It’s the Holiday Season, so Hoopdy-Do and Hickory Dock

I always put my Christmas decorations up on November 1st. I realize this makes some of you like me less but I am ok with it. I have a whole bunch of redeeming qualities as a human, so allow me this one flaw. I love it. I love the lights, I love the music, I love the nostalgia.

October 31st might be my favorite day of the year. To me, it ushers in the holiday season in a most dramatic and terrifying way. It is the gateway to a joyous time of year.

This year I spent Halloween in depressive tears. There are several reasons the Halloween of 2022 did not bring me the joy Halloween usually does. I am divorced. Which I don’t mind at all. But what I do mind (and the very worst part of being divorced… fight me on this) is sharing holidays. I didn’t think I would be bothered one way or another about not having my kids for Halloween this year. Most of them are over the trick-or-treating phase anyway. I assumed it would just be a typical Monday, with a few extra knocks on the door. I was going to clean my house, make myself dinner, listen to my audiobook, and have an early night. I got home from work and instantly felt lonely. Then of course, a Facebook memory popped up of my kids in their younger years. My teenagers are marvelous humans. But nothing beats a toddler in a CaraBear costume. On seeing the Facebook memory I instantly burst into tears. The icing on the cake was the trick-or-treaters… I had FOUR. One was my son and his friends dropping by to say hello. Another was a teenage girl in the neighborhood, just checking to make sure I was ok. I live in a big neighborhood, with a lot of small children. I BOUGHT GOOD CANDY. And nobody came. I went to bed defeated.

Thanksgiving was a little better. I got to spend it with my folks and most of my siblings. Along with the best nieces and nephews on God’s green earth. But alas, none of my kids were there. I came to the Thanksgiving table with an attitude of “what’s the point”.. And again, went home feeling slightly defeated.

Which brings us to Christmas. It’s still early days, but it is worth talking about. I own a candy store that specializes in hand-made old fashioned chocolate. We do approximately one quarter of our yearly sales from December 1st-December 24th. Think about that. We can sell in one day in December what we sell in the entire month of June. It is pure chaos. This is year two as owner for me, which is shaping up to be a lot better than year one. Last year I barely survived. Case in point. Emmy had spirit week leading up to Christmas vacation. Every day they were supposed to wear some crazy Christmas something. We participated in none of it. Until Emmy insisted. It was Christmas Hat Day. Which she did not tell me about until the morning of. But it was important to her. And I was full of guilt. We live 5 minutes from Walmart, so 15 minutes before the bus came I literally ran to Walmart, grabbed the first Christmas hat I found, paid for it, ran home and threw it at Emmy just before the bus arrived. 30 seconds later, she came in and asked me why I would buy her a hat like this. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the hat I unknowingly bought my 10-year-old.

She assured me that it was fine. She would just cover it up (what??). I am still amazed I did not get a phone call from the principal.

This brings us to Christmas 2022. I am overwhelmed. I am sad. I am tired. And I am determined to make it great. I cannot change the fact that I have to share my kids during the holidays. And I cannot change the fact that I will be spending every waking hour at the candy store I love, just to ensure the holiday season is a great one. But I can control the way I feel about it. This is a wonderful season, full of joy, family, and magic. And despite the stress, I want to feel all of that. I am choosing joy.

Halloween 2023 will be here before you know it. Regardless of whether my kids are around or not, I am going to watch all the movies. I am going to dress up in the most ridiculous costume. I am going to deck the house out. I am going to sit in the driveway with a bowl of candy, and I am going to MAKE the trick-or-treaters come to me. And the next day, I am going to put up my Christmas decorations, and listen to Christmas music. And I am going to have the best holiday season ever.

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