Christmas Eve


You know I usually present something unusual and/or different for holidays.  Well, this is Christmas Eve, and for weeks I tried to think of something, but I kept coming up blank.



And then I think I finally realized why.



Christmas Eve was pretty much the only holiday my whole family celebrated consistently.  We were semi-dysfunctional: not really Dr. Phil material, but with lots of secrets and dislikes and disagreements boiling under the surface.  As a kid, I didn’t realize this.  I was much younger than my siblings, and I thought Christmas Eve was terrific: it was all about gifts, right?   I couldn’t understand why my mother seemed to dread it so much, and why so many arguments broke out among my siblings, and why my father seemed even quieter than usual.



When I got older and began to get involved in the arguments myself, I understood.



Time passed.  I moved out on my own, and I still had this yearning feeling that Christmas Eve was special – magical, somehow – and that I had to observe it.  I decorated the house (as my mother always did).  I went to Mass sometimes.  I listened to music and tried to feel spiritual, or at least uplifted.



Most of the time it didn’t work.



When Partner and I moved in together, I was still decorating, a bit.  I like mixing it up: I love, for example, lighting a menorah for the eight nights of Hanukkah.  No, I’m not Jewish, but it’s very pretty, especially on the last few nights when lots of candles are burning at the same time and it looks like a forest fire on the mantel.  But I used to put up a (small) (artificial) tree,  and a crèche, and a little plastic Joseph-and-Mary tableau on top of the TV set. 



Year by year, I’ve done less and less.



Now, at last, I understand my mother’s diffidence and reluctance. 



And this is why, I think, I have a kind of mental block about Christmas Eve.



It’s Christmas Eve again.  I wish I felt magical again; I wish I felt as if things were somehow going to be okay.



But I don’t.



Tomorrow, for Christmas, I promise: something nicer.



But you just wait.  If this retreat from Christmas hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait.  It’ll happen to you too.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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