When I was a young warthog (you didn’t think I’d pass up at least one Lion King reference in 2019, did you???), I remember watching my mom and grandmother fuss about the holidays. They would be all like, who was going to cook what, who all was coming, where would Thanksgiving and Christmas be—it was a really big deal.
I remember watching my grandfather make the turkey or the duck (depending on the year); I remember him taking me to Honey Baked Ham to pick up the ham. I remember how much I loved getting dressed up to go to the living room, or to my grandparent’s living room—whether it was only my grandparents, my mother, and me; or a much larger number of family and friends. I remember all the hustle and bustle. I remember the holiday spirit.
At least, I think I remember that.
It feels different as an adult, as a mom, as a wife. Ever since I became a mom fifteen years ago, I feel as if I’ve had an up-and-down, love-and-hate relationship with the holidays—a relationship status that did not exist when I was younger.
On the one hand, I love making Christmas cookies with my kids. I enjoy teaching my daughter how to make certain holiday dishes. I still absolutely love doing the whole matching PJs thing with the whole tribe (me, mom, stepdad, brother, and all four kids). But today, as an adult, I just don’t feel the same love for the hustle and bustle.
I do not like surrounding myself with people that I do not like just because it’s the holidays. I really don’t feel like dressing up to go nowhere. I can’t stand all the extras that come with this time, anymore. I know that sounds like “bah, humbug—” but it’s the honest-to-God truth. All I feel is meh-and-blah.
As an adult during the holidays, I find myself fighting against the overwhelming meh-and-blah feelings; especially because it feels as if—rather than doing things that I love during this time—I am doing things that everyone else deems to be important, and I’m forced out of my own space. I find myself not wanting to talk to people outside of my household, all so I don’t have to answer the question, “what are you doing for the holidays?”
I feel an overwhelming sense of pressure to perform up to standard—a standard I don’t even know the measures. And most of all, admittedly, I believe that my holiday meh-and-blah is coming from the extra weight that I feel from the pressure of society to do what I need to do during the holidays—despite a lack of extra money and my own struggles with depression. Blah! Bah, humbug! Grinch stuff!
It really just feels different.
For Thanksgiving this year, I kept it simple. I bought a honey baked ham, I taught my daughter to how to make real macaroni and cheese (even meh-and-blah don’t let me resort to boxes of Kraft for the holidays), I helped her make apple blossoms via Facetime with my mom, and I supervised her in the annual pumpkin pie making. I had a nice quiet Thanksgiving meal with my husband and kids, and I vegged out on TV while they played video games. That should be fine!
Why do I feel like I underperformed?
For Christmas this year, the older two of my four children will go visit their respective Dads. The house will be more empty than it was for Thanksgiving. Therefore, I am going to be a radical; and I will only do the things that I love to do and want to do. All the rest of that ish is going in the trash! I will release myself from the societal pressures of holiday performing, and I will just do me.
I am going to have some non-traditional fun with my youngest two children over the Christmas break. I will spend my Christmas day with the hubby, in matching pajamas, pigging out on our favorite foods. I might even bake some cookies. But I don’t know if I wanna do a tree. I don’t know if I wanna decorate. I don’t know if I want to lock myself into doing any of the usual stuff. I just want to be free to create memories, to share love, and to enjoy my family.
Maybe that will cure my holiday meh-and-blah feelings. Maybe this new attitude will shake me up, and help me to recapture that holiday joy, And if not, next year I’ll just tweak it again. I liked that feeling, and I want it back. As an adult, I’m going to just keep readjusting the holidays my way, until I’ve gotten back to my young warthog ways.