I attended a virtual support group recently entitled “Getting Through the Holidays Together!” — I signed up because that’s exactly how I feel. I have to “get through” them. In the meeting, I shared my true feeling about these upcoming holidays: I wish I could just skip right over them. You know, wake up tomorrow and it’s January. Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s, all done.
I didn’t always feel this way. Growing up with a Danish mother, Yule was always a big deal at our house (and still is). Early in December, Mom would start baking her delicious Danish and Greek cookies (a nod to my Greek-American father). Aromas of butter and vanilla, cinnamon and honey would fill the house.
Christmas eve featured singing carols as we danced around the Christmas tree, followed by a traditional Danish Yule dinner: Flaeskesteg (roast pork with crackling) with gravy, caramelized potatoes and braised red cabbage. For dessert, there was always risalamande, a rice pudding served with warm cherry sauce. My mom would hide a blanched whole almond in the pudding, and whoever found the almond in their bowl was bound to have a wonderful next year, and received a small gift, usually a marzipan pig.
Sounds fun, right?
So why the bah humbug attitude this year?
A confluence of events brings me to this sad state. Health and family issues (and don’t get me started on our embattled US democracy) have complicated the holidays for us where it is hard to imagine harnessing even a smidge of a celebratory spirit. I am dreading it all.
January sounds good to me. Cold and snowy here in Chicago. A quiet time to relax and hunker down. No pressure. No expectations. For an introverted homebody like me, it sounds heavenly.
Now is the time when I would talk myself into finding the silver lining in my holiday dread. But honestly, I’m in the mood for a little wallowing. Not putting lipstick on this pig (marzipan or not!).
Now is the time when I would apologize for my curmudgeonly stance (you know, sorry, don’t mean to bring you all down). Nope. I am owning my feelings, even the crappy ones.
YOUR TURN: How’s your mood this holiday season? How are you celebrating—or not?