I always say that Christmas is such a difficult and lonely time for so many people. I always feel so torn at Chirstmas between struggling with some of  my own painful memories (and worrying about everyone elses) and wanting to create the idea of a perfect Christmas for my own children. It is like an internal tug of war between my grinchiness and that sickenly sweet Mrs. Claus (the cute, young, kinda slutty Ms. Claus not the withered, grey haired one).

For most people , Christmas is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. Lights, gifts, food, parties. But for others it can be a dreaded time of loneliness, pain, even desperation. What people do and feel the rest of the year, seems to get magnified at Christmas. Christmas is a time of excess: spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much (for some), and being additionally emotional. A part of why things can get so dark at Christmas is because so many “supposed-tos” and “shoulds” appear. The police officers in my life know that Christmas day is a busy day for domestics.

This year I found myself actually full-on annoyed, pissed off really, when in some stores the Christmas parefenelia was out before Halloween was even over! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have beautiful and truly magical childhood memories of Christmas. But my parents divorced in the year 2000 and I haven’t felt the same magic at Christmas ever since then. It is almost like some of my memories were dashed as my dad headed out the door.

As a teacher, I have known so many children who, on the last school day before the Christmas holidays, are staring down the long, dark, lonely barrel of a less than picturesque Christmas. Whether it be from divorce, economic difficulties, substance abuse, or a combination of these they are not building wonderful memories with their families. Many would rather stay with the comfort of routine and consistency at school than face being at home over the holidays.

There are a lot of lonely adults at Christmas time as well. So many people are grieving from death or divorce. There are also a lot of disenfranchised people that are living on the fringes of society. Christmas just reminds them that they are alone. I have a good cry during the holiday season for all of the people that are lonely.

So, I tend to dig my heels in when it comes to Christmas. I am late to decorate. I am late to shop. I don’t even bake Christmas cookies. The clutter of decorations gets under my skin. I look around on Boxing Day and I am just itching to take down the tree and tuck it all away!

Now, this isn’t easy to do when you are married to a Christmas lover. When my husband was done hanging our outdoor lights last year the neighbour actually yelled over, “Hey, Griswold!” Our house is a red and green environmentalists nightmare! My husband also insists on bringing Christmas tack into our home. Two years ago he came home with a sparkly ceramic Santa boot that had a fake fir tree in it. He even went so far as buying cheap-o little balls to decorate it with. Soon after that, the battle o’ the boot ensued. I would tuck it away only to find it back on the piano again. I even resorted to stuffing it into the garage! I hope that he doesn’t read this post and remember the boot because I am planning on conveniently forgetting to bring it out this year.

I have decided, with encouragement from my husband, to try to embrace Christmas and all its accoutrement so that my children can build wonderful Christmas memories. When I look back on my childhood Christmases they were truly magical and I want my boys to feel the same way. It has been in recent years, that the holidays have been a bit sad for me. So, I have to make an effort to stuff my sadness down (or go to the bedroom for a quick cry) so that my boys have a wonderful day!

The last few years, I have been reminding myself that I am building new memories with my kids. Some of my birth family’s traditions have been lost but I am building new ones with my own family now.

“So, when Santa squeezes his fat, white ass down the chimney he is going to find the merriest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. Hallelujiah, holy shit, where’s the tylenol?”