Healing in a Kayak
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The Real Christmas is Finally Here

It was the beginning of December and we were in the car with the radio playing. A Christmas song came on and my daughter said, “Mommy change the station!”

When I asked why she said, “Because you hate Christmas music this early.” Oh. Yeah. I used to. It was in that instant that I realized that this year is different. Very different.

When I was with my ex-partner Christmas was overwhelming for me. There was always a ridiculous excess of stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Despite my pleas to stop buying things the kids didn’t need or even want, the endless parade of Lego, plastic toys, and useless trinkets was relentless. I would stand in the middle of the pile with my head hanging. The house was already so cluttered. Where were we going to put it all?

The overload made me anxious and I started to really dislike Christmas. Check out this blog post to see just how much. https://www.healinginakayak.com/personal-stories/christmas-season-mom-confessions/

In short I became a bit of a Grinch. I didn’t want to think about Christmas until it was upon me. I didn’t enjoy seeing decorations and I refused to listen to Christmas music until at least the 15th of December. I tried to avoid the whole thing for as long as possible.

I hadn’t realized just how much it had affected me until this year. While last Christmas was our first since separating, the dust hadn’t really settled yet and it all went by in a bit of a blur. So I consider this truly our first Christmas as a single parent family.

This year is indeed very different. I have found myself humming Christmas tunes since early December. That day in the car I mentioned earlier? I did not in fact change the station. I cranked it up and sang along then explained to the kids why.

I told them that I was really in the Christmas spirit this year because I know our home will not be overrun with excessive stuff. I explained to them how much that was getting to me. I was honest with them and said that it was ruining Christmas for me. I reminded them that for me what matters most are the simple things like hot chocolate and snuggling on the couch together.

Last year I got each of the kids two things that they really wanted. Part of me worried that they might be disappointed that their gifts weren’t numerous, but that wasn’t the case at all. They were thrilled with what they received and really appreciated what they had.

This year I am looking forward to the same. I can’t wait to see their faces when they open their very special gifts. Rather than dread, I am happily anticipating Christmas this year, and apparently it shows.

My daughter commented on it the other day. She said she could see that I was much happier this year. She told me with a big smile that she is happy too and that she thinks this Christmas is going to be the best ever. We are all looking forward to spending time together sledding, skating, seeing friends, and building snow forts. Mountains of presents will not be the centre of the experience.

So with all that anxiety gone I am finally able to enjoy a real Christmas full of joy, love, and most of all peace. Living a peaceful life is one of my core values and now I can live this all year long, including the holiday season. That right there is worth more than all of Jeff Bezos’ fortune.

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