Play That Funky Christmas Music

What a great day here in the Ozarks. It’s nearly sixty degrees outside, and while it is the middle of December, I’m not complaining. I love getting outside, and this is the perfect weather for it. I’m eagerly checking my weather app to find out what it will be like this weekend because I am so excited to try out the back of that car. Before you go thinking all those naughty thoughts, I recently became enamored with the idea of car camping. It’s a thing – like van life – only not in a van and, um, not for life. Anyway, I don’t like the heat, so this is the perfect temperature for my experimental phase.

I ain’t gonna lie, though. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m trying to stay busy because I’m not above admitting that a sense of loss has crept in over the last few days. I’m missing my brother and my father – who both liked cars and the outdoors. Daddy always loved putting together our Christmas stocking stuffers and I really am terrible at it. Also, as a single parent, it kinda sucks that I have to buy and wrap my own Christmas gifts and stuff my own stocking. Additionally, with every fire I build, I find myself really missing my friend Bill, who passed away in June. I could use his advice today on a few things, and it sucks that he isn’t here to give it.

I shared recently that I’m finally in a good place – and I am. Even with the melancholy intro of this blog, please don’t think for one moment that I’m not. Be that as it may, I didn’t build this version of myself overnight. This version was built on experience. On disappointment. On pain. I’m not afraid to tell you all that, Dear Reader. After all, vulnerability is the new strong, right?

I tell you all this because I’d like to give you a few tips on how I plan to cope in the following days. I think it’s absolutely okay to admit to yourself and your support network that the next few weeks might be challenging. I also think it is equally important to devise a plan so that if or when grief and sadness starts to take hold, you’ve prepared a strategy to thwart it. While I have come a long way since 2016, I heard this song (Santa, Tell Me…) yesterday, and it kinda put me in a funk. I quickly found this song (Christmas Dance) and shook it off. But…my point is today…it isn’t always easy to shake it off, especially if the loss was significant. And it’s okay to ‘be with the funk’ for a bit. If you were looking for permission to admit you are hurting, then permission granted.

However, let’s get back to the planning, shall we? This good little Virgo has made a list so go on now. Grab a drink and settle in. Let’s work this out on paper together.

1) Fix what needs to be fixed. If you know you aren’t going to have the energy to cook (and you most likely will not), then figure out who is going to cook. If you can prepare anything in advance, then do it. City Butcher and Marie Callender cooked most of my Thanksgiving dinner. No rule says you can’t call up Stop & Shop (or Schnuck’s or whatever grocery store is in your area) and order your entire holiday meal. If you will be alone, this is vitally important. You need to eat.

2) Stay away from sad media. Do not watch Love Actually. Do not listen to Last Christmas. Do not, and I repeat, do not scroll social media where all the perfect people and their perfect families have all gotten together and pretended to like each other. Pop yourself a big-ass bowl of popcorn and watch “The Family Stone” so you can remind yourself that all families are dysfunctional and you can laugh about it. Bonus advice, go easy on the booze.

3) Forgive yourself. The holidays are a time when folks start forgiving people and making amends. How about you forgive yourself for a change? Forgive yourself for putting up with shit you didn’t deserve when you didn’t know any better. Forgive yourself for that thing you did that makes you cringe when you think of how it hurt a loved one. There’s a big difference between guilt and shame (and I’ve got a good post on shame coming soon), but, nonetheless, it’s time to put both of those feelings aside. Write yourself a letter asking for forgiveness as if you were writing it to the one you hurt the most. We often are our own worst enemies, as Bill told me, so please, let it go.

4) Go somewhere. I plan to get the hell out of here for a few days. My son is going to be at his dad’s for Christmas and I’m damn sure not going to sit around over the holiday watching Hallmark Christmas movies with access to a tremendous amount of horribly sugary food and a box of wine. Even if it’s just for a night. Most people, if they haven’t promised the guest room to the in-laws they don’t even like, will be happy to host you. People love being nice during the holidays. Let them. If you can afford it, there are some *wicked cheap Airbnbs. You’ll still be alone, I know, but at least you won’t be alone in the house that holds all the memories. (*For you, Bon Bon).

5) Take your meds and brush your teeth. If you already battle Seasonal Affective Disorder, anxiety, or depression, this isn’t the time to go radio silent and go off your medication. I’m a huge advocate for taking a pajama day every once in a while, so if that’s your plan, I applaud you. Just do it responsibly. Watch something completely impossible to smile at – I recommend Pitch Perfect (the first one). If you’re in a shitty mood, there ain’t nothin’ like a Riff-Off to make you smile. No Diggity, Yo. (I just sounded very white and very uncool, didn’t I?)

I hope this blog helps you today. If so, drop a comment below. I’m leaving you with a Christmas parody – if you’re a Swifty, I’m sorry. If you aren’t a Swifty, then you’re welcome.

PS…if you liked this post and think others might like it too, please consider sharing it on social media. Please and thank you.

4 thoughts on “Play That Funky Christmas Music

  1. These are really great tips. I’m excited to hear about your weekend adventure. Have fun. Live in the moment. And be safe.

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