Lonely Christmas

It is that time of the year again. The day where wrapping paper takes over the room and family gatherings form part of the day’s schedule. The busiest of the holidays: the ever so stressful, exciting and magical time of the year. I wonder, if this is such a demanded day, why and who would even be reading this post?

Have I put you on the spot? Or have I put myself on it? Don’t we have anything to do today or somebody to share it with? Well, that is not particularly the case for me as I already put on my bearded-man hat this morning and sparkled some magic on my son’s and cousins’ life. However, I must admit that my Christmases for the past years have been a mix of nice with a hint of lonely. Therefore, I will use this overly quoted/cliche phrase to describe my current situation: ‘sometimes, you don’t have to be alone to feel alone’ (or something like that).

Loneliness comes in different shapes and forms. Perhaps today you are indeed alone at your house, perhaps your loved one is no longer with you to celebrate, or perhaps you live far away from the family members that have made that day special for you. Well, I don’t know which one applies to you (or not), my dear reader, but the latter rings a bell for me.

I moved to the U.S. from Venezuela almost seven years ago. My country was and still is going through a severe socio-economic crisis. As a result, many Venezuelans have emigrated in hopes finding better life opportunities. However, some have also left without knowing when they would be able to go back; leaving family and friends behind. Even though I have found a new way to celebrate among other members of the growing migrant Venezuelan community, the experience is not the same when you are far away from the nucleus.

I have not seen my mother and brother in almost three years, I have not seen my best friend in seven, and I spend less that 24 hours with the friends I have gotten the chance to meet up with. This distance becomes even more real during the holidays, which to us, was a time where getting together was the backbone of celebration. Even though I still have dinner with loved ones and put on my Santa beard for the night, celebrating the holidays have lost a magical touch ever since I left my home country.

I iterate, loneliness comes in different shapes and forms. Although I am surrounded by others, I’m still in a profound state of nostalgia. I miss decorating the house with my mom with Gaitas blasted at full volume. I miss making hallacas with the family and yelling at each other out of desperation while, once again, Gaitas resonate all over the house. Wrapping presents, having dinner with friends, going to support my school’s Gaitas festival, going to a friend’s house after the family reunion is over. All of these things embody my former holiday routine and probably the one of your next-door/coworker/classmate Venezuelan.

I must admit, however, that after reading the previous paragraph I realize that I am not only nostalgic for my country and traditions, but also for those youthful years that have progressively transformed into matured ones. I guess the holidays lose a hint of magic as you grow older? I mean, at this point you KNOW that if you do not harass someone or organize it yourself, your stocking will be empty on Christmas day (so… Today?). I come to understand why some of my family members have turned green as the Grinch, they act indifferent about the holidays but put on the biggest smile if having the celebrate it.

T already opened his presents, had his special Christmas (*insert celebrated holiday here*) breakfast and is currently playing with his toys. I must point out that Santa got all the credit and we got none (Carrot is not thrilled about this¹). As he plays, I lay on the corner of the bed with my reindeer pajamas. I fear I am turning green but have started to sport the smile whenever required to. For my younger self and for my son, I write here: Creating new traditions and memories is okay, do it! Loneliness is just an illusion when you have control over it. 

Now… I’ll go eat a “Merry XMAS” donut. You can’t get any more festive than this, right?

Happy Holidays, whether you are lonely or content! In the end, today is just another day!

 

¹Tune in to our ‘Christmas special’ podcast episode this Saturday, December 28 to know why!!!

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Gaia Co-writer theDIHEDRAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by ThomasWolter

18 Replies to “Lonely Christmas”

  1. This is the truth, “…not only nostalgic for my country and traditions, but also for those youthful years that have progressively transformed into matured ones.” I think — even if we stay in our hometown forever — youth’s country retreats further and further as we get older, those we love die, and time inexorably changes the landscape, the world. This is a beautiful heart-felt post. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Merry Christmas. Sorry you have to miss family and home at Christmas, but glad you have friends around you at this time. Hopefully, things will improve in Venezuela and you can see your family again soon. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Merry Christmas.

    Sometimes we all forget the real meaning of Christmas and we make it all of these other things that it’s not. We are taught to think that it’s the presents and not the joy of receiving. So when we don’t have all of those things then it hurts.

