I always do during the Holidays. Part of it is depression, and part of it is brainwashing from the TV and other media about what the season is all about.
It starts with Thanksgiving. Now, I know some people are object to the whole Thanksgiving thing, and I don't mind. To me it's just a day to eat good food and spend time with the fam. I don't have the fleetingest thought of disease-carrying, land-grabbing pilgrims or anything else that "traditionally" Thanksgiving is about.
But I digress. As I was saying, it all starts with T-day. I get to thinking about all the wonderful things in my life and how I spend less time appreciating them than complaining about the things I wish were different. Soon, I am all in a depressive funk because I DO have a fabulous family, loving hubby, and beautiful children. I DO have a warm and dry home, food to eat, a job that I am competent at and that keeps the warm, dry home and food in my possession. I am unworthy of all these blessings. I get all down on myself because if I was TRULY grateful for these things I would keep my home cleaner and more welcoming, I would prepare meals with a more joyful spirit, I would treat my family and loved ones better every day of the year.
After I make it through T-day comes the hard part. The holiday shopping. Keep in mind that I just got done beating myself up for being an ungrateful wretch, so this time of year REALLY messes me up. I don't care what winter holiday you celebrate, be it Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or anything else I may have forgotten. The winter holiday means gifts. It means acts of charity. Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards (Wo)Men. All the good stuff.
There are a couple issues here. The first is that, since I have just spent time realising that I have totally taken advantage of my family for the last year, I want to make their holidays wonderful. I want to find that one thing that will prove to them how loved and appreciated they are. I want to make their faces light up with pure joy. I want to make them cry. Unfortunately, such perfect gifts (if I can find them at all) are generally out of my price range. So then I comfort myself with the thought that the season is not all about gifts, that $$ isn't everything, that if I put thought and love into a gift it makes up for the small price tag. Unfortunately, I am fighting almost 30 years of conditioning that this is NOT the case. Not from my parents, who always taught my bro and I that family and love is more important than money, but from society and the media and my own drive to be "perfect". So that is the first thing.
The second is the thought that I DO have it very lucky. During this season we are constantly reminded that there are many in this country less fortunate than ourselves. There are families who are going to have a hard time keeping warm and having enough to eat this winter. They aren't worried about what to get for gifts, they are worried about how to survive. I want to make it better for them, bring some joy into their lives. I feel ungrateful and selfish for worrying about my own petty issues. Unfortunately, I can't fix it for everyone. I can do a little, but since it is a budget stretch to get gifts for my own family, my ability to make the season magical for everyone in the whole world is a little hampered.
The next logical step, since I can't use $$ to make everyone happy, is to donate my time. To host the holidays in fantastic style, to volunteer at the food shelf, local shelter, etc, to hand make fabulous wonderful beautiful gifts. Deliver meals to the elderly, help with a Toys for Tots drive. Whatever.
One little problem. I work two jobs and am a full time Mom. DH works full time, is in a band, and does contract work at home for his company. Time is about as short around here as money is.
Then comes the final kicker. The last straw, as it were.
I get depressed because I have no reason to be depressed. I get angry with myself for being so selfish and shallow that I would beat myself up over these things. I tell myself that I try SO HARD, and that has to count for something. That I do what I can to the best of my ability and no one can ask more from me. That no one expects it. But I never quite believe it.
So that's it. That is my holiday gripe for the year. I promise not to do it again, but I feel much better for getting it off my chest.