Christmas is my favorite holiday. I like how decorative it is. The ornaments and lights and tinsel, and the way that things seen as gawdy all year suddenly become FESTIVE. Everyone gives themselves permission to feel a few more feelings- joy over the season, wonder at the excitement of their children, sadness at the passing of loved ones.
Whether you’re religious or not, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus or some combination of all of them, the holidays are a time when we all agree to be a little bit extra together, and that’s my jam.
But there is not a single decoration up for Christmas, because I’m tired. My family and I made an agreement that, this Christmas, when my mom and I are both in graduate degree programs, that we’d just have a Christmas chill time.
This year has been a lot for me. I ended a career in non-profit work, became a doula full time and started a business, and moved back home to live with family.
I also learned to manage depression and anxiety in a way that allows me to
be functional thrive. So now I know that sometimes, when I want to do ALL THE THINGS, I need to choose my priorities and do about 75% of them. So this year, when I had doula clients overflowing (thank you, by the way!), and had about 50 pages to write over the course of December, plus all of the things it takes keep a new business going, and occasionally I wanted to hug my mother whom I love and live with, Christmas took a hit.
I am learning to give myself permission to do what I need, even if it breaks tradition and might take an adjustment on someone else’s part too. And I wonder if anyone else needs that message. Maybe you need to break tradition in how you have your baby, raise your child, or love your partner. Maybe you’re managing postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. Maybe it’s your first Christmas with the baby, but you’ve decided not to make a fuss because you aren’t sure they’ll remember. There are many ways to do things, and I trust your judgement.
My mom is fond of quoting Oprah Winfrey (I think) who says that you can have it all, but not all at once. So this year, it seems that I sacrificed jingle bells. But I’m still surrounded by love, and other people’s Christmas lights, and the holiday season has gone on.
If you need to make some tough choices in order to be your best self, that’s okay. There’s always next year to hang lights on the tree.