a middleSage publication

Tidings of Comfort and Joy…Bullshit

images-4I’ve been very clear about my dislike and withdrawal from the Christmas holidays.  Christmas was just never a happy time during an abusive childhood, and then as a very young mom, I tried to create magic every year only to  be left with a feeling of failure.  I wrote about it in my other blog; onbothsidesnow

A recent poll suggested 45% would rather skip Christmas.  So I am not the lone Scrooge here!  The concept of Christmas is beautiful, but that’s not what we celebrate now.  As a child, I remember nothing….just a feeling of tension and the dread of “oh, no it’s not going to perfect for our mother!”  As a young mother, I drove myself crazy trying to create magic out of thin air and low balances in my checkbook.  As my family started to multiply with children in law and grandchildren, the stress was compounded and I knew I was just one of the many grandmas and relative giving unwanted things to children who were, by the end of the day, too exhausted to even know what had been given to them.

Since my kids are grown with children of their own and we live hundreds of miles from all of them, I decided to “pull out” of Christmas.  Stop the Christmas Bus.  Turn off and take down the Christmas lights….for good.  Thanksgiving is our holiday, and we all agreed we like it much better.  The first year was hard, guilt crept in, anger could easily take over and my will to abandon this now commercial excuse for a holiday weakened.  I held fast though…and came through it without too many scrapes.

I send my kids and grandkids things at a different time throughout the year….when I’m not just adding to a stack of cardboard and paper strewn about.  They seem to notice and appreciate it more.  I don’t ask them to travel to see me, I’d rather have them come in pleasant weather and do things outside we can enjoy.  I don’t put up a tree and I don’t have a mess to keep cleaning up and put away in two weeks.

So now, what else is there?  This is my new family tradition and I must say, it’s not stressful.  I find myself looking forward to Christmas and I’m not paying a charge card bill for 6 months.images-8

Every year, I buy a beautiful beef tenderloin.  My husband and I love a recipe I have for it and since it’s about $100 for a whole tenderloin, it’s not on the weekly rotation for menu suggestions.  I make a few desserts that we both really like and we stock up on some good movies.  We’ll FaceTime with the kids while we’re snuggled up in our warmth with a great glass of wine and enjoy the fact they’re enjoying a different version of “comfort and joy”.

To know the rest of the world is in the midst of “tidings of comfort and joy” and we are stress free and enjoying our time together seems to be a real bonus and truly comforting and joyous to us.  I say bring “THE SPIRIT” of Christmas to your life all year long and enjoy the quiet holidays!


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  1. peersncareers

    21 December

    Isn’t that the truth? Enjoying each other’s company. Period. It is about how we treat each other throughout the year and not this one time of year. Great post! Cheers and all the best for the New Year! xxoo T REddy

    • Barbara Joy

      21 December

      It’s good to hear from you! Merry Christmas, friend!

    • Zena

      22 December

      Great! I live in Germany and next year I want to go on holiday at Christmas. People here lock themselves away with their family, shops are shut and they say “see you next year”. It’s so much stress and by the way I am a Christian. I even thought of going onto the streets and feeding the homeless.

  2. […] Please indulge me for not seeing it your way. See my follow up post on middlesage […]

  3. […] Please indulge me for not seeing it your way. See my follow up post on middlesage […]

  4. […] sure if you’re a regular reader here, you know I don’t do Christmas. At least I don’t do it in the way the masses thinks I’m  supposed to.  I find […]

  5. Simon

    6 November

    This is a wonderful comfort to read.
    Congrats on a diligent guide to being non compliant! 🙂

    • Barbara Coleman

      10 November

      Simon, I’m glad I have company here! Thanks for visiting!

  6. Anonymous

    28 December

    I totally agree. People use it as tool to remind us to be nicer. Everyday could be Christmas. Giving your time and and random presents, helping neighbours and visiting relatives should be all year round. It’s really not rocket science. December is now a month of stress, road rage and a quest for a perfect day when most people’s best experiences are spontaneous and unplanned. The over consumption and waste is an embarrassment. I detest being dragged into it and judged because I don’t want the stress. This was my first year of not buying presents. It was hard to receive a couple but I believe the two that did buy me, enjoyed it and would have been hurt if I didn’t accept them. They understand my time for them is my present and I treat when I feel like it. Hope my view doesn’t offend but how many of you would actually like to ditch added stress. We really have the power to stop following the herd. Unless of course you love Christmas and it makes you happy and that’s equally as important too. Just try not to judge either way

  7. Nancy

    24 November

    It was almost therapeutic to read both your posts on Christmas! It resignated with me the part about it feeling “lonely” and being so overworked! My husband of 33 years has done NOTHING when it has come to helping me with anything Christmas, and after all these years, I am exhausted and just want to run away until after Christmas! I have threatened for the past few years that I was going to tell everyone that HE would be in charge of everything Christmas for a year, and I would NOT be responsible for ANYTHING. Christmas would have to be cancelled as he wouldn’t know where to start and if it took any effort on his part…it just wouldn’t happen! I am tearing my hair out this year as we begin yet another hectic Christmas season and I am already so stressed and almost in tears. Though I do not ever foresee myself being able to do what you have done, it makes me feel better knowing that I am justified in feeling the way I do and that others understand how I am feeling.

  8. ROBIN MCFAUL

    25 December

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Everything you have said, in both articles is me to the tee!!!!! I have decided, finally, to announce to everyone that this will be my last year celebrating Christmas.

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