It started early in November, before Thanksgiving. I introduced my best friend to the cult classic of all Christmas movies as the snow was falling. I drank egg nog with him on Black Friday while shopping for Christmas gifts online. I got engaged on December 3rd, with a gorgeously delicate snowflake ring. The Polar Express’s next stop was at my house, for sure. I waited for it.
I dressed the cats up in cute little sweaters with pink snowflakes and watched them become paralyzed with fear, and debated whether they should be on this year’s Christmas card or not. I debated even sending out Christmas cards (I didn’t). I was not in the mood for Christmas.
It could have been the black balloons lying on the living room floor, the dead leaves on the stairs, or the lone pumpkin greeting me at the front door every day. Maybe. It could have been the awkwardly timed vacation, or the knowledge that I would be part of the skeleton crew, working during the holidays as a junior professional. Mostly, it was the lack of sleep from my neighbors yelling at each other at 3 am. I was sleep-deprived. I found myself making mistakes that I normally wouldn’t have made.
I drank enough holiday-themed beverages to stay awake and ate enough sugar cookies to feel gastronomic regret. I created my bedazzled, festive monogram and changed my lock screen. My heart wasn’t in it. It felt like someone pissed in my peppermint mocha.
In the season where everyone is wishing me tidings of comfort and joy, the most joy I got was when my fiancé and I became Christmas angels for a 3 year-old girl, fretting over warm clothing for her and granting her Christmas wish. This same feeling hit me yesterday, as I cleaned the house yesterday, spraying the scent of Oklahoma’s state
parasite floral emblem. I turned on the yule log. I wrapped the first of the presents in cozy Scandinavian-patterned paper. I watched my favorite on-screen couple meet for the first time, for the 15th time. I played Scrabble with my best friend, laughing the entire time as we went head-to-head. He’s good. Slowly, happiness edged its way back in my heart.
Today, the holidays are in full-swing at my home, thanks to a surprise tin of cookies in the mail from my college roommate. Munching on snickerdoodles and drinking cinnamon coffee, I finished wrapping gifts and put them under my little tree. I watched the sweetest movie, perfect for my less than stellar mood.
“Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel,” Charlie Brown lamented. It’s perfectly fine if I’m not as joyful as an elf on jingle juice. But I can have my small, quiet moments of happiness and lulls in this busy season.