Monday, December 17, 2012

My Christmas Miracle: How My Friends Became My Family and Consumerism Will Save Us All

Shifty-eyed baby Rachel. When Christmas was all about deluxe applique sweatshirts.

I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge after he’s just awoken and realized that he is alive and life is wonderful. I’m half tempted to throw money at the neighborhood kids and tell them to buy the biggest Christmas goose and bring it to the Cratchet house. Instead of pelting the dear neighborhood children with Susan B. Anthonys, I’m going to opt for a good old-fashioned soul-searching kind of blog. You see, the reason I am so happy is because I’m not sad. I am so happy to not be sad that I could shout it from the rooftops.

It's now a tradition for my friend Carrie (since we are alumni) and I to see The Young American's The Magic of Christmas.
This is my fourth holiday season without my Dad. The first two were rough. Hell, life has just been rough without him. Since my Dad passed away a week before Thanksgiving in 2009, I was kind of thrust into the holidays in full on survivalist mode. I’d tell myself every day to just get through it. It’d be over soon. This manifested into full on dreading the holidays. Christmas 2010 I refused to join my roommates in a santa hat and eggnog session. Christmas 2011 I completely forbade all decorations. My holiday depression(holidapression?) usually began before thanksgiving and ended with me making an ass of myself drunk on New Years Eve probably making out with a stranger. I expected this year to be a sleigh ride into more of the same.

Thanksgiving hit me hard. Really hard. Like, barely-hold-it-together-and-get-through-the-day hard. I was waking up and crying. Crying myself to sleep. Completely riddled with grief. This year, however, I tried something new. I let myself breathe and I let myself grieve. After I let myself deal, I wanted a tree... and that was just the beginning.

Playing it fast and loose with presents and dogs. My house is now a "gifts go on tables" house.
After all of these years, I’ve come to two conclusions: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the best Christmas Song of all time and I don’t know where I’d be without my friends. The holidays are about family and for me, family has evolved. My friends are the ones who brought me into their homes, with their families, made me smile and like me even through I kind of have chronic bitch-face and repeat the same jokes over and over again . New traditions, gatherings and events I look forward to throughout the year all entangled with a single common thread: friendship. My best memories were all centered around my new family, my tribe, my people- my friends. My friends saved me and saved the holidays.

Crisis averted.
 I’ve spent the past month coordinating wrapping paper (shout out to Paper Source), shopping and just letting myself enjoy life again and it feels great. I’ve spent way too much money on gifts for myself and others. I’ve figured out the hard way that my dogs are not as potty trained as I thought when it comes to boxes left unattended under a bedazzled plastic pine tree. I know I went a little nutty, but sometimes it’s good to go a little nutty.

Christmas is back, I’m kicking ass and I couldn’t be happier.