Let's Talk Holidays

Gail - posted on 12/20/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )




Well the time of year I dread the most has arrived. I'm flooded with memories of how abusive my father was on Christmas Day and despite the fact that it's been over 20 years I can't escape it.

So many of my friends from similar backgrounds told me that once they had children it all changed for them as they could be the one in control. Well it hasn't happened for me at all. I am horribly depressed (more than usual, that is) from just before Thanksgiving (which I also can't abide for the same reason) until after the trees are off the streets. I also live in a country where carp is the traditional Christmas meal so there are large basins of carp everywhere manned with people gutting the fish and blood running in the gutters. Something which compounds the depression of this vegetarian tenfold.

I would like nothing more than for my Dutch/Danish partner to take our son away to be with his side of the family where they have beautiful customs and leave me in peace. He says his place is by my side. As romantic as that sounds it actually adds to my stress. I feel like I must A) pretend to be happy so that my son will never have the nightmarish memories I have or B) be completely open and honest with him but diminish his holiday experience. I don't see how I can win this one.

A few years ago I decided to take some action and started hosting a "Non-Holiday Party." Contrary to some peoples' take that it's an Anti-Christmas party it's rather just a...well...party. There's music, food, fun people - but no, tree, no gifts, no Christmas music, no mention of holidays at all. It's a place to go if normally you would be curled up alone on Christmas Day being depressed. A place where you can have a good time and not worry about being bombarded with Santa.

My holiday-loving partner and some friends are not over-enthused about it but I think recognize it's value as many people have shown up over the last few years.

However, my three-year-old really enjoys the things about the holiday season which seem to make so many others happy. I've been thinking a lot about faking it but I just don't know. My partner and I talked about it and we're going to try to create our own personal version this year. I can't handle anything associated with a "traditional" Christmas so tree, decorations, standard meal, presents, carols, red and green, overall merriment, etc trigger me into a suicidal depression. My sweetie and I agreed on some kind of greenery as our son really likes them. My original thought was a mop with a green sock on top of it but instead we compromised on a plant :-) The two of them can decorate it with drawings, we'll have gifts for him, eat something together but not go to too much trouble and talk about Jesus (we're Christian). Joost has his cultural and familiar traditions which I really like and of course hold no memories for me so those are fine.

This was a hunky dorey agreement until a couple of days ago when I crashed badly. My faith is the only thing that has ever kept me from topping myself and it was so damn hard the other day to withstand the temptation of the pills in my house. Instead I spent the day hysterical in bed with a butcher knife (just holding it) and praying for it all (the holidays and the pain) to be over. I tried thinking what was better: successfully faking it and giving him good memories, faking it and crumbling and giving him memories of visiting Mama in the sanatorium or being with him, doing the best I can but being true to myself by removing myself if I feel I'm going under.

Today he asked his father why mama was crying? I just tell him honestly that like him, I cry when I'm sad. He was fine with that.

This is horrific. I feel like the worst mother and a weak and pathetic human being. And I fucking loathe my father.

Anyway, just needed to vent that. Thank you for listening.

How are you guys doing?

Gail :-/


Jennifer - posted on 12/22/2009





My sympathies for all this holiday season entails for you. I suffer from depression around this season also, not for the same reasons as you, but bc their is so much pressure to be happy and gay, plus make the best tree and fa la la all day long. I too struggle with what to show my son who now realizes the way i feel.

The only suggestions that I have for you is to make your own traditions. Hey a plant decorated with pictures is great, and I think that you should try to participate in that. Draw funny faces with your child to put up. Decorations don't need to be red and green and traditional to inspire children to have a nice time.

For instance say U (gail) like frogs, why don't you buy some and put them up around the house to sybolize decorations for your family. And if you want to give presents build them around your child.

what I am trying to say is that as un traditional as a tradition may seem I think that you can still give your child what he craves while avoiding some of your issues.

I remember you writing last year about your non holiday party and I think it is a great idea.

Also ask your kid, hey what would you like to do, u would be surprised he may think it is great to eat chocolate for breakfast and take a ride to the country or something as your holiday.

Go from his perspective and try to think outside the box as far as tradition goes and maybe that will make it a bit easier for you.

Faking it wont work, you need to make this YOURs and your families.

The past is the past. That said I know that if your past still bothers you it isnt going to go away anytime soon. Share that with your spouse but try and remember the reason for the season is really spending time with loved ones. As silly as you can make them a tradition is a tradition is a tradition. One year I took a random pic of my son (i tried every day) and on Christmas I made it into a book. We still bring it out on Christmas and look at it and laugh....

I hope I am making sense to you.

I am here for you if you need to vent more. It is ok to hang onto your saddness as long as you need to and Dont fake that you like something that you dont, put your own spin on things and make ur child happy, in turn i think you will get something so rewarding hopefully it can fog over some of your yesteryears.

Thinking of you and your family fondly,


Try and have some fun, and when you cant know you have your bed and pillow, just put the knife and pills away. You are a gift to your spouse and child and they cannot live with out you.

Wishing for your hell to pass quickly this time.

Embrace your inner power and try.

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