Christmas used to be my most favorite time of the year. I eagerly anticipated decorating Christmas cookies, watching all of my favorite movies, and spending hours staring in awe at the fantastical light displays at Celebration in the Oaks. It brings a smile to my face just remembering those times and how much I enjoyed them, but the smile quickly fades as I remember the difference between those Christmases and this one. This Christmas, I am single.
For those of you who read my blog regularly, you’ll remember my mentioning my breakup and how I’m on the path to self-discovery. While I have no regrets about ending my relationship of three years, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t certain moments that I missed.
Christmas, so far, hasn’t felt much like Christmas. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I feel like I’m just sort of going through the motions this year. Before I know it, it’ll be January 1st, and I will have no idea where the holiday season went. I’ve done some Christmas shopping in malls filled to the brim with red and green lights, giant Christmas trees, and the faint hum of carols in the background, and even then… nothing.
I hate to think that my reason for not feeling Christmas this year is because I’m not in a relationship. That would be going against everything I currently stand for, which is feeling happy with who you are and where you currently are in your life’s journey. But, sometimes, I wonder if it’s playing a bigger role in my holiday cheer than I’m willing to realize.
I’ve watched a few movies this year, one of which was my all-time favorite, “A Boyfriend for Christmas.” I watch it every single year. The first time I saw it was in the living room of my childhood best friend’s house in 2004. I was thirteen. Everyone in the house was asleep, including my friend who I was sharing the couch with. It was 1am, and I couldn’t sleep, so I turned the television to the Hallmark station right as the movie was coming on. I stayed up until 3am that night, alone, watching this movie and feeling captivated by Christmas magic. Of course, I wished for a boyfriend too that year. Little did I know that I wouldn’t have one for four more years, but it was the hope of it all that I held onto. The magic. When things were simpler than they are now.
It’s been a tradition of mine every year ever since.
From age 17 to the very beginning of age 23, I was in a relationship. I spent half of those Christmases buying Affliction t-shirts and Sweet Tarts and the other half buying The Dark Knight box sets and Haribo gummy bears. I had someone to buy for, and it was nice. Though I still have people to buy for this year, it just isn’t quite the same. I’m not making mental lists of what “he” likes or what “he” wants. Instead, I’m avoiding the aisles full of the things that I know would remind me of “him” and how I don’t have “him” this year.
And all of that is okay.
It’s okay to feel a little sad about being single during the holidays, especially when walking through Celebration in the Oaks with a cup of coffee in one hand and “him” in your other is one of your most favorite Christmas traditions. It’s okay to watch that movie and instantly feel like your 13-year-old self again. It’s okay to pass the aisle of Star Wars everything and feel a little nostalgic when you remember him.
But, you remember.
And you carry on.
You check off the mental list in your head for presents Mom would want and ingredients for your favorite peppermint bark. You bake and decorate your annual Christmas cookies, and you share them with your pals at a play reading. You make the plans to visit Celebration in the Oaks with your best girlfriends or, if the timing is right, a nice guy that may or may not become the next “him”.
And you carry on.
Because it’s Christmastime, and, in a relationship or not, it’s your most favorite time of the year.