It’s safe to assume the holidays are a great time of the year. They give us a lot to look forward to. These two months are full of putting up pretty and festive things, shopping bargains, presents, and lots of big meals with loved ones (or those we have to pretend to love). Even for families who aren’t very well off, or people who don’t celebrate the more commercialized holidays, the atmosphere around this time of year feels warm and welcoming.
I look forward to the late winter months because it’s also my birthday season. I have Thanksgiving, then Hanukkah, then birthday and Christmas (Matt called it “birthmas” once and it stuck). I grew up having all three of these present-type holidays bunched together every year, and I’m used to having to have a burst of seeing relatives and eating a lot of food and cake and then getting back into the swing of life after the new year.
When I stopped being shuffled between parents houses (four separate families was a pain to schedule around, but worth it) during the holidays was about when I started working. Most of my jobs up until this point were very accommodating and didn’t make me work on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Luckily, I managed to scrape by only working 1 black friday so far.
This year, however, I’m working at a 24 hour pharmacy and I work Thanksgiving, all but 1 night of Hanukkah, and chances are I’ll also work Christmas and Christmas Eve.
All of this wouldn’t be such a huge deal to me, except for my desire to be a better family member. I’ve been open about how I feel like a total failure when it comes to being a relative. I come off as uncaring and unwilling to contact my relatives. All of them have always been nothing but good to me, and in high school I shrugged them off. Now I have the chance to make things a little better and maybe travel a little for the holidays because I’m old enough. Also, I can buy better gifts now or send cards to prove I’m a responsible, caring, adult family member. Instead, I most likely won’t get to see anyone for the big holiday get togethers I’m used to going to every year.
My mom and stepdad’s side of the family are having Hanukkah celebrations right after Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and I work from early afternoon to late at night. I bought presents for people and everything. It’s also my uncle’s birthday.
The holidays are supposed to be time to see family. We’re supposed to get along and enjoy the season. Generally, I’d be taking a break from a majority of stress and feelings of inadequacy. This year, I don’t get that. I feel cheated.
I just have to remind myself that I graduate in the spring and will be working from home next year. Next year will be better. Next year maybe I’ll get a real holiday season to spend with my families.
Oh, Happy Hanukkah!