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Making Peace With Holiday Triggers

alec vanderboom

This is my first ever affirmative Holiday that I've spent on my own.  In the past 11 years of marriage, my husband and I have spent 2 Holidays "alone"--but both times my parents traveled abroad. So it was more like we were grateful to be left "Home Alone" rather than affirmatively requesting to celebrate Christmas by ourselves in our own home. So this is the first time.

(I turn 38 years old in 4 days. I feel a little behind the curve turning into an independent adult child--but better late than never).

It feels incredible.

I made the call to not quote "report home" for Christmas on December 1. There has been a price to pay for going AWOL in my father's mind. It is a price worth paying.

For the first time, I have such peace about other Christians who struggle with Advent--with overspending, over-scheduling, and under-praying.

I feel like there is so much "judgement" out there among the quote "good Catholics"--about how a prayerful Advent should be spent. But we act like those prayer distractions like "commercialism" just exist in a vacuum.

We don't talk about Holiday Triggers.

The Holidays are hard. The Holidays' are an emotionally rough time for me. This is the first Dec 27, that I'm walking around without a massive case of "the emotional flu". I've never, ever celebrated a birthday before where I was just "chill" about the day. I've always felt anxious and awful and desperately craving the false first aid of outside approval and recognition.

 This year, I think I'm skipping the big birthday party plans. I want to buy myself some fresh flowers and make those cupcakes baked into ice-cream cones.

So if you are recovering from the emotional flu of a Holiday Trigger--you are not alone. You are not being a "sucky Catholic." Jesus has some important words to whisper into your soul, right in the exact place that you are at in the moment. Close your eyes and let Him kiss your heart.