Merry Christmas, I Hate You

THE Relationship Blog


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Without putting much thought into it, what are some words that you think of when you think of the holidays? Now, close your eyes for a second. I know you can’t read with your eyes closed but indulge me. I want you to remember a particular holiday and tell me the feelings associated with it.

Many of us look at the holidays with a powerful ambivalence. Each of these supposed opposite emotions pulling for rights to regale or ruin the holidays. The holidays bring a lot of repressed feelings to the surface and we walk around like sore thumbs or bull’s eyes waiting for someone to set us off. Whether we tend towards tirades or tears, the holidays are not just jolly but downright awful.

Have you ever wondered why? What can be so bad that we dread a time of year that we get together with loved ones, exchange gifts and make merry? First, there is a certain bravado to dismiss the holidays outright. Calling them commercial and over the top is like calling rice white. Of course it is! Guess what, so are birthdays, weddings and pretty much any celebration. So let us completely dispense with the absurdity of calling Christmas commercial.

We grew up writing letters to a man who lives in the North Pole with elves and reindeers and he selflessly goes out every 24th of December and delivers these gifts to the kids. This concept is at the core of the disillusionment of a child. We wholeheartedly believe that good is rewarded and that there is selflessness on this earth. When we learn the truth, it is not just the killing of a Christmas illusion of Santa and such, it goes much deeper. We pierce the veil of innocence when we let them in on the secret.

Each year we approach the season with these mixed feelings. This time of year, for just a short time, we are the people we all wish we can be. We are giving, loving and wistful. We allow our inner child to play a little, wish a little and sometimes, when we aren’t watching, we also are hoping that Old Saint Nick noticed we were good. You can deny it all you want but we aren’t wrong.

Our inner child is a powerful little bugger. The trauma of the holidays creates a permanent emotional scar. Every adult has a Christmas tear jerking story where Santa never gave them an Easy Bake Oven or Mom and Dad fought. Whatever your story is, this is where the wound begins. Throw on top of it the disillusionment of the ‘truth’ and we are talking about a smorgasbord of triggers in a group of trigger happy individuals who are also wounded.  The holidays are a magical time regardless of what you are celebrating. If you are a Christian, this is the time of the birth of the Savior. If you are a Jew, you celebrate the gift of light, something so simple yet so profound. Others celebrate the abundance of life or rebirth through the death of nature. Or maybe you just believe some random fat guy brings you present because you were good. Regardless, it is a time of magic. The death of magic is the death of innocence and this is a wound that does not heal easily.

So now you understand why people are less than jolly during this time of year. So, in your best Christmas spirit, hug random people and tell them you understand their pain. Better yet, hug your family and friends and know that tensions are high because triggers are on the surface. There is nothing we can do about this but heal and know that innocence is not lost but misplaced. Feeling the exhilaration of magic is attainable. When we love, we allow that childish joy to consume us. So let this season be about the love. Forget the insults and passive aggressiveness and just love one another.

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