Will you be spending Christmas alone this year? Are you feeling a bit sorry for yourself that you are going to be by yourself? Are you thinking that Christmas should be banned at least until you have someone to share it with?
Me too. But then I remember that I’ve been in this place before, over 25 years ago. And I remember how I dealt with it then.
When I was first separated, my ex and I took turns having our kids on Christmas Day. One year he’d have them, the next year it was my turn. Very fair and even. The first year that it was his turn was quite the test for me; I needed to find some positivity somewhere in not being with my daughters on Christmas Day.
After a few days of pity-party, this thought popped into my head – IT’S JUST A DAY. IT’S JUST A DAY. I realized that Christmas doesn’t have to be on December 25; it can be any day that my kids and I choose to make it.
My kids were still little, 10 and 7, the first year of sharing. And I told them that it would be special for them to have 2 Christmases instead of just one. I told them that we could have our own Christmas whenever we wanted to have it. I told them that it was JUST A DAY.
And you know what happened? Nothing. Everything. When the 3 of us were together, it was Christmas, no matter what the calendar said. They spent Christmas Day with their father and December 26 with me. And it was just as magical on December 26 as it would have been on December 25. They were as excited as ever to find their presents under the tree. They were delighted to see that Santa had left them something at my home as well as at their father’s home. They loved opening their presents and playing with their new toys. See? It was JUST A DAY.
Ditto for Christmas dinner – it was not quite the same as when their parents were married, but it was still a special meal to them, and to me. And there was a bonus – I didn’t have to serve turnips!!
The warm fuzzy feelings that happen at Christmas can happen any day of the year. A couple of years ago, I woke up Christmas morning with an inner ear infection that left me feeling really dizzy. My plan had been to spend the day at my oldest daughter’s home (she’s now in her 30s) with her and her sister and their husbands and my 3 perfect granddaughters. But this dizziness made me realize that I shouldn’t drive that day, so I stayed home. Alone.
And you know what happened? Nothing. Everything. Within a week, we were all gathered together celebrating Christmas, exchanging gifts, watching my grand-daughters thrill of opening new presents, sharing a wonderful dinner.
Maybe that year was full circle for me. Maybe it was me realizing that everything we chose when my kids were little still applied now that they’re grown. Maybe it was living proof for me that Christmas still can be whenever we choose to have it. Maybe what matters most is being together, not the day on a calendar. Maybe what matters most is sharing time and love with each other whenever it happens.
Christmas Day on the calendar can be JUST A DAY. And any day on the calendar can be Christmas Day.
I’m a woman of a certain age and I know that Christmas is any day I spend with my daughters.
©Marcia Barhydt 2010