So Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I don’t know exactly what it is about Christmas that I like the most. Christmas lights make my heart warm, Christmas music makes me happy, giving gifts is so much fun… whatever it is I just love it. Growing up in my house Christmas was always a great holiday. I was an only child so on Christmas morning the attention was always focused on me so I felt an overwhelming amount of love come from my parents. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that the Christmas cheer wasn’t always flowing between everyone in the house.
My dad’s dad died on Christmas when he was really young. I don’t know too much about what happened because he never really talked about it. As I got older I figured out that my dad was 100% not a fan of Christmas and his feelings of resentment all came from his father’s death. Obviously losing someone on a holiday is tragic (I mean we did it with Easter this year) so I understood why he was upset but I never really understood why he couldn’t move on. My mom said that before I was born it was even worse. He’d ultimately become the Grinch the month leading up to Christmas but when I was born my mom put her foot down and forced him to put a happy face on.
I remember being mad sometimes that he couldn’t just pull it together and love Christmas with me. However, he really did go out of his way to make my favorite holiday special. He’d scream and curse at the damn Christmas lights but our house was lit up every year. He took his man cave in the basement and decked it out with Christmas figurines and replaced the light bulbs with red and green ones. He’d be the first person up on Christmas morning and would blast Christmas music until my mom and I got up. The man that hated Christmas is ultimately the reason I love Christmas.
This will be the first one without him and I am terrified. Am I going to turn into the Grinch this year? Will I turn into my dad and become a recluse throughout the Christmas season? He was diagnosed with PC on 12/20… five whole days before Christmas. My mom told me that night that no matter what I couldn’t let what happened that day ruin Christmas for me and I made the empty promise to her that I wouldn’t. I tried my best to make sure it was still the same holiday I love but it just wasn’t. How could it be? We gave him gifts he’d barely use. Nothing was worse than buying him a brand new suitcase that we hoped he could use twice but only got to use it once. It was the worst Christmas ever.
This year I’m trying to not let last year repeat itself. It’s so hard but I’m trying my best. I broke my rule this week of “no Christmas music before Thanksgiving” because I’m constantly worrying that I’m not in the spirit yet. I thought maybe a jumpstart on the Christmas cheer might make things easier. Things still kind of seem forced but I have so many plans that I’m hoping eventually the Christmas bug bites me. If I learned anything from my dad’s hatred of Christmas it’s that even though something doesn’t feel totally right sometimes you just have to put on a smile and do it. This Christmas won’t feel right still. Next Christmas probably won’t either. But over time things will fall into place and new traditions will be formed.
So no… I don’t think I’ll be a Grinch after all. It just might take me a little longer than it used to to turn into a Cindy Lou Who.