After 35 years of somewhat dreading the holiday season, I began celebrating Christmas in November this year. I waited until after Thanksgiving (which is in October here in Canada), I waited until after Remembrance Day.
I set up my brand new fluffy white 6-foot tall tree and went shopping for ornaments. This is my first full-size Christmas tree ever.
I had a pink mini tree set up for when my nephews came to visit and I gave them an early Christmas. I then left that tree up in the corner for 3 years. I used it as a lamp.
This week, I’m going to get garland and more white lights to decorate my living room bay window. My lovely townhouse is going to be magazine-worthy. At least to me.
I grew up in a religion that didn’t recognize Christmas. December 25 was also my late mother’s birthday so for the first 22 years of my life, she was the only person in our household who got presents.
In elementary school, I would proudly explain that I didn’t celebrate the holiday, covering up my embarrassment of not being able to tell my friends all the stuff I got for Christmas and that I didn’t have a tree.
My worst post-Christmas return to school was in 8th Grade when virtually all the kids in my class got Nike sweaters with the swoosh on the front. I really felt left out then. I was already a weird kid and this was a new school for me so no one really knew my backstory.
My first true Xmas morning happened at 17 when I went out of town to visit a friend for the holidays. Her family opened presents that morning and even had some for me. Best. Christmas. Ever. I still have a teddy bear I got.
During my 10 years as a violin teacher, my students would give me gifts at Christmas so that was a lot of fun. I got some really nice stuff. I also would put on a small party for my students. A Xmas recital of sorts. Lots of food, presents, and violin practice.
Because I have no traditions, I've mostly just gone along with whatever was happening around me. Sometimes I'd help decorate a tree or go skating or have dinner. Watch movies, sleep, house sit.
No year has been the same.
I am agnostic. I don’t believe Jesus existed. Even if he did, it wouldn’t matter to me. There are parts of the Bible that give great messages and I don’t dispute that, but I don’t buy into any religion. Not after my upbringing.
My dad remarried after my mom passed and his wife celebrates Christmas. It’s weird to see a tree and decorations in his house but he’s pretty cool about the whole thing nowadays. My brother has two children and his baby mama celebrates the holiday so they have a nice dinner and exchange presents. I love giving my nephews gifts.
This year, I moved into a lovely 3 story townhouse and have lots of space to entertain. I told my dad and my brother that I wanted to host a family Christmas dinner. This was back in June. I was already planning my tree and the menu.
Of course, they both looked at me funny but said: “Sure, sounds fun.”
By October, I forced them to pick a date that worked and now dinner is all set for the 22nd. I’ve assigned appetizers and desserts, I already have their gifts wrapped. My Spotify playlist is ready as are the holiday movies we will be watching all day.
Keeping the holiday merry and bright on your own terms.
As I’m childfree by choice and live alone on purpose, my Christmas Eve and Christmas morning don’t resemble the photos that are usually posted on social media.
Last year, I rented a condo with a hot tub in the mountains and Christmas morning, I posted a photo of my surroundings. I will admit I got some joy getting envious responses from weary parents. It was as peaceful as it looks.
My parents didn’t raise me around other family so I’m used to a very quiet holiday season. I prefer it, to be honest. For 5 years, I tagged along to my boyfriend’s family Christmas festivities but all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch movies.
This is my favorite way to spend December 24th and December 25th. Movies, a comfy oversize couch, glittery decor, chocolates, sparkling wine, and a rib roast.
I recently read that the Queen of England leaves her holiday decorations up until February 6th, in honor of her father’s passing. This year, I’m following suit. In honor of my childhood self who longed for something of a normal Christmas.
I don't expect gifts this year, just from my brother and from the person who occasionally shares my bed. I've told them both to get me something cute and sparkly. An ornament, a candle, I don't care. I just want something wrapped in pretty packaging to open on Christmas.
I have everything I really want right now anyway. I can understand why this time of year is depressing for people.
I’ve long gotten passed my wish for someone to give me a magical Christmas. I take matters into my own hands. Most people would hate my quiet Christmas Day. I sometimes feel the collective letdown holiday blues as the evening rolls around.
Here in Canada, December 26 is our Black Friday. Stores open early, crowds rush to find the best deals. That’s the real Christmas for some. A few years ago, I bought myself a really nice TV. I still have it and love it. I actually bought it online just before midnight on the 25th.
Merry Xmas to me eh?
My love for being an adult is really amplified when I can give myself the experiences I longed for as a kid. Because I’m not preoccupied raising humans, my time and resources are devoted to exploring a life that speaks to me.
Creating a winter wonderland in my home for my family to come over and enjoy is awesome. Even now, I dance in my kitchen to carols, admiring the sparkly ornaments I’ve bought. My list of holiday baking is growing by the minute.
No one is going to really know all the effort I put into Christmas this year. I’m certainly not going to have the best posts for social media, that’s not my motivation. I will make a point to say how I’m celebrating Christmas my way and not with the traditional chaos.
The funny thing is, Christmas is about giving. Giving to others.
Who says you can’t give yourself the best Christmas ever?
I mean if you want to compare notes, I give to the food bank and to charity all year. I give clothing and food more so than money. I’m a bit wary of giving cash. At least food and clothing are going to get used properly. Generosity at Christmas is expected and it’s good but sometimes misguided.
Come January, people are still cold and starving.
It’s not about buying myself a shit ton of gifts for Xmas morning. I realized I like looking at wrapped gifts more than I need to have them to open. I decided to fancy wrap candy and just leave it under the tree until Feb 6th because I love silver and gold wrapping paper.
I think this comes from all those years as a child, looking at decorations and the pretty boxes wrapped under department store trees for effect.
It’s possible in years to come ( I hate the expression but I need to use it) I may have larger Xmas celebrations. I may one day, finally figure out what Christmas means to me. I may find out that it doesn’t mean a thing and I no longer want a tree and to decorate.
Last December, I took myself to Vegas for my 35th birthday. For an entire week. It was awesome. I had never been to the desert before and seeing decorations and hearing carols playing with not a hint of snow and 20 degree weather (Celsius) was weird. Cool but weird.
I live in Alberta Canada so around these parts, it’s snowy. I don’t have a dog sled but I do skate.
I turn 36 this week and I’m more into Christmas than birthday. I’m getting my nails done, having dinner with friends and relaxing. Maybe buy a few more ornaments.
Most of all, I just want to enjoy the season as it happens. Enjoy the sights and sounds, be thankful I can give myself the life I want and continue to explore what I came to do in this life.
I hope that the season finds you well, however you spend it. Do something small to make yourself smile. Your smile will inspire someone else.
Almost an Author
Former Fantastic Violinist