It’s December 1. If you are someone who celebrates Christmas, or even if you are someone who does not but feels the weight of this particular event deeply, and you are beginning to feel the edges of panic curling around your ankles like a cat that wants your attention or she’ll barf in your favourite pair of shoes, this is for you.
It’s okay to let go.
It’s okay if the edges on the gift bag are a little frayed and the paper is a little wrinkled. If you are feeling the weight of tradition, it’s okay to do it differently or not at all. If you are feeling sad because you lost someone or just because, don’t worry about not feeling the Christmas/holiday spirit.
If this is not your holiday and you feel badly that you feel resentful, don’t. If it is no longer fun, stop. It’s okay to want to make things special. It’s not okay if that effort turns you into a crispy critter.
It’s okay to want a timeout from the glitter, the elves, the emotional and physical labour of managing it all.
If you need someone’s permission, here’s mine. I won’t judge you because you forgot the elf, or you lost your cool and said many bad words, or you went to the bathroom to shriek into the last clean towel. I won’t make you write lines or sit in the corner.
I will say I am here. Listening as you take a breath and then another, and one after that. It’s okay. You are okay. It may not be fine, but it will be okay. And sometimes, that’s enough. You are enough.
I first wrote this back in 2017, and I share it every year because I think it is something that needs repeating. This year, with COVID-19, there is greater stress to make things brighter, cozier, better, and often that burden falls on women. Do what you need to do to feel better, to build resilience, and to connect, safely. Be well, stay well.
MarthaFitat55 lives in and writes from St. John’s.