Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holiday Meh

My favorite Christmas tune has to be White Christmas.  I find it more than just a bit ironic that one of the most famous Christmas songs ever was written by a Jewish composer.

It's a great song.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I sing this song every year when I volunteer at a local convalescent hospital. It's always the last song in my holiday performance, because it sometimes makes me downright misty-eyed. I remember all the wonderful holidays I celebrated as a kid, and it makes me ache for times gone by that can never be recaptured again.

These days, the holidays bring more than their fair share of difficulties.  Danielle's acting-out behaviors seem to ramp up this time of year, and it's no wonder why.  As much as the holidays make me ache for times gone by, I'm sure it's even worse for her.

As the holidays grew closer, I spent a lot of time agonizing over what we would do to celebrate them.  In years past, we've tried really hard to give Danielle a good holiday, and it's only seemed to backfire.  When we've bought her nice things, she's tantrumed and told us how much she hated what we got her.  Every year, we've concluded the holidays feeling emotionally bruised, battered and discouraged.

So this year, we took a different approach.  Instead of trying (and desperately failing) to put together a "good" holiday, we did almost nothing.

Yup, that's right.  Almost nothing.

On the first night of Chanukah, we handed Danielle a pile of gift cards, and that was it.  We didn't light candles, sing songs, spin the dreidle or make latkes.  Other than the handing over of loot, which we did shortly after Danielle came home from school, there was nothing special about the day.

And guess what?

No explosions.

Since we don't celebrate Christmas (and Danielle has been increasingly telling us that she's not Jewish) we opted to send Danielle to spend some time with the grandparents who do.  So far, we haven't heard much back from them, so we are assuming that no news is good news, at least in terms of her behavior.

I know Danielle is having some fun, as we got a call a few days ago wanting to know if it would be okay if she got a haircut and highlighting.  Last time she had it done, she ended up looking like a skunk-head with too much mousse, but she liked it and I guess that's really all that matters.

While Danielle was with the grandparents, FosterEema and I took a short road trip.  We did a little bit of camping and a lot of visiting with a friend I haven't seen in almost two years.  Danielle would have been bored stiff, but we had a great time.

As far as holiday celebrations go, this year was definitely a big meh.  However, the lack of festivities meant we made it through the season without tantrums, screaming, or explosions.  I'll call that a huge success.

Success or no, I can't help but feel the wistfulness and longing that is conjured up by the song White Christmas.  The holidays are supposed to be joyful and exciting, filled with activities, family, and piles of gifts.  I realized this year that, no matter how much I'd like to give that to my kid, she's just not able to receive it.

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right. YOU want to give things to her, do things for her, make her happy - she's just not capable of accepting that from you right now. Maybe she feels something when you do nice things for her and that scares her - who knows? I'm just guessing here because we deal with the holiday hell cwap every year too. We've been depressed beyond imagination at how our holidays stink for years and I decided this year that I, too, was going to minimize things. I hardly decorated besides the tree, baked less than usual, bought fewer gifts, etc. It was a little better, but the child with the biggest problems is usually really good the day of the holiday anyway - he just sucks the joy out of the "season" so that by the time we get to the actual holiday, we just want it to be over. Now, he actually actively seeks to destroy others on their birthdays so that's a different story and one area we will be deliberately making changes to this year, but so be it.


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