There’s a lot of pressure at Christmas to be perfect: Perfect Christmas tree, perfect family photo, perfect Christmas dinner, perfect gifts, perfect fucking Christmas cookies. I find it overwhelming, upsetting, and in no way realistic.
When Christmas time comes around, I tend to fall apart. I miss my mom. I miss traveling. I miss warm weather and having a tan. Seasonal Affective Disorder starts kicking my ass because I live in Canada and haven’t seen a ray of sunshine in weeks. Cute stories about people being nice to others, sappy TV commercials, and the incessant Christmas movies on every channel leave me constantly trying to discretely wipe the tears away. Stress over money, missing my mom, and the constant pressure to be ‘perfect’ leaves me short tempered and searching for a drink. Memories of 10 years working retail during the holidays make me fearful of large bearded men wearing red and the sound of festive jingle bells make me want to scream bloody murder.
Finally, a few years ago, I decided to cut myself a break. I always wind up in tears at Christmas and I always get drunk (whether it’s appropriate or not), so instead of feeling like a failure for never living up to some made up standard of how we’re supposed to look, feel, and act during the holidays, I made it my Christmas tradition.
That’s right, my Christmas tradition is to get drunk and cry.
Instead of it being something that just happens I have made it part of my plan. I mean, it’s easy, and you can do it practically anywhere. (I’ll note that they can be happy tears or sad tears, or even tears from laughing so hard that you can’t catch your breath. Weeper’s choice, as it were.)
If you’re not sure what to do this year, I invite you to join in my tradition. Raise a glass and pass the tissues.