It’s seemingly inescapable. Even here in the central mountains of Mexico.
Halloween was not yet a memory, and already my favorite, grand supermarket in San Miguel de Allende, La Comer, was piping Christmas music throughout its bright and spacious aisles and displaying stacks of glittery Christmas tree decorations for sale.
Made me wistful for the three years I spent in predominately Muslim Mali, West Africa, where Christmas is pretty much unheard of and certainly not celebrated.
Ah, those were the days.
There are a lot of things you might call people like me, for whom this holiday season – late-November to late-December – is the year’s nadir. Let’s see… You could call us Scrooges, depressives, Debbie Downers, party-poopers, antisocial, or no-fun-at-all. And maybe you’d be right on many counts.
I know it’s difficult for the more extroverted among us to understand, but some people (like me) run, as if from a burning building, from the hubbub of the holidays – the crowds of frenzied shoppers, the maxed-out credit cards, all the commercial pressures and social stresses, and the forced party jollity.
As a certifiable introvert whose favorite place to be on Christmas, especially at this stage of my life, is at home in my own sweet bed with a really good book, I’ve just come up with a new, somewhat positive label for myself: hibernator.
This is the time, as the winter solstice draws nearer, the days become shorter, and the nights longer, when some of us need more than anything to pull in, be quiet, reflect on the year almost past, and restore our souls.
Just the other day I happened upon a Face Book post written by Brigit Anna McNeill that spoke to this need for me — and, I assume, some others of us. She writes:
“The winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, [as] a period of descent and rest, of going within our homes, within ourselves and taking in all that we have been through, all that has passed in this full year which is coming to a close. […] Like nature and the animal kingdom around us, this time of hibernation is so necessary for our tired limbs, our burdened minds….”
She seemed to be reading my mind.
And then yesterday I was heartened to read a piece in the New York Times titled, “Yes, it’s O.K. to be Sad During the Holidays,” by Marissa Miller. Here is her wonderful opening line: “All I want for Christmas is a nap.”
Miller goes on, empathetically:
“Feeling like a sad sack of coal during the holidays is far from unusual. Between the crowds, dwindling bank accounts and tundralike weather (not to mention the short window of sunlight), it’s a wonder any of us can keep it together.”
For her whole, helpful article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/smarter-living/yes-its-ok-to-be-sad-during-the-holidays.html .
So whether you’re a holiday party person or a party-pooper like me, take heart. We are who we are; there’s no getting around that now; and this season, too, like all the ones that have gone before, will be fleeting.