Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Isn't Complicated, Adults Are

So this is what I've heard: Christmas (Jesus' birthday) was not on December 25th. In fact, it's been said it was some time in November, but the facts are still unknown. On December 21rst marks the shortest day of the year. (Stay with me here.) With the increasing darkness and the lack of vitamin D from the sun, people from way back when were depressed and miserable. Sound familiar? It was harder to find food due to the brutal weather and many people suffered physically as well as emotionally. There were more illnesses, more deaths, more sadness and hopelessness. It's been said that December 25th was given as the biggest celebration of the year so that people all over the world can have something to look forward to on the shortest days on the calendar.  It was a glimmer of hope, a light that shined through the darkness and a day to celebrate, to give gifts and receive love. It was designed to take away depression and hopelessness. Of course, it's a celebration of Jesus' birthday for Christians despite the unknown actual date of His birth.

Why so sad then? 

Because we set our expectations super high for Christmas. For many of us, Christmas joy is remembered when we were young children. Christmas Eve was my favorite. I could NOT wait!!! I called the '976' numbers to check and see where Santa was. "Ho! Ho! Ho! I'm in Maryland and will be at your house later this evening. Go to sleep my kiddies so I can come bring you your presents!" I was super anxious to get to bed, and so were my parents while they were having their annual Christmas Eve party. Christmas morning I'd wake up 7am while every non-believer of Santa slept in. I waited until 8am to pounce on my sisters upstairs while they were sleeping. "Come on! Wake up! Let's get our stuff!!!" I'm sure they were temped to backhand me, but they were good troops and got up just for this brat. Even in my teens, it was still fun. As I got older, it became a weird holiday full of mixed emotions. People passed away around this time of year, breakups would trigger sadness, and the worst of all, losing a parent who once was a huge part of Christmas was a real doozy. I've seen friends come down with terminal illnesses, people getting divorced, families separating and more people laid off from their jobs. Stress makes people emotionally and physically sick. Just visit an emergency room on Christmas. I spoke to a nurse who works in the ER. She said, "We are PACKED on Christmas. We have suicide attempts, domestic violence injuries, heart attacks, pseudo heart attacks brought on by anxiety or GERD and psychotic episodes." (Thank God I didn't get admitted for the last one.) 

Any family conflict, tensions, an 'in-law' issue or just any complication of relationships who have to be in the same room together can become a holiday nightmare. Christmas isn't complicated -- adults are. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Oh I wish Christmas was just over with already!"  And here we are, with this awesome day that's celebrated more than any other holiday, and yet we still dread it. This year I was very grumpy and hard to be around. I didn't realize the emotional roller coaster I was on and tried my best to contain it. I celebrated Christmas with my annual martini before dinner and by eating everything my dad used to make for The Feast of the Seven Fishes -- an Italian tradition my father worked so hard to keep. I even ate things that I was known to be allergic for, and nothing happened, thank God. But instead of mourning that my father wasn't with us for the second year now, I chose to just celebrate him in my own way. I do admit, I'm finding this holiday to become a strange experience and in some ways, anxious to have it all end and fall into something so insignificant, like St. Patty's Day. It'll at least give me an excuse to have another drink. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!