I remember as a kid, holidays seemed so magical. I waited in excited anticipation for Santa, the Easter Bunny...what would they bring me this year?
Then came the fateful day when I found the present hidden in my parents' closet, the one tagged "To: Kara, From: Santa". Could this be?? In order to find out, I used some fierce detective work; secretly wiggling out teeth for the Toothfairy, leaving it under my pillow without telling my parents. No quarter. I wrote letters to Santa and stuck them in the front window so they could magically fly away to the North Pole (ala "Santa Claus: The Movie"), but didn't mention anything to mom or dad. The letters stayed (until I mentioned to mom or dad that I had written a letter, then suddenly they were gone.) It was true. Holidays would never be the same.
And ever since, holidays have increasingly lost their luster. And as my brother and I grew from young children to adolescents, holidays evolved from larger gatherings with my mother's aunts and cousins or my uncle and his family, to gatherings of simply my mom, dad, and brother. It was hard because all of my grandparents were deceased, and I know on the holidays my parents would miss them, especially my mom, as she often was depressed come holiday time.
As I have become an adult, holidays have seemed to become times mixed with stress; the stress of rushing up and down interstates and splitting time between families, ultimately short-changing someone; the tension of awkwardness and forced conversations, the endless monotony of eating. Initially, my husband's very loud, very boisterous, very Italian family was a nice change from my quiet and dull family holidays. But even as his extended family grows larger and larger, his father's side still insists on having large get-togethers that include all of his aunts and uncles and cousins and cousin's spouses/significant others and children. This all-day event of eating not just lunch, but lunch and dinner (leftovers), followed by playing poker has grown rather stale and boring. Every recent holiday I have felt the post-holiday let-down, the sigh of "well it's all over now" and the disappointment of "that's it?" Perhaps my expectations are too high. As I have said before, I am often guilty of not enjoying the moment.
My hope is that when my husband and I have our own children that the spirit and joy of holidays will be renewed, that I will feel refreshed and reinvigorated and excited to celebrate with my own little ones, and that we can create our own family holiday traditions to make it feel special and magical for them.