Christmas is coming up, fast now. If you’re Christian, you know what I mean and you’re feeling the pressure building. If you’re not Christian, you have your holidays and can empathize. However, this year, I’m feeling nostalgic as well as rather lost in a lot of ways. In a way, while emotionally draining, I’m not feeling the stress that I usually feel. I will explain what I mean by this statement but, I’m thinking that The Kranks (Christmas With The Kranks) likely had the right original idea in skipping Christmas altogether and taking off for a tropical vacation.
First the lack of stress…with visions of The Griswolds in “Christmas Vacation” dancing through my head.
I used to be the accommodating family member who would take over all of the holiday meals and would shop for everyone until there were gifts galore all over the place. I could barely stand up the day after Christmas and would have a nervous break down when the credit card bills started coming in the end of January. It would take me months of penny scrimping and creative meals, no buying anything not needed 100% to dig us out of that financial nightmare. Yes, we were saps.
Over the years, the family has diminished, not grown. Most of my family has now passed away as has my husband’s family members. What little family both of us do have left now, are not or barely speaking to us. You see, we started having to say, “sorry…no” to things. Hubby and I used to be the biggest doormats around for everyone and let’s just say that no one liked it when we had to politely start setting some boundaries and saying “no” to requests for money, money and more money that we didn’t have to begin with and couldn’t help them out anymore. Worst, was our own daughter who found herself a boyfriend and they wanted to smoke weed in our home, with our 3 young nephews present and we told them to take it elsewhere. No one left, likes having us say, “sorry…we can’t” so, they’ve kept their distance. That leaves us alone for Christmas this year. I’m not sure if it’s sad or if I should rejoice as I won’t have to scrimp and save to pay off the bills this year nor, do the work for everyone to enjoy?
What I do know is that it’s making me think twice about being too giving from here on out and learning to set up boundaries. People don’t seem to like the fact that we finally stopped being a bank service or allowing things that aren’t right because we feared the back-lash from them if we said that simple word, “no”. We’ve found that out and it was a shock at how they reacted to it. It’s amazing how much people will take and appear to care when they are getting what they want out of you but, put the plug in the giving and they suddenly stop caring about you altogether.
We’re not quite sure what we will do for Christmas this year and, don’t get me wrong, it’s not relished by us that people have taken on this attitude with us but, it’s an eye opener to know that we were always considered not much more than a wish granter and morons to any of them. Their true colours and motives have shown through, including during a recent health issue where I required surgery and not one person bothered to pick up the phone to ask how I was feeling even when it didn’t go well. Sadly, I realize that in spite of being blood related, it doesn’t mean caring about us but, we won’t be going down the same path of giving and laying down for these same people to wipe their feet on any longer.
As Christmas approaches, we’ve put up our lights at the usual time with the rest of our neighbours. We’re about to put up our Christmas tree where the cat will knock it down a few times or the dog. We’ll go on about our days the best that we can but, our hearts will not feel the same about Christmas again nor, will they feel the same about these family members, including our only child who is now an adult and estranged from us because we finally had the nerve to say “no” to them all for differing reasons.
I don’t know what we will do this Christmas but, I do know one thing. We won’t be in debt this year, over-worked or exhausted and eating hamburg 100 ways for the next 6 months to pay off those Christmas bills that gave everyone a wonderful Christmas which obviously wasn’t appreciated to begin with.
However, from my little corner of life, that may be something that will be a relief and perhaps, the best Christmas we’ve had in decades. Time will tell and I’m about to search for places to go have dinner out and make reservations. Ahhh…to not have to shop, clean, set up, cook, serve, clean up and wear myself out this year. That might be a nice change of pace. In other words, Christmas as we knew it, has been cancelled this year. I might like it.