Finding Comfort During the Holidays

Finding Comfort During the Holidays

For many the holidays are a time to get incredibly excited about. Warm lights during dark evenings, comforting food and drinks, gatherings with your favourite loved ones and family and childhood memories of everyone putting in so much effort to make others feel loved and nurtured are what I believe makes Christmas so lovely for many across the globe.

Though what if you literally experienced none of that. What if Christmas was a dark time while growing up? Maybe there is some retraction during the holidays for those people and rightfully so.

If you’ve been following my journey, you already know that I grew up until the age of 12 with a mentally ill mother. She identified as someone who was ‘really good at christmas’ though to be honest, she sucked at it.

When I was as young as 6, she would shoo my older sister and I upstairs and away from the Christmas tree so she could take drugs, even going so far as having my older sister grab her pills from the freezer for her.

Our dinner was ruined right before we could eat it because people were so intoxicated that they broke glass all over the dinner table and ruined the food that had just been laid on the table.

Each year got worse and worse. Cherished decorations and ornaments that had been passed down by older generations were smashed during adult tempertantrubs. Gifts destroyed out of spite, and violent and intoxicated fights overpowered the sound of Christmas music.

After my mother left, Christmas was already tarnished for me. Those memories don’t just go away. And as my story is unique it also isn’t in the sense that there are many who have terrible memories as well. Maybe they lost a loved one around the holidays. Lost a job, their home, a cherished pet. It can be even more difficult for some because they witness others bathing in good spirits and love and possibly feel envy for what others have.

It is for this reason that I literally place ZERO expectations on others during the holidays. I attach no meaning to someone RSVP-ing “no” to a holiday party, or clients and friends not being into exchanging gifts. I even ask my own friends and boyfriend to not feel pressured to show up at all in traditional holiday ways for me as I actually feel better just coasting through the holidays without giving it all too much attention.

A quiet night in with a glass of champagne and a fire, or a slow morning with pancakes, coffee and no cell phones makes me feel warm and fuzzy during the holidays. It can be different things for different people and I wish that society could think of that as they move through the holidays.

So, my hope for you who is reading this is, if you have painful memories from past Christmas years, please don’t apologize for them. Nurture yourself and create boundaries however you need to in order to take care. And if you’re someone who is super stoked about the holidays, go on with your bad self! Enjoy, soak it in and celebrate! Though also keep those filters on to notice if someone may be having a hard time with the season and look for how you can find empathy and understanding for wherever they may be. Chances are they could probably use it <3.

In good health and happiness,

Cassandra Hope

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