There’s something missing from Christmas this year. It’s not quite right. There’s an element gone, something that’s been there in the past that is casting a great void upon this season. What is it? What is that one thing I’m so accustomed to that is not part of this Christmas?
I’m not frenzied. I’m not panicked. It’s a weird feeling but it’s a good feeling.
I’m concentrating on spending the day with my family, enjoying each other’s company, eating a good meal, playing some board games and just having a nice day, a day on which we just so happen to exchange some gifts.
The gifts are not the meaning.
Yes, it’s nice to see a kid’s face light up when he opens up what you bought him. It’s nice when you give your boyfriend his present (early, because that’s how we roll) and he seems genuinely touched by it. It’s nice to be wearing a new necklace and headphones. But all that shit has become inconsequential to me. I’d have a Merry Christmas with or without it.
I spent most of my life avoiding people, avoiding interaction and gatherings and talking.
Now I’m at a stage in life where I want to make up for that. I want to be with my family. I want to enjoy time with my parents. I want to laugh with my sisters and play with my nephews. I want to see aunts and uncles and cousins I hardly ever see anymore.
I’ve finally learned to love holidays and family gatherings, to appreciate them for what they offer me and the chance I get to feel part of a group of people, rather than an outsider looking in, having remained on the outside by choice.
I’m ready to go inside now, where it’s warm and cozy and filled with the love I pushed away for years.
It’s not about the gifts. My family will still love me if my gift isn’t this perfect thing of beauty and awe. They will still love me if it looks like my gift was wrapped by someone missing opposable thumbs. They will still love me if I didn’t spend a small fortune on their gift because I don’t have that many small fortunes just lying around waiting to be spent.
I just want to hang out with them. Have some lasagna and ham. Yell at my father for cheating on a board game. Drink a glass of wine by the fire with my mother as we talk about how much we miss hockey. Fight with my sisters over who is going to wash the dishes (an old family tradition we try to keep up, one which Lisa never loses). Swap stories of Chritmases past with my kids. Put my head on Todd’s shoulder and nod off on my parents’ couch when I’ve had too much to eat and drink.
No stress. No worries.
Just Christmas and family.