I used to feel dread when I thought of Christmas. My mom's (large) family is all back east so we grew up celebrating holidays and birthdays with my dad's family. My grandpa and grandma were great people, as is my dad's sister. Her husband is not a great person. I can honestly say that I do not have a single good memory of him to offset the many many horrible memories I have of him. My aunt and her husband had one son. We did not like each other very much when we were kids. He died when I was when 21 and he was 24 years old, before we really got a chance to know each other as adults.
I used to feel sad during the November / December buildup to Christmas. I used to hate Christmas music and Christmas decorations. I used to want to hibernate until January so I didn't have to celebrate a holiday that made me feel like I wasn't enough. Not happy enough, not religious enough, not rich enough, the list goes on.
My grandpa and grandma are both gone now. I have not seen my aunt's husband in years. Our family of 6 has grown to be a family of 13. Christmas is loud and chaotic but in a good way. A healing way. I get to introduce Grady to decorating gingerbread men, and The Polar Express, and the magic of twinkling lights on a cold winter's evening.
For so many years I felt like I didn't fit Christmas but now I know I can make it fit me.