I hate the holidays.
I know. People are skipping around, being all holly jolly and happy, and baking cookies and ho ho ho-ing and all that crap. Meanwhile, I’m sitting in a corner with my arms crossed and singing, “You’re a mean one, Heather Curley.”
This year, I’ve made progress towards changing my Grinch-like ways and embracing the happiness that is the Christmas season. I’m not in holly jolly/red nose reindeer territory yet, but I wrote letters to Santa with my boys. We went to a Christmas light display and I sang along with the radio to fun 50s Christmas music. I hung the stockings by the chimney with care. Picked out a new tree and am doing an advent calendar and made cookies.
My dislike of Christmas is, of course, because I miss my dad so much. It’s been almost eight years since he died. Somehow along the way it turned into an “I hate happiness” campaign. Christmas is happy families. I don’t have a complete family anymore. My dad is gone, both sets of grandparents are gone, my Uncle Mike, Aunt Lynda, and Uncle Bill are gone. Too much change, too much unhappiness.
This year, I’m changing things up and being happy. I’m being thankful for the things and people I have, not wallowing in the people we’ve lost. I have my kids, who are excited about Santa, worried he won’t make it down the chimney, and broke three Christmas ornaments the first night we had the tree up. I have The Hubs, who challenges my patience by wanting to watch Christmas Vacation every day and I loathe that movie. I have my mother, who told me over lunch this week, “I have the head of a gingerbread boy in the back of the car for you.” Christmas 2014: Things just got real.
And, despite the fact the above cookie has frosting made with both butter and Crisco (nothing says Christmas like a fat dollop of lard!), my health improved this year. This time last year, my blood pressure spiked to some ungodly number like 170/100 and then, over the summer, I had my notorious run-in with a 24-hour holter monitor and my doctor’s everything-but-reassuring, “Well, I don’t think you’re having a heart attack.” Now, despite back pain from a lumpy mattress and my new-found oldness, I’m healthier this year. Maybe not physically healthier, but mentally healthier. That goes a long way towards feeling good–inside and out.
Yeah…and the cookies help too.
In the end, it’s important to reflect on what we’re thankful for not only during the holidays, but all year. It’s like flossing. You don’t just floss right before you go to the dentist (well, unless you’re me…..), you floss all year round. My crazy family, my health, and my writing aren’t just important during the holidays, but all year long. I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life and, while I might name them one by one throughout the year, this Christmas I’ll be naming them ton by ton. We only get one shot at life. It’s time to stop being the Grinch in the corner and, instead, start rocking around the Christmas tree with some spiked egg nog, a fattening cookie, and a smile. Calories consumed in joy don’t count, right?
Special thanks goes to Oscar Health Insurance for the writing inspiration. Oscar is a health insurance provider for New Jersey and New York residents, and uses technology, data and design to deliver a better healthcare experience.