Monday, December 13, 2010

When will I like Christmas again?

Disclaimer: I am not trying to make this a "woe is me" story. I have a huge issues with Christmas, more like a love-hate relationship with it. It's pretty bad, believe me, I have even gone to therapy for it and I came up with my own solution that running away from it was the best solution. But deep down inside, I know it's not. Maybe if I actually sit down, think about it and write it all down, it might help me see things more clearly and understand why I feel the way I do during this holiday season.

I come from a broken family, by broken, I mean my parents have been divorced for over 18 years. To me, that's 18 years of no family tradition of Christmas. The tradition has been Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with another. This caused the first sign of anxiety for me knowing that since my brother and I would be with one parent, the other one would be all alone. Now fast forward the sudden death of my brother, just imagine what emotions I go through during the holidays without my partner-in-crime --> the brother who knew exactly what it was like to go from one household to another. The year that he passsed away, I knew I couldn't be in the city so my husband and I jetted off to Cuba (we had booked in September because I knew then that I couldn't handle Christmas without him). In 2009, we ran away again, this time to Punta Cana. And this year, I am trying to brave it since my husband has not had the chance to spend Christmas with his family because I need to be away. I hate taking him away from his family and I am so thankful that he sacrifices his traditions to make it easier for me to get through a painful time.

He knew something was wrong with me back in Christmas 2007 when I broke down and cried all the way to his parent's house after leaving Christmas Eve with my dad and brother. My mom was with her BF in California, my dad was going to his GF's house and I knew that my brother would be going home to an empty house. We asked him to join us but he wasn't up for it. I was so upset and I felt horrible knowing that my brother would be alone. I continued crying in the washroom once we walked into my in-law's house. The family knew I was upset and I think it's not uncommon for them to see me cry during every single holiday. I am grateful they are so understanding and so loving. Anyway, I finally walked out of the washroom because my niece (who was two at the time) and my MIL came to get me and greet me with a big hug. When I reached the dinner table, I was greet with more hugs. It was since that time, my husband knew that we would be having issues every Christmas.

There is so much more I could talk about, like why my mom stopped spending Christmas in Toronto, why my brother and I always devise a plan for a quick getaway but I don't want to get into it. Those are other demons in my closet I will deal with later. This post is not about me hating Christmas (although we do have a black Christmas tree), it's more about why it's a difficult time for me but also why I love it. Now that I have shared with you why I always feel like running away during the holidays, here is why there may be hope for me to love it once again. As my husband would say to me, "You love the idea of Christmas but I hate the reality of YOUR Christmas".


And it's things that like this that make me ♥ Christmas:

photo credit ( via here)

photo credit ( via here)

photo credit ( via here)

photo credit ( via here)
photo credit (

photo credit ( via here)

My hubby is taking baby steps with me. First by playing Christmas music constantly, then by overloading me with Christmas movies (since I still love Xmas movies) and now by getting the kids to help us decorate the tree. This was a lot of fun. The kids should come over every year and help us! Now as I finish up writing the last of the Christmas cards and finish up the shopping, I hope some Christmas spirit takes over me. I do look forward to spending Christmas with my in-laws. It should be a fun time with the kids and hopefully this year, I won't be crying in the washroom. If you want to read my hubby's take on us and Christmas, read it here. I tried to read it last night but it made me cry so I tried again this morning and no tears!

B & B helping Uncle Mick decorate our tree


Lin said...

My husbands a lot like you. He loves the the idea of Christmas just not the reality of it. From what I'm told (by him & his mom) he & his sister had a really crappy childhood because of their dad & christmases weren't any different so he's scarred by it. It's taken me 7 years but he's finally gotten into decorating, singing christmas songs & interested in shopping for gifts. It's a slow process but it's great that you have fantastic husband at your side who's willing to hold your hand through it.

Steph S C-O said...

I want to give you a hug -- which will have to wait till saturday.
I know the holidays are extremely hard for you. I know it'll never be the same, but, hopefully you'll be able to slowly make new memories that will help you find Christmas again. :)
I myself am finding it harder to get into the spirit this time. It's difficult to be sad when I know I should be happy because it is the lil' one's first's definitely a process. :)

Anyway, if you want to watch Christmas movies at the house on Christmas day, I'm game! i love Christmas Movies....Elf and Love Actually are some of my faves..Rudolph is my ultimate fave though! :)

Elisse said...

This was a hard post for you to write, so first I want to say thank you for summoning up the courage to write and then share these words with us.

You could have just flown away again this year, but knowing that it was important for hubby to be with his family is very selfless and empathic of you to do.

Given all the life experiences that have shaped how you "define" Christmas, I don't think anyone would blame you for being scared/anxious about the holidays. But again - you're tapping into your resiliency and courage to make it through Christmas at home. Many kudos to you! That says a lot about who you are as a person!

And how lucky are you that your in-laws are so supportive, encouraging and understanding!!!


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. that takes a lot of courage to sit through and write about not so good memories. i have all those three christmas songs that you posted, and of course, elf and love actually, helllloooo!!!

kudos to your in-laws and hubs for all the understanding! xo

Alex Chou said...

Hey Leesh, the holidays can be tough and I'm sure it was even tougher to write this post. But it's nice to hear all the love you surround yourself with to make these tough times that little bit easier to deal with.

Looking forward to hopefully meeting up with you and Mike soon.

my name is lauren. said...

i'm sorry to hear about your christmas situation :(. i'll be hoping that this year goes better for sounds like you're off to a pretty good start.

i used to be a christmas hater myself. not for the same reasons, but just because it was always so commercial....all presents, no traditions and i love a good tradition. so now we don't do presents. we do everything we enjoy about christmas and avoid all the things we hate. now i love christmas. it was a process though. you'll get there :).

Maureen said...

thanks for sharing. it must have been difficult to write this post. i'm not gonna lie, i cried as i read it and still am.

you know me, i'm all about BAH HUMBUGging leading up to the holidays. yes, i'm a scrooge. granted, my reasons for hating Christmas (and New Years) may not be as deep as yours, but it does touch along the same lines... Christmas is a time of belonging, but instead it's probably the time i feel most alone. there has been several times i have spent Christmas (and New Years) alone. but whatever.

anyway, i'm game for going away next Christmas! btw, i have never seen Elf, love Last Christmas & that Mariah Carey Xmas song and that's a great rendition of Oh Holy Night by N-Sync.

Anonymous said...

this must have been a hard post to write; thanks for sharing and a big hug to you!!

This is the first year since 2004 that I have some Christmas spirit; the first few years after my dad passed away were awful; I didn't celebrate anything - not my birthday, Christmas or anything of the sort. I only went to events because I felt obligated however, this year with Kayla so excited about Christmas, it's sort of given me a new perspective on things. It's a slow process so give yourself some time. Although Christmas (or any other holiday) may be a hard time for you, you'll slowly learn to enjoy them again for other reasons.

big hugs and kisses!