But I really feel no anticipation in starting to count down to this holiday at this point.
Yet there seems to be a certain expectation that this is the time to begin. The shopping, the music, the lights, the baking...before you know it, we will be surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of this busy time of year.
Leading up to this date, knowing it was just around the corner and me not at all ready for it, I started feeling annoyed that there is always such an expectancy about November 1st. I just wasn't ready. And nobody was gonna make me do anything I wasn't ready to do (insert a harrumph here with an image of me stubbornly crossing my arms in defiance).
It's not that I'm a scrooge or anything. Far from it. Christmas actually used to be my most favorite time of the year...and even now, deep down, I have those same feelings. I think primarily it has to do with WHEN this time of year falls. Sure, the busyness of it all seems like too much most of the time too - but the biggest problem I have with it is that when I fall into my pits of loneliness, helplessness and despair during the cold, dark winter season...the last thing I seem to want to do is anything fun and festive. Even though that's exactly the time that I need those things.
So the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this expectation is actually a good thing. For me, anyway. Given my anxiety/depression struggles - that are most definitely heightened during this time of year - perhaps it's a good idea to almost feel forced to start participating in Christmas-related activities this early.
Afterall, if I just left it to how I felt...well, the devil could use that as a foothold to drag me further and deeper into my dark hole and robbing me of the pure joy that he knows Christmas really does bring to me, once I decide to start enjoying it.
So I will claim November 1st to be the day that I begin the anticipation of the Christmas season. I'll start slowly by dusting off my Christmas CD's to play around the house (when Les isn't around). As the weeks go on and the snow undoubtedly begins to fall, I will feel prone to start my Christmas baking. And little by little I will start buying presents for my loved ones. And eventually me and the girls will convince Les that it's time to put up the tree.
And before you know it, these things won't be happening out of expectation anymore. But out of anticipation. There will more than likely still be times when I feel the way I felt last year - when I made next-to-no mention of Christmas on this blog due to how absolutely miserable I had been feeling. But I'm hoping those times will be in the minority this year, instead of the majority. And that when I do start to feel that I want nothing more than to forget about this time of year and everything that goes along with it, I will remind myself that Christmas isn't a burden; it is a wonderfully-placed time of year that represents hope among the chaos and reminds us that relief is on its way. And because of it, we can hold firm to these words:
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."