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The holidays, oh, the holidays

Christmas is the best time of the year, is it not? For many, Christmas is the worst, because instead of family, the warmth of a home, decorations and presents, they face loneliness, sorrow, struggles (personal or financial), and they have to put a nice face to it all, because,

hey, it's the holidays!

They say the first Christmas is the worst. In a sense, yes. Albeit, the others are just as bad, if not worse. Everywhere we look we are reminded to what we lost, what we are missing and that we don't fit into the 'Hallmark perfection' image of Christmas. The shops are full with partner specific presents, the telly only shows family movies and they are all perfect (or will be by the end of the movie), social media is flooded with cute family photos.. all feel-good stuff that makes us feel absolutely miserable.

Christmas is hard. I think the hardest part is not being bitter. On top of that, we have to decide if we keep the old traditions, create new ones, desperatley trying to fill that void somehow. Looking at presents that we deffinitely would have bought for them and spend more time looking at the sky. Making it magical for the kids (if we have them) so at least they get to enjoy it as much as possible despite everything.

Since I was a teen, I was never really big into the holidays, but B. loved spoiling me at Christmas. I still have every card he gave me. And he loved wrapping presents with a mile of sellotape and untearable paper, then insisted that I open them without scissors while smirking (lots and lots of smirking).

I find Christmas very dry again since he's gone - my only joy is making it special to Little Miss. But the evenings are still hard. Since I still can't deal with the family movies and romcoms that domindate literrally every channel and streaming service recommendation section, I continue my own tradition when it comes to evening entertainment: I binge watch Top Gear / Grand Tour specials. It's started on the first Christmas after D-day. It has been only 3 months since he was gone and I barely functioned as a person, let alone finding my way as a new mum. Being physically and emotionally exhausted, I needed something that made me laugh without risking any triggers. (It still reminded me to him though as we used to watched these together.) Let me tell you, watching those three had no triggers whatsoever, but it relaxed me for the hour the episode lasted. I find it brilliant. Now you might won't be into cars, or just can't stand the show - I'm certain you can find your trigger-free show to relax with. To think of anything else.

I used to feel guilty when I deliberately looked for activities that make me not think of him. Not to think of my loss. Then I just accepted it as my coping mechanism. And it works. It doesn't mean I miss him less - it means I care about myself enough to know when I need a mental and emotional break.

During the holidays, when there is no work or any other distraction; when we are just home between ourselves, all the negative feelings can spiral in uncounciously, and by the time we notice, we are there sobbing into the tinsel and eating Santa's cookie (and the rest of the bag of cookies afterwards.). We will never be able to stop these completely. The void will always be there, but it's only a few days, and then it's over and we don't have to worry about it for another 11 months.


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