I can't believe I'm sitting here on Christmas eve night. It couldn't feel less like Christmas to me. There's a lot contributing to my holiday ennui - this past week's snow storms, my dad's health problems, the various financial responsibilities that have been weighing on my shoulders, my general depression this year - it's all added up to me not having any sort of holiday spirit whatsoever.
For the first time in almost 15 years, I didn't send holiday cards out. Probably not a big deal to many I suppose. But the realization that I even sent (and made by hand) cards last year, when I was dealing with so much grief and stress, and couldn't get up enough motivation to even buy a box of $5 cards this year is rather depressing.
December 2007 was the first Christmas without my mother. It was so hard to deal with it, but surprisingly I'm feeling her loss more this year than last. I've also been plagued these past weeks with sad thoughts about the large box of Christmas ornaments and holiday stuff that my family had collected over the decades and my mother had maintained and treasured; the box that's languishing in the overpriced storage facility in Silver Spring, MD; family treasures gathering dust and somehow losing a bit of their magic sitting unused.
That box represents Christmas to me. It always will. And I think it finally dawned on me recently that I'm never going to have "Christmas" again. Because "Christmas" means that box in storage, and it means a fresh Douglas fir, and it means my mom.
We never shake the Christmases of childhood, and we spend our lives processing the memories into adult form. For the rest of my life I'm going to miss the contentment felt spending Christmas with my family in DC. I'll miss sitting in a chair with something hot and looking at the tree and listening to all of the holiday music that specifically defined childhood Christmas - Andy Williams, and Peanuts' Guaraldi. Sure, I can get the box of memories out of storage and bring it to Seattle; I can buy a tree and decorate it and listen to the music and drink hot cider enjoying the season. It's not the same, and it never will be, and that makes me terribly sad.
So I'm looking forward to 2009. I hope that it will be the year of healing for me that I'd hoped this year would be. And I hope to continue establishing new traditions that define "Christmas" to me and create new memories to be reminisced about later.
I know things will get better.