Now that the holidays are finished (almost) I thought I would take some time to sum up my feelings about the holiday season. I was particularly reflective this year throughout the whole season. I am not sure why, but hopefully it’s all worth sharing. If you get bored, you can always stop reading and play a game on Facebook.
I love the holiday season for many reasons, and I hate the holiday season for many reasons. I will alternate between the loves and the hates in order to be true to the title of my post.
First, decorating the Christmas tree is the best experience ever. I usually do this solo while my husband and son are outside putting up the lights. Decorating the tree is a walk down memory lane and I love every minute. Each ornament is a memory of a year gone by. I look at the yellow Teletubby ornament and remember when Nick was just a toddler and loved the show. I see our “Just Married” ornament from 2004 and wonder how it’s been almost 11 years now. I see the soccer ornaments and remember the days when soccer practice and games ruled our schedule for many months per year. I guess I prefer doing this alone because I can go as slowly or quickly as I like. I can put my favorite ornaments on the front of the tree and my not so favorite ones on the back.
But, I hate the time and effort put into decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, and celebrating for only one month. It takes an entire days, sometimes longer to get everything set up and ready. It seems like a lot of work for only four short weeks of enjoyment. The month of December seems to go by quicker every year and before I know it, it’s time to take it all down and put it all away. It is a let down to say the least.
I love that people seem to be nicer to one another during the holiday season. It truly feels like hearts open up and give and give from Thanksgiving to New Years. There are heartwarming stories on the news and numerous events that allow ample opportunity for people to dig deep and help those that are less fortunate.
But, I hate that the spotlight on neediness is brighter for only six weeks. For some reason, it feels like people are so generous for a short time and then forget about it the rest of the year. I myself am guilty of this for sure. I am guessing that the neediness isn’t any greater during the holidays, however, the giving dwindles greatly from January-October. It is quite shocking to hear of food drives, toy drives, and donations outside of the holidays. Why aren’t those bell ringers out in front of the grocery store the rest of the year?
I love the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Everyone wants to get together and be together during the holiday season. Some of the best family memories and stories seem to come from holiday gatherings.
But, I hate the unrealistic expectations put on so many over the holidays. I hear many complaints of families who nose dive into turmoil over where to spend the holidays, who to spend the holidays with, and even trivial details over what to eat and when to get together. There are a couple of lessons I have learned over the years. One, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Festivus, or whatever the celebration, doesn’t have to be on the EXACT DATE! Coming from the wife of a firefighter who has worked the last 3 Christmases straight, it doesn’t matter! Celebrate when you can. Two, be flexible! Especially if you’re a parent with adult children. If I ever get the opportunity to spend the holidays with my son as an adult, I will allow him to choose the time and place that works for him. The best gift you can give for the holidays is freedom from guilt! One of the MANY reasons I love my mother is that she never pressures us to fly thousands of miles to Florida for Christmas. She also never caves to my pressure to get her to Colorado for Christmas.
I love having two weeks off!
But, I hate ONLY having two weeks off! It is a long haul from January to June. When I was going to school, winter break was 3 or 4 weeks at least! Whatever happened to that idea? I am never quite ready to head back to school right after the new year!
I love celebrating the birth of Jesus. It’s so amazing to me that so many people celebrate this around the world. It transcends geographic location, gender, class, race, and culture. It unites humanity in a way that no other celebration seems to do. Not to leave out those of other religions. Non- Christians may not believe that Jesus was the son of God, but many still acknowledge his existence as a prophet. Even though historical records point to Jesus Christ probably being born somewhere in the month of April (yes, the history geek in me emerges), we all love the story of Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph, the savior of the world being born in a stable on a cold winter’s night. It is a story that has been told for thousands of years and an event celebrated for just as long.
I hate that my birthday is two weeks after Christmas. I just can’t compete with Jesus and by the time my birthday rolls around, people are birthday-ed out! I know, I know……I shouldn’t complain. After all, I was actually due on December 25th. I should just consider myself lucky not to have to share the actual day with Jesus, but, I somehow, still feel ripped off. Mark my words, in my next life I will be born a summer child!
Last, I love the beginning of a new year! It feels like another chance, a new opportunity to live my best life. It sounds cliché, but having cancer has taught me not to waste time with regret and worry. I admit, I am better with not having regrets than not worrying. Those who know me well will tell you that I still worry more than I should. I guess I could make a resolution to not worry so much……BUT…….
I hate New Years Resolutions! I don’t think I have kept one in my entire life! I have stopped making resolutions and started setting goals. Goals are good if they’re realistic and reachable. A resolution, well, just the name makes it sound way too difficult for me.
Thanks to everyone who kept up with me and my blog during 2014. I know I don’t always write about my cancer and health, which was my original intent when I started this blog. However, I guess I thank my lucky stars to be in a position to write about things other than my cancer. It’s really a good thing when your health is too boring a subject to warrant an entire blog post! But, a quick update:
I saw the oncologist and received my infusion on December 22nd. I requested to NOT have a scan until March since there are no new symptoms or indicators in my blood work that would send me running to the PET Scanner. The doctor agreed to wait. I hope I don’t regret the decision to not push for a scan, but I think I just needed a break from the scanxiety and worry. I am still suffering some uncomfortable side effects from the new medication. I have arthritis like symptoms that are mostly tolerable, but do give me some bad days here and there. Otherwise, I lead a completely “normal” life! Normal is good!