Where are you, Christmas?

Where are you, Christmas?

Where are you Christmas?  Why can’t I find you?

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of slump and I’ve been trying to cover it up with excitement, but the truth is: this year is missing some Christmas spirit for me.  I’m not sure exactly why– maybe, it’s the aftermath of a stressful finals period and now the waiting for final grades to be released or maybe, it’s the rushed feeling that has been in my home as we struggle to get everything done in time for the holiday or maybe, it’s even the distress that comes along with following politics this season.  Whatever it is, something just feels off to me.

I think admitting that we can’t feel the holiday cheer is something hard for a lot of us to do.  What is wrong with us that we don’t just feel overjoyed this season? In almost every Christmas movie, the people who don’t feel Christmas cheer are often villains or mean people. They live quite unhappy and grouchy lives until someone opens their eyes to how great Christmas can be (often by going to some small, adorable town where they find love and community). But, sometimes, not feeling the holiday spirit doesn’t mean you’re a grinch or have let the season go.  In fact, sometimes, it’s exactly the opposite: you want more than anything to be able to feel the Christmas cheer that everyone else seems to feel.

Right now, I’m at a personal struggle.  Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year and I told myself that finals were just a blip in my Christmas spirit radar.  I would spend a week unhappy, but then I could get back to happiness and excitement. I came home though and found that was not the case– no matter how many Christmas songs I listen to or movies I watch, something just feels off.  

A hard part of self-care is checking in with where you’re at emotionally and not beating yourself up if you aren’t where you want to be.  It is okay to not feel overwhelmed with excitement during Christmas, even if you wish you were. It is okay to feel sad or alone or confused.  I’ve said it before, but I think we, myself included, could all do to hear it again: it is okay to still be human during the holidays.

Despite this all, I’m still holding out hope that I can find my perfect Christmas cheer again.   Maybe, I’ve been looking in the wrong places.  Maybe, Christmas spirit doesn’t live in hundreds of cookies or fancy wrapped boxes with ribbon or pretty decorations around the house.  Maybe, every Christmas movie does have it right: it’s in the love that’s all around us every day.

 

Advertisements
It’s the Most Wonderful {and Busiest} Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful {and Busiest} Time of the Year

The holiday season is most certainly one of the busiest.  There is so much to get swept up in: there’s finals, shopping, holiday parties, and the list goes on and on.  I often find myself wishing for more hours in the day, but during the Christmas season, I find this feeling is even more prevalent in my life– I want to go see all the Christmas decorations, spend time with my family making cookies, go to every holiday party I can, spend nights in with hot chocolate and Christmas movies, and still manage my regular day-to-day life.  It seems there is never enough time to do everything at the holidays. So, this season, I’m trying to make the most of the time that I have and be thankful for it. Today, I’m sharing what I’m most looking forward to in the rest of the holiday season.

What I’m looking forward to:

  1. Cookie making.  I am so excited to be home and able to participate in my yearly tradition of baking Christmas cookies with my mom.  I’ve written about how much this tradition means to me in the past, but I can’t reiterate enough how important this tradition is to me.  It’s a time for my mom and I to be together, but also connects us to our loved ones who have passed on. It keeps them in the season with us.
  2. Seeing all the New York Christmas decorations.  While I spend the majority of my time in Washington, D.C., I always say that my heart is in New York and that is especially true during Christmas.  There is nowhere in the world where Christmas magic can be felt more than New York. I have wanted to go see the window decorations and the Rockefeller Center tree again for a couple years now, but have never made it into the city on time, but I’m definitely making that a priority this year.
  3. Christmas Eve dinner.  If you’re an Italian-American, you will understand this one.  There is no holiday that has as good of food as Christmas Eve, in my personal opinion.  Every year, we go out to our favorite restaurant for their buffet that includes the Italian fishes, pastas, and zeppole for dessert.  I also love Christmas Eve dinner because it is a really relaxed time for my family, where we just are able to enjoy being together without any stress.
  4. Spending time with friends and family.  Going to school in a different city than I grew up in is absolutely amazing– I love the independence I have gotten from this experience.  However, I definitely miss home, my friends, and my family when I’m away. I love Christmas because everyone is home, at least for a little while, and it is a great time to catch up with everyone.

 

 

Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues

Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues

If you’ve read my posts lately, you know I think the holidays are a time filled with joy, cheer, and happiness.  But, the holidays can also be hard. Maybe, you lost someone you loved or maybe, life just doesn’t look the way you wanted it to.

It’s okay to be sad during the holidays.  It’s okay to struggle during the holidays.  Just because the season is beautiful doesn’t mean all your problems somehow instantly go away.

For me, the holidays always fall at the same time as finals and I have a difficult past of dealing with tests.  When I was in the second grade, I got hives every night before I would take a standardized test. This continued for the rest of my grade school and high school experience. My freshman year of college, I could not keep food down for two days before my statistics final– my nerves overwhelmed me.  This past midterm season, I worked myself so hard that I ended up crying of exhaustion on my couch at 3 AM one night. So, whenever finals season approaches in December, all the joy I have built up for the holiday season comes crashing down around me as I am filled with this test anxiety that has come to play a major role in my life.  

And, suddenly, I feel full of dread every day when I think about how Christmas is coming closer, but that also means my tests are coming closer.  Then, I beat myself up for that thought because how could I ever dread the beauty of the holiday season? How could I ever feel so many negative emotions during my favorite time of year?

It’s okay to struggle.

Giving myself the permission to struggle is so important in changing the way I view myself and my difficulties.  Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean my problems go away or I should ignore them: they are what make me human.  I have to confront them and deal through them, not hide them away and feel guilty for struggling.

Maybe, you’re a student having the problems as me this finals season or it’s your first Christmas without a loved one or your family situation has changed recently.  Whatever your situation, the message still is the same: you are allowed to struggle during the holidays. You are allowed to be sad, happy, angry, frustrated, and confused all at once.  You don’t need to hide what you’re going through or feel guilty for it. You have done nothing wrong.

This holiday season, let yourself be true.  Let yourself be real.