By Samantha Evans
The holiday season is a shiny one. From the shiny ribbon to the crinkling paper down to the sequins on the office floozy’s sheath dress and the black ice you invariably crash upon en route to the annual family shin-dig. Even the happiest tinsel-strewn holiday finds many bottling or releasing a flood of glistening sweaty tears.
In my experience, the holidays go one way or another. You may spend weeks, or even months, eagerly awaiting the day you can finally trim the tree, cut the cookies and stuff the stockings. Perhaps you secretly know what your sweetheart has picked out for you and cannot wait to squeal with delight over your newly beloved iPhone, Birks charm bracelet or limited-edition T-Bird leather jacketed copy of Grease. It may even sound vaguely familiar to you; maybe it was you. If you’re not counting down the days, then you’re probably adding up the dollars spent, the pounds gained and the days wasted between December and January. Your family most likely resembles the Griswolds in calamity or the Waldorfs in warmth and the big day(s) is invariably spent huddling around the Asti Spimante while dodging extended-relative small-talk to ‘feed the cat’. Maybe you even beg your employer to schedule you on Christmas Eve while you simultaneously complain to your mother that your Grinch of a boss has no soul.
It’s okay; I think everyone has a holiday or two where she must literally must grin and bear it (the itchy wool sweater, that is). Not all big days can be candy-cane crackling great ones, spent gloating over those newly acquired and soon to be forgotten goodies. Some are inevitably spent silently regretting a whole day of eggnog while others remind you that great company cannot be bought and unwrapped under the tree. The holidays are like birthdays; too many emotions, too much pressure and never enough time. This marathon season is one to be endured, to emerge from slightly stronger and that much more prepared for next year’s race. An Xmas text may temporarily carry you through the jam-packed lonely eves, but the greatest gift is the one you give yourself: time; time to reconnect with friends and actual loved ones; to give yourself the benefit of the doubt; to trim your life of all its excesses; to give back to those who have less to celebrate than you do to dwell upon. Time to forgive and time to forget, yourself and others, of any misgivings. Call it Christmas cheer…I think someone’s spiked my eggnog. You can find me downstairs, you know, feeding the cat.