The first Christmas my husband and I spent together was also my first Christmas away from my family. We were living in a different country with very different weather and not even the possibility of a phone call home on Christmas Day. I was probably too excited about all the new things to be miserable about the phone call but I remember planning a Christmas Day very much like the ones I’d spent at home. We invited friends to stay and in my mind everything was going to be wonderful. From that last sentence you can guess the day didn’t turn out like the plans!
We did have a good day. Eventually. But it was an exhausting experience which didn’t live up to my expectations and I seem to recall tears.
The Air Force decided that we didn’t need to spend our second Christmas together and so I decided I’d pretend the day didn’t exist. That’s not possible when most other people are busy preparing and celebrating and left me feeling miserable.
One of the things I’ve learned since then is that if I want to have a day (whatever day, it doesn’t have to be Christmas) to look forward to and enjoy then I have to plan rather than ignore it or try to live up to other peoples’ expectations of a good time.
This year has been different in so many ways – lockdowns curtailing celebrations and mourning – and this holiday will be no exception. Another thing I’ve learned is that something doesn’t have to be expensive or complex to be enjoyable.
Your holiday might be the same this year, or it could be very different. Either way, have you planned something YOU can look forward to? A new book to read. A film you haven’t seen. Your favourite dinner and dessert. You owe yourself that gift. Having something to look forward to also gives a sense of control in this time when it often seems as though we have little or no control over what is happening.
However and wherever you are spending Christmas, I hope you have a lovely time.