Monday Musings, The Year I Ruined Christmas…

 

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mostly for myself.  I love all holidays, but Christmas is my favorite.  I decorate with at least two full-size trees, I bake cookies, make hand dipped candies, put out my Department 56 Original Snow Village buildings (I have 16 of them).  I watch Hallmark TV movies, listen to almost any Christmas music, put up lights and garland everywhere.  And that’s just the inside of the house.  Most years, anyway.

One year, long ago, hubby lost his long-time engineering job when his company, the last of the American electronic giants, finally closed its doors.  It was early summer and he had months of severance pay and unemployment benefits, vacation pay, etc. before we’d be hurting.  I told him we’d be fine, I wasn’t worried, we could handle it and we both agreed he should take a class to update his skills and give him something current to include on his resume.  In my heart, I knew we’d be fine if he just could find a new position by Christmas.

Well, December arrived and he didn’t have another job.  There weren’t even many nibbles.  A few phone calls but no interviews that worked out.  Companies weren’t really hiring at the end of the year, duh.  For the first time ever, hubby and the boys had to urge me to start putting up decorations.  They put up the outside lights with no input from me.  My heart just wasn’t in it.  I did the minimum required for the kids, but I was so angry and scared. Back then we just had the kids, maybe one or two grandkids, but gifts for five children?  Not to mention nieces and nephews, parents.  We cut back to the bare minimum for everyone.

I used to be one of those people who wanted a perfect holiday.  Nothing else would do.  And that year was pretty far from perfect.  We were trying to spend less, worried about the future and I just couldn’t find any Christmas spirit.  (A psychologist I saw for awhile called me very forward thinking — and not in a good way!  Missing out on today because I was too worried about the future.  But that’s another post, lol.)  Writing a newsletter to go in the cards was hard.  My rule about that is it has to be only one page and it has to be upbeat and funny.  Nearly impossible.

I was so resentful.  We already had a son who’d been born with disabilities, both physical and mental.  I’d had to quit working outside the home after he was born and was typing at home to earn extra, but it wasn’t exactly a job that could support a family of four.  Now we’d lost hubby’s income and would probably lose our house — well, not really, but that’s how my mind worked that year.  I got more depressed and unhappier by the minute, very tragic drama queen.  I was young and stressed and not on my meds back then 🙂

You already know how this story ends.  Of course you do.  Christmas came anyway.  And the important things, being together with family and friends, eating wonderful food, appreciating the season, watching the magic happen for the children, none of that changed.  No matter how little money we had, no matter how worried we were.   I wasted all those days being scared and hurt and angry and only ended up spoiling the holiday for myself.   And I vowed I would never, ever do that again… And hubby went back to work in January at a job that had lots less stress and great benefits.  A blessing really!

Yes, I do have a point.  Really.  This year I’m in the middle of chemo treatments for breast cancer as Christmas approaches.  I didn’t make the hand dipped peanut butter or coconut candies this year cause it’s too tiring.  No one will mind, the nieces and nephews are all old enough to drink beer now and combining the two isn’t a great idea anyway!

Only one tree is up, I skipped the Department 56 houses, only baked two kinds of cookies, but who needs the calories anyway?  I did my cards and my one page newsletter and even made it a little humorous.  I bought gift cards as gifts for all the kids and grandkids (and maybe a few Cubs things!)  And I’m content.

My youngest brother and his wife are hosting Christmas Eve this year.  I have a surgical mask to wear in case anyone has a cold, my wig actually looks better than my hair ever did and if I’m tired, I’ll go upstairs and lie down for awhile.  Being together with family is the most important part of the holiday for me and this year I get to do that and I’m so grateful.  And happy.  I’ve learned perspective as I’ve aged.  And maybe even gained a little wisdom.

It’s going to be another joyous Christmas for us.  And I wish for all of you, my beautiful, supportive blog family, a warm and wonderful holiday, whichever one(s) you celebrate!

 

Photo of Grumpy Cat from Bing.

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45 responses

  1. Fantastic perspective. Hope you’re doing well. 😊

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  2. Have a lovely Christmas and a healthy and happy 2017! This really struck a chord with me. Thank you!❤

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  3. What a beautiful message Diane! I think so many of us can relate to what you’ve said here, it deeply resonated with me. Age really does bring wisdom and appreciation for the important things in life. I wish you and your a Merry Christmas! 🎄

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  4. The family and gathering is the best part, sister. You’ve got the right idea! I think you should relax and enjoy. xoxo

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  5. Perfect message, sweet Dee. May God richly bless this Christmas with breathtaking memories and 2017 with abundant health.

