I know many people barely tolerate the holidays as they can evoke painful or at least uncomfortable memories of stressful family gatherings.
I guess I got lucky – while my family was full of stress and tension the rest of the year, during the holidays they made a concerted effort to put aside their differences to make the holidays a good experience for me. It was the one time of year everyone seemed to genuinely love each other (at least it felt that way when I was a kid).
Was it all a sham? Yeah, but the holidays still evoke such a profound sense of peace and happiness in me that stems back to those days, and I choose to embrace those good memories, instead of focusing on the lies/sham it may actually have been (I’m an optimist, so sue me!). :p
At the end of the day, this time of year always fills me with nostalgic longing and bittersweet memories of holidays gone by. I try and maintain some of the rituals that my family held when I was a child – like putting up the Christmas tree on my birthday, baking cookies and bread, making capon (a young turkey) for Thanksgiving and leg of lamb for Christmas. And of course always sending a Christmas package to my relatives in Germany. Besides my uncle in Chicago, they are the only family I have left from my childhood.
So it may be a tad early, but Happy Holidays everyone!
(Actually I don’t consider it too early – for me the Holidays begins with Halloween and continues until New Years). :)