Been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it means to me. I've known for a while that most of the Christmas activities I partake in every year are solely for other people, not for me. I've never really given myself permission to have a Christmas I enjoy. I'm not even sure what kind of Christmas that would be.
Well, this year, with the emergence of the fragrance sensitivity, the normal activities will necessarily change. Going to my mom's will be an exercise in torture--purely in the physical sense, of course--if I know why I'm feeling like crap but can't get away from it. In years past I just felt like crap and stayed because I didn't know why.
Besides the fragrance, there is the exchange of gifts, a huge stressor for me. I almost feel like I have PTSD about the gifts. Every single year I feel this tremendous pressure to spend money I don't have in order to follow rules of giving which are not ingrained in me. I dread getting gifts, and I dread giving them, because then I might get some in return. Not to mention that I never feel my gifts are good enough.
Then there is the guilt. Guilt about not having the money; guilt about feeling sick at family gatherings that are supposed to be a happy time; guilt about all the family events I have missed over the year; guilt about celebrating a holiday that is named for a religion I do not follow. Lots of guilt for lots of nebulous other reasons.
I have decided to hit the reset button. This year I will not be attending any family events. I will buy gifts only for my children, and I asked my extended family to forgo any gifts for me. I would love for my extended family to come and hang out at my house with me, if they feel like indulging my need for scentlessness. My husband has surprised the hell out of me by volunteering to do the Christmas shopping, so that's one more pattern I've released.
I realized something in all this reset button-hitting. My ideal Christmas is quiet. Reverent. Small. I guess my idea of Christmas is sort of opposite of the rest of the world's, in that I feel it's more of a solitary thing. It's more about the God-given gifts, and I see how that could extend to family and friends and wanting to do something for them, but I want the desire to give gifts to grow naturally from the spirit, and it hasn't up to now. I have to find that spirit again, if ever I had it in the first place. I've been too distracted, too sick, too guilty at this time of year. I'm changing that now. Reset.