As far back as I can remember, Christmas has been my favorite holiday. As soon as I could write, I’d pen my letter to Santa. I’d start with all my merits – obedient, kind, star pupil – then, I would hit him with all the things I felt I deserved, my purchase order list of Christmas wants.
I’d direct him to the better buys, where he could get my toy at the best price, and if that didn’t work (I knew who the real Santa was), I’d leave catalogs lay about the house, opened to the page and with the item circled in ink pen. Sometimes, I’d sigh loudly and mention that the “Barbie I want is on page 362 of the Sears Catalog.”
In the twenty-two years I lived with my parents, I never once got anything I had asked from Santa.
I got stupid things like a pink teddy bear (pink?), a neon green outfit that enhanced my sallow skin (and I looked like I had jaundice), and a second-hand boy’s bike my parents found at a garage sale when I turned eighteen (I was past the bike stage and ready for a car).
Talk about suffering from the post-Christmas blues!
It didn’t get any better after I went out into the world. I was married to a husband who for the twenty-nine years we were together only saw as far as the end of his nose.
I learned a valuable lesson in the first half of my life, and I thank my parents and my ex-husband for it.
Christmas isn’t about things. It’s about acceptance, joy, and family. Christmas isn’t one day out of 365. It’s with us all year long.
When I look at it from that perspective, I can look back at the pink teddy bear and the neon outfit and the second-hand boy’s bike and smile at the memories. I can look back at all those Christmases I spent alone (even when the ex was sitting in the chair next to me in the living room) while my husband spent it on the phone talking to “business partners” and realize his selfishness was his alone and not mine.
I do not have to depend on others or hype or things to celebrate Christmas. It starts within me. Okay, before I end with the nanu-nanu song from the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, let me clarify that.
Christmas is my favorite holiday because it reminds me to love one another, but especially to love myself. I can do all the trappings – the tree, the decorations, the baking – but unless I love and accept myself with the same fervor as our Creator does, it is all artificial, and it becomes about things instead of what really matters – acceptance, joy, and family.
If God (this is GOD we are talking about, people) thought me worthy, maybe I should do the same.