I know I sound like a jerk, but my favorite part of Christmas this year was when it was over. To be fair, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, it wasn’t really bad at all.
I enjoyed visiting with my in-laws, who are lovely, and lingering over gingerbread cake and wine after a delicious meal of “special occasion” food.
It’s always fun to watch the kids open their presents, even though no one believes in Santa anymore (and my older kid was in St. Louis), so the magic isn’t really there so much. But still, Georgia got most of the things on her list and was delighted, and that’s gratifying as a parent.
I love baking, so doing the cookies for Santa (solely for tradition because, as stated, no one believes anymore) and soft pull-apart rolls and the aforementioned gingerbread cake for dinner was a comforting distraction.
So it wasn’t bad. But if I’m being honest, Christmas this year was hard.
My mom, who loved Christmas, is gone. My dad, who has always been indifferent to Christmas, didn’t even know it was Christmas.
I tried to keep up a brave front for as long as I could, but I ended up under the covers watching Cold Case by the early evening. (It’s a truly terrible show but blessedly mindless enough that I can watch it without having to think about anything. Plus I usually like the music they pick.)
Then I remembered something. There were a few years when my mom and I weren’t able to see each other on Christmas, usually due to weather or illness.
“Don’t worry about it,” she’d always say. “Christmas is just another day. ”
And so I told myself that.
“Don’t worry about it. Christmas is just another day.”
It didn’t make it magically better. It didn’t make my heart hurt less.
But framing Christmas as just another day – which it ultimately is – helped me rally enough to muddle through until it was time to go to sleep.
And then I woke up and it was a new day and Christmas was over and there was a whole new year right on the horizon.
May it be a happy one for all of us.