I know I am not alone in this when I say that the holidays make me very emotional. I love the traditions and the lights and the presents and the food, but ever since I can remember, there has always been a twinge of sadness that accompanies Christmas. When I was 12, I woke up to a snowy Jersey Christmas morning, sat in my grandparent’s living room, and just sat in silence. Christmas was “Mom’s holiday” (Thanksgiving was when I’d stay with Dad), and I remember my mom, who was so frustrated with my attitude, saying, almost to the invisible spirit of Christmas, “Well, I guess this is the age when the magic ends, huh?”
Lord, I was furious with her, but only because I had no words to explain the emotion I was feeling. The magic hadn’t “died”, Mother. It was my first moments of seeing Christmas for what it was: benchmarks of time passing and memories that I will never relive. I knew that I’d grow up, and start new traditions, and leave my family to start my own, and I’d have to watch my mom grow old, and I couldn’t stop it. I knew that there were people in the world who were not celebrating, but rather mourning loved ones who have passed. I knew there were families who were suffering so deeply, and yet with all this misery and pain in the world, who was I to enjoy a holiday?
Since that Christmas, I’ve tried my hardest to embrace the present moments for every holiday. But some years, I cannot escape the brief waves of raw sentiment. Recently, I found myself crying on my morning commute as I was listening to the new Kacey Musgrave’s Christmas song, Christmas Makes Me Cry. I resonated SO much with her lyrics, particularly her last verse:
// Seems like everybody else is having fun
I wonder if I’m the only one
Who’s broken heart still has broken parts just wrapped in pretty paper
And it’s always sad seeing mom and dad getting a little grayer
And they always say, “Have a happy holiday”
And every year, I sincerely try
Oh, but Christmas, it always makes me cry //
If you struggle with holiday sadness, do not fear. You are not alone in this. I try to use this time to celebrate loved ones who have returned to the spirit world. I celebrate the life that I have created for myself. I celebrate the family that I still have near me. I celebrate the potential for tomorrow. I welcome the sadness, but remember to celebrate my ability to honor that sadness and embrace the holidays as more than just a benchmark, but an opportunity to laugh and appreciate.