    At the same time, no one deserves to feel lonely at Christmas or at any other time. So you definitely have my sympathies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written, with poignant descriptions of emotions surrounding challenging transitions – away from a childhood home or country, into adulthood, creating new traditions while missing the old. I remind myself as often as necessary: change is good. Especially when you can shape the outcome. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Feliz navidad.Soy española.Mis navidades están siendo horribles y hay algo peor,estar con tu familia y sentirme más solo que nunca y eso estando enfermo.cuando me siento sola cojo el ordenador,escribo y pienso en todas las cosas que quiero conseguir,como poder independizarme.Te mando mucha fuerza y mucho ánimo,no estás solo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No estamos físicamente reunidos para esta fecha, pero siempre juntos!!
      Te extrañamos y queremos un montón! Dios los bendiga hoy y siempre.
      TQM ❤️❤️
      Que bien escrito, excelente cómo transmites tus sentimientos. 🤗😘🙏🏻

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I believe the best traditions spring from a universal spirit. Being kind and brightening another’s day are two good ways to begin new ones – and metamorphose old ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Merry Christmas and happy New Year! I also live far from my native country. I have Canadian husband, but my daughter, grandchildren, sister and her family, as well as my best friends are all in Europe, across the Ocean. Nostalgia is fine, and everybody feels some, but we just cannot stay in the sad mood and see ourselves as a victim. It most likely is our choice to leave the native country. When doing so, one has to be aware there will be times when they feel lonely. It takes time to get used. I’ve been in Canada for 16 years, and I still cannot get over some things. Well, but it is ok all in all, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was a vagabond traveler for some years, ’97-’04, though I settled some in places awhile, spent two in South America trying to find a way to go to another continent, and I ended up in Cumana of your country. I had enough cash to get a good meal, and I wanted spaghetti for some reason I don’t remember but had to do with comfort food. Anyway, I asked a man at a language school on a corner where was I could get a plate of that. He laughed and gave me a job and a place to hang my hammock and sleep in his school, later took me to buy some nice teacher clothes and fed me until my first paycheck. I had hair past my shoulders and a long beard by that time as you might imagine. The nice clothes put a touch on that castaway look that made you think of strange things getting your English lesson. Not long after starting to work there, a longtime teacher there, an Italian immigrant no less, then put me in his unfinished house and took me on outings with his family and treated me like I was part of it, and I got to eat a lot of spaghetti, as his wife was an Italian immigrant too. He told me he spent 7 years in America and people had helped him all along the way, and so he was returning the favor. After 6 months my students got together and gave me a party and passed a hat around so I’d have enough money to fly to Spain so I could go to Paris and write poetry there, and maybe a poem came out of that whole summer there, but that’s another story. With no money Paris is a trip. That’s how I left South America, and all the while in your wonderful country I was told, by everyone, how lucky I’d ended up in the Orient in Venezuela, and how fortunate I was. I maybe went through 30 or 40 countries during those years, and I still count my lucky stars I visited Venezuela.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I went through this exact same feeling this past Christmas. I tried to express how I felt, and was met with “remember the reason for the season.” People who are surrounded by the traditions and those who continue it don’t understand that sense of loss and nostalgia – the magic as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christmas will never lose its magic for me as long as there is a child within reach.
    To create for them (now grandchildren) all that the Holiday is to shining young eyes.
    I remember the year our family was in dire straits, but my mother (and father, I’m sure) made the best of it, and made a Christmas anyway. I was quite young, and not sure how I knew, but could tell all of our presents had come from the second-hand store.
    It’s funny how I never noticed, even as a child. These things were new and exciting to me, and I didn’t care where they came from, or who had used them before me.

    You must bring Venezuela with you, wherever you go. In your heart and mind, in the stories you’ll tell to your little one.
    Blast those Gaitas!
    Make hallacas with your family, however small it may be, and comprised of every available species.
    Bring the old traditions and make new.
    Venezuelan Christmas in America!
    Surely there must be other Venezuelans in your neighborhood, your town, your state, that would love to bring their traditions, too.

    Alas, I have no flowery words that can bring solace when it comes to missing your mother.
    I miss mine to this day, gone more than a decade now.
    Perhaps you may take heart knowing you will not let her traditions die.
    Soon you will come to realize that it was her effort and presence that made all the difference.
    She will be proud to know that you are now the effort, the presence, the essence of Christmas, for your own little one.

    Take care,

    Paz

    Liked by 3 people

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