Christmas 2023 has truly been my best Christmas ever. Ever.
When I was a teenager, I hated Christmas. I blamed commercialism, repetitive holiday songs, and just about anything else I could point at. But underneath all that anger was hurt. Hurt that I could look around and see so many people joyful, fulfilled, and cared for and there I was: depressed, empty, and isolated. It seemed to me that Christmas actually exacerbated my mental health concerns instead of providing me with comfort.
It felt like Christmas was a holiday for other people and I couldn’t wait until the entire thing was over.
However, once I got out on my own, Christmas started improving. I slowly clawed my way to true Christmas devotion in my early 30s. But this year took the cake and ate it, too.
So… What changed?
Everything? The people around us changed. Our location changed. My bipolar disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) diagnoses don’t gleefully run my life anymore. I have grown into a person my former selves would never recognize.
Here’s what we got up to this Christmas
We had three parties at our home during Christmas: a ladies’ tea party, a Christmas PJ and movie day, and a Christmas Eve dinner. All these events were attended by the most wonderful, caring friends. We also made two new friends this Christmas and including them in our festivities was absolutely wonder as well. I felt truly surrounded by love and care each time we opened up our home.
Christmas Cards arrived almost daily from friends and relatives far and wide, wishing us a wonderful holiday. Each day in December, Dan and I laid in bed and accessed new content on the digital advent calendar my mother-in-law (MIL) had given us. On Christmas Day, I woke up to people texting and messaging Christmas wishes. A friend from Liverpool sent me a voice message to thank me for my support and encouragement over the year.
December 25, 2023
The big day came and Dan and I opened presents with our friend and her sweet dog who stayed overnight with us (and yes, the dog got presents, too). Also, our friend was polite enough not to comment on the fact I was waaaaay over the monetary limit for gifts that I had agreed to.
Around the Christmas tree, I opened gift after gift of items I was excited to recieve. Instead of bag clips and office supplies from years past, these gifts were thoughtful and actually things I wanted. When I had written out a Christmas list, everyone had listened to what I said.
Some of my favorite gifts this year have been a candle warmer from my MIL, a crochet kit for a tiny dinosaur from our friend and her dog, and Britney Spears’ recent autobiography from my husband. Each step of Christmas 2023 was filled with all the love and consideration I had always wanted to Christmas to have.
It truly was a magical experience
The best part is that there is so much else to do next year! We have a Christmas Cruise booked with our friend, we can play Hallmark Bingo, I never got around to making that peppermint body scrub with everyone, and who knows what else I will dream up between now and then?
Was it odd to have the goal of a magical Christmas at the age of 38? Doesn’t matter, because it was my goal and I achieved it. It means so much to me that Dan and I have created this wonderful family of friends in our new home state and have been able to find such warmth and laughter with all of them.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this Christmas special!
Every big and small gesture is noted and appreciated. The medium ones, too. You all are the kind of amazing that I never thought I would have in my life. The fact that you’re here is something I will never take for granted.