Many of us get anxious at holidays. It’s hard for the holidays ever to live up to our expectations. And of course we carry with us all the old hurts and patterns.
Kids absorb the family’s craziness that comes out with special intensity at holidays. My father was snarly and temperamental at Christmas and we would tiptoe around his anger. Fifty years later, my mother told me some background. Father always put off buying presents until the last minute, a typical pattern of his. Then he never could find all the things he wanted to buy to make us happy. Because of that, he was angry at himself, so he grumped around the house and made everyone miserable!
As a kid, all I knew was the thickness of the tension. I tried to made it all right by being extra good. That’s still the temptation at Christmas, to try to make everyone happy.
This year I’m giving my poems as presents, along with donations to local charities. I’m trying to relax into the realities of life, family, and friends—loving and imperfect.