Failed grade. Broken family. Loss of a loved one. Sometimes you simply can’t have a merry Christmas—not because you choose to be miserable, but because life made you feel so.
This is the guilt-ridden part of Christmas that no one talks about.
Unlike the Grinch who hated Christmas and whose heart was twice smaller, I think mine remained its normal size, only with a few cuts and bruises. I still found myself hooked on the Christmas feels from the videoke to bibingka, but without the same people and innocence I had as a child.
Rather than gifts, I was waiting for my grades—an unfair measurement of my self-worth these days.
The silent treatment at home was louder than the Christmas carols of the kids on the streets. That happens when you lose someone in the family by death or sadly, by pride.
In the middle of these mixed emotions, I realized I didn’t have to sulk all the way down on Christmas eve. And I didn’t have to be merry, either. Instead, I turned to the gift of creativity to unwrap the feelings I was harboring inside.
To be creative, for me, is to be able to pull the extraordinary out of an ordinary thing, or to let the extraordinary things appeal to our ordinary senses.
Aside from using conventional tools like paper and coloring materials, you can head to the kitchen and bake your own recipe of chocolate brownies. No hard and fast rules here. Just let those feelings be nurtured in your own creative process.
I tried playing the piano again. I almost forgot that I had a musical inclination (oh, college, why did you do this to me?). Feeling myself pressing the keys of the piano helped me collect myself in pieces.
I renovated my bedroom that had become a storage room. It turned out that I had potential in interior design major in decluttering.
Of course, I wrote down my thoughts, those that kept me awake at night and the stories I had been making up inside my head. I even sent handwritten letters to my family and friends.
By putting my heart to my own kind of craft, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s one of the gentle ways to vent out my emotions, too. The best part? It’s free.
So you better watch out—for your creative juices. Cry while you’re at it, if you must.
Heartbreaks and losses are truly one of the hardest parts of life, but these moments also make life meaningful and it holds more meaning when you create something to honor these feelings—a reminder of the stronger person you’ve become throughout the years.
By not forcing myself to be “merry” during Christmas, I also learned to cherish the holiday in a different light, with the same people—my family and friends. Together, let’s create something and share a euphoric memory that is Christmas.
May you have a creative— if not that happy— holidays!