I wonder, do I get like this every holiday season? I had a really difficult Christmas. I miss my family back east - even though I haven't seen them in ten years. I miss a few family members from here. I haven't seen them in a few months.
I've created my own traditions and I spend the holidays with my chosen family. It's what I want to do. It's what I like to do. So what am I missing? I'm sure it's a conditioned response to feel the longing.
Growing up, Christmas week was a time of celebration. Family would fly and drive in from all over. There was always something fun happening. We'd spend the days ice skating on the lake down the street or sledding in the hills out back. Then at night we'd come in and play. There were at least two guitars, one microphone and a bunch of various percussion items. My dad and I would lead some kind of impromptu concert while cousins and other relatives would join in, taking turns at the microphone.
Everyone had their holiday drink-of-choice. At some point, there was a board game tournament. [My dad's side of the family always consisted of a long round of poker and/or rummy.] Boggle and Monopoly would inevitably kick-off the annual hate-fest between my Aunt Helen [whose whiskey sour turned her into one whiskey sour] and my dad [who was always drunk]. It got to the point where my cousins and I would sneak upstairs to play our own game. And one year we hid the Monopoly board!
What do I miss about all that? No school. Presents under the tree. Fun in the house. The lights. The food. The community. The idea of the "perfect family." The fact that most of my troublesome childhood worries would seemingly disappear for a couple of weeks was enough reason for me to want to celebrate Christmas every day.
But alas, the bitter cold of winter would take over. Cabin fever would consume my parents and we'd be back to our "normal family" once again. I was left longing for the next Christmas celebration.
Perhaps I think if Christmas isn't being celebrated with heightened joy, then the rest of my year is going to feel that much worse. I know that's not the truth. I'm just trying to make sense of my universe.