consistently, over 20 some-odd years, brought me anxiety and grief. This year was just the start. I’d like to continue to live out my Christmases with the same mindfulness and boundaries that I have practiced this year – and eventually, I believe I will get there. And I think I took a big step toward that goal this year! I did things differently. I created new traditions for myself. I said no to the things that felt wrong or overly draining. And you know what, it hasn’t been bad. And “not bad” is a win in my book! It is only year one of my “reclaiming Christmas” journey, after all.

My plans for Friday are very minimal. I’m going to have a slow, quiet morning by myself. I anticipate some hard and uncomfortable feelings will surface on the day of Christmas and I’m going to allow myself the space and calmness needed to sit with and process these feelings. I’m going to make myself a delicious cup of coffee. I’m going to have my journal nearby in case journaling feels right for me. I’m going to go for a long walk with my pup and enjoy the outdoors. And then I’m going to go see my family for a Christmas lunch.

It’ll be slow. It’ll be calm. It might feel uncomfortable, but I think it’s exactly what I need this year.

And here’s the most important part: I’m not dreading it.

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