Ugh. The Holidays are here again and like every year, I again feel down and sad. My inner island Grinch has taken over and I’m ready to rain on everyone’s Christmas parade.
Don’t get me wrong; it is not that I hate Christmas. In fact, I used to love the holidays very much and I guess in a way I still do. I still am very much into my solo Christmas tradition since I moved here. Me and my best friend, Chardonnay watch Christmas movies back to back. I watch a movie, I cry, I pour another glass of wine and get ready for the next movie and start the circle all over again. It’s a tradition I have come to love and hate at the same time. After all, Christmas is all about traditions, isn’t it, and this is mine.
I live on the one island in the Caribbean where the Christmas spirit has come to die. Christmas season in paradise is not all that it’s cracked up to be, at least on this island and certainly not for me it isn’t. To make matters worse, it’s only 3 months after hurricane Irma did a number on us. People are still roofless, jobless or both, it has been years since our main street has seen a proper Christmas décor and it doesn’t help that several stores are still closed and evaluating damages either. Doesn’t exactly make you feel all Christmassy and warm inside. As if that wasn’t bad enough, most of us have suffered a financial blow as well thanks to Irma and I’m no different, unfortunately.
They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but it surely can buy presents for your loved ones, a great Christmas dinner or more importantly, an airline ticket to see your family. I must apologize for being Debby Downer, but I just have not been able to find the Christmas Spirit here yet.
So, I have decided to create my own. After all, Christmas is not about the presents or the tree, neither is it about the food or the booze. It is about family, and my immediate family here is my husband and our pets. Time to start our own Christmas tradition. Just us two, and our four legged little monsters.
I recently posted a request for help on my Facebook page for Vegetarian Christmas recipes and have received really nice ones. Thank you all who sent them in. For the first time in ages, I am actually looking forward to making Christmas dinner. St. Maarten has it’s own traditions when it comes to food and I look forward to combining these with my vegetarian dishes this year.
Another new tradition I’m starting is a tree of blessings. Instead of decorating our little plastic tree with ornaments, I will be hanging our blessings from this past year and wishes for the New Year in it. You know, the whole “wish it into existence”-thing.
Thirdly, I will put on a smile and my best dress and go for Christmas lunch at my in-laws, and I will not sulk. This has long been the one thing I have always dreaded every year. My in-laws and I have not always seen eye to eye and their Christmas traditions are so far from what I am used to, that just the idea of spending the holidays with them has brought me to tears in the past. Today I say “No more”! This year will be different. Time to say goodbye to old grudges and hello to a united family. There is no place for negativity during the holidays or for the rest of my life for that matter.
Last bot not least, just because I am having a crappy time around the holidays doesn’t mean I cannot at least try to make someone else’s a bit better. Money is an issue but I am still better off than others. My husband and I will be joining the Christmas Angels Program this year. Well, I haven’t told him yet but I’m sure he won’t object. A big tree decorated with angels has been set up in the parking lot of the government building here. Each of these angels represents a foster child, an elderly person or someone with special needs. We will pick an angel and buy the corresponding person a Christmas present. The actual angel will then go in our tree as a reminder of our good deed. Another program very close to my heart is my own Puppy Matchmaker program, where I continue my crusade to finding homes for the countless dogs and cats left homeless after Irma. It is the season of giving, and give we will.
So, what Christmas traditions are you looking forward to this year?