Happy Christmas
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Happy Christmas

Making the season merry despite its difficulties is a choice, and one I choose to make this year!

Happy Christmas

For the last 10 years or so Christmas time has been more a battle of good intentions than actual merriment for me. That is to say, I have always sought to enjoy the season and make it as bright as I’m able to for myself and my family, yet that has not often been the case. This year, the first in several, I decided to make those intentions actual acts.

I used to truly enjoy Christmas. I really did. Decorating the house and the memories each ornament elicited. Trying to be as Clark Griswold as I was able with the outdoor lights. Giving my family and friends awesome presents. Sharing those family moments around good food or seasonal TV classics. Going to church and rejoicing in the “reason for the season.” It was a time to look forward to, a time to celebrate.

But each year that went by, difficult life events or attitudes of others started to wear me down.

It started with decorating and putting up lights. We tried to make each a family affair, something fun to do that we could be proud of doing. But video games and other distractions made getting our children's participation more of a chore than a joy. Outside, trying to put up lights together with no enthusiasm and constant, “are we done yets?” only to be told later they thought our house looked lame compared to others. Pretty soon, outside alone in the cold, I just didn’t want to do it anymore.

We have an interesting family makeup. Long story short, we had three families to try and coordinate holiday time with. Not an easy task, and one which made for much pre-planning and running around. And it was a task made stressful and upsetting due to jealousy and an inability to please everyone. Grief would be given over who had our attention Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Feelings would be hurt, and negativity between the “sides” would run rampant. Long story short, rather than Christmas being a time for family togetherness, it became a time of family divisiveness. And a game I stopped wanting to play.

One year was particularly difficult and became the straw that broke this camel’s back. We had lost a grandpa to a sudden, and very sad death a month or so before. The pain of which was, of course, still being felt. Christmas had been a difficult day. That difficult day was capped off by, what was thought to be, a pleasant evening with extended family. What was revealed later, was that some sort of slight or offense had been perceived. Selfish and ridiculous drama. Long story short again, it created a family rift that never healed. A rift that not only split a family, but what was left of my heart for Christmas.

I spent the next few years a negative, stressed out, and unhappy man at Christmas time. I didn’t put up lights. I didn’t help decorate. I stressed about money. And I used all the previous year’s difficulties as excuses for it. My feelings and behaviors brought my wife to anger and tears. It brought my older kids to mimic me. It caused me to miss the joy and magic in my little one’s eyes. But I didn’t care enough to break free. This was about me, my feelings… why didn’t anyone understand or respect them? Because those feelings were wrong, and I was selfish.

So much has changed. Close family members have passed away. Relatives who were part of the previous drama also gone, some lost to death, others to their own life paths diverging from ours. Our kids are growing up, and we’re trying not to lose the older ones to teen angst, or the younger ones to innocence and magic lost. Trying to keep a marriage that has seen its share of struggles strong. Trying to have a happy, positive home.

I realized this year that things needed to be different, and that it was time to come out of this Christmas funk. Christmas, as it could be, would slip through my hands before I knew it if I didn’t turn myself around. I’d ruin the holiday for not just myself, but my family too.

This year, I promised to have a Happy Christmas. Everything I began to reject, everything I stopped wanting to do, will be embraced and achieved this year! I will help decorate with a smile on my face, I will put up the lights. We will enjoy our little traditions and any family we have left will be welcome. We will attend Christmas church service again. And most of all, positivity and love will rule again.

While this writing may sound more like a stream of complaints than anything else, know that I write this in the hopes that maybe someone who may be able to relate to my story will find it in their heart to join me in having a Happy Christmas again. While the burdens that can weigh down a heart in this season are real and quite powerful enemies, they can be overcome. It is ultimately a choice whether or not to allow them to stop you, or to stop them in their tracks. To all who may struggle at this time…

Happy Christmas!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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