The first few years of having children were very difficult. I suffered a strange "sadness" over Christmas. There were the "must dos", put up the Christmas tree, the mad shopping dash, buying Christmas gifts, placing them under the tree, waiting for the morning of the 25th and pretending it was all joyful when they were opened.
The underlying sadness was that I terribly missed my mother who passed on when I was a teen. I felt her absence deeply because during the "happy holidays" she would have spoilt her grand-children, cooked the Christmas lunch and made sure everyone was okay. I felt burdened to do what she did, exacerbating my "festive" depression.
Five years ago, I decided, enough is enough. No more toys and gift shopping. If the kids wanted something for Christmas, they said it, a gift voucher was given. I wasn't going to any crowded shopping malls, which under any day overloads my "sensory system" and leaves me physically, emotionally and mentally drained. Surprisingly my family understood.
We no longer have to put up a Christmas tree if we don't want to. We find simple ways to spend time together. We have a barbeque (known as braai in South Africa) on a regurlar basis. We only invite friends that add value to our lives. We don't live the commercial "happy holidays" anymore. We make the happy holidays ourselves. We go to the park, play board games and recently added two "furry" Jack Russell members to our family.
We do simple things that require little physical, emotional, mental and financial input. We have a good time. We create family memories that are beautiful and relaxing.
I still miss my mother over "Christmas", but it is more of an appreciation of who she was than filling her "shoes".
But, I am my own person, a mother. I handle "Christmas" in a way that makes family life work for me.
What a life lesson. I wish I had known this earlier. I would have saved myself many a "Happy Holiday" depression season.
My festive season depression is pretty much under control, and for that I am grateful.
Happy Holidays to my Moodscope Family!
A Moodscope member