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  6. I am loving your perspective, D. We put so much pressure on ourselves to have that perfect holiday. It is a myth, perpetuated by advertising, with which we are bombarded. What matters is what you have, your family, togetherness. That is the true miracle of Christmas. Enjoy it all ! ❤️ 💛 💚 💙 💜

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  7. In the spirit of Christmas I send you good cheer,
    and a prayer for healing at this end of year;
    enjoy all the presents, and loved one around
    hope the New Year finds you safe and sound.

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  8. Great post! This came at exactly the right time for me, too. 🙂

    Wishing you a great Christmas.

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  9. Lovely post. Will sound a bit like The Godfather but here goes…Family is everything. Wishing you and your family a lovely holiday!

    Erm…please consider posting recipes for peanut butter/coconut candies. Am asking for a friend. Lol. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Yes, I’ll post the candy recipes for your “friend”!

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      1. Yay. My ‘friend’ says: thanks! 😉

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  10. Happy Christmas to you and yours. Your story is a reminder to live each day. Attitude is everything. Peace.

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  11. Have a great Christmas and even better new year!🎄🎄

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  12. Oh, Diane, this brought me tears of joy. THIS really is what Christmas is all about. Every day, actually. 💜 Much love to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kay! It really is all that matters anymore to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too! 💜😘

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  13. Good for you my dear. You still outdid me, and I’m not going through anything close to what you are! Great message, and I’m so glad to hear you like your wig!

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  14. You have a terrific attitude! Hoping it’s contagious because I’m kind of in the first Christmas situation you described. Hope next year is better for us all!!

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    1. I know, honey, and its not like it was easy. Took me some time and age to get that perspective. The kids never even noticed years they got more or less. Fingers crossed for next year being better ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. VictoryInTrouble | Reply

    Merry Christmas! This is a beautiful message. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Vic. I only have one son at home so I ask what he really wants me to do and then the rest is play it by ear!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. A lovely reminder Dee of what’s so important.. to enjoy the magic and the moment with our loved ones.. Have a wonderful and magical time. I’m put to shame though as my Xmas Cards are still sat looking at me waiting to be written.. Indeed you’ve inspired me to stop prevaricating and take action to write them! Thanks xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted to do the things that were important to me this year and cut back on the rest. It might just be my new plan every year!

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      1. That sounds like a brilliant plan Dee and I don’t blame you… It’s surprising what can be done without and nobody even notices the difference! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Angel Blessings my friend xx

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  17. What a refreshing perspective, and a reminder of what really matters. Have a wonderful Christmas! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Al. Luckily I’ve learned some things in my old age 🙂 I hope your Christmas is wonderful, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wisdom is hard earned! xxx

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  18. I’ve had Christmases with no money for presents and I’ve almost killed myself trying to create the perfect Christmas – now we go to Happy Hour down on the beach and eat tapas. Keep it simple is my new motto. Happy Christmas, my dear! I’m sure you’ll look beautiful to everyone who loves you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, I’m letting go of expectations I was raised with and seeing that whatever we do is fine. Starting new traditions is okay, too!

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    1. Thanks, Renee, hope you’re doing well!

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  19. How lovely. Merry Christmas, Diane!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kim, and to you!

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  20. I’ve enjoyed our journey together this year; hope to continue in 2017. Meanwhile, have a Merry Christmas and all that goes with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have, too, Oneta, hope your holiday is lovely, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What a touching, honest glimpse into a difficult time for you. Thank you for sharing your struggles, both past and present and the wisdom you have gained. I know this will be a special Christmas for you. There is nothing like the love of family.

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  22. Diane, your message really hit home with me. It is fascinating what time and experience can do for us, isn’t it? For many years I too tried to make things perfect at Christmas before I realized there was just a few, core elements that were needed to make that happen…as well as but a few core people. This sounds in many ways like it will be your best X-Mas yet. Enjoy the Season and savor all of it. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Bruce, so true. Thank goodness we’ve gained some wisdom over the years!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Lovely! Have a wonderful holiday!

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  24. That was a great lesson learned. Despite the chemo and all, may this be the best Christmas ever

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Joan it was a lovely weekend. Hope yours was, too!

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  25. Hugs! Sending wishes for this to be your best year yet. 😘

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