Hello! How have you been? We’ve missed you.
It’s the day before Christmas (8:15 AM) and I am sitting in an empty bathtub, working, while my family peacefully snoozes in the other room. I have a cold, which by now is de rigueur for the holiday.
I’ve had a cold at Christmas as far back as I can remember. I’ve worn those yellow mouth and nose masks around dying elderly family members, I’ve NyQuil sweated my way through elaborate Christmas dinners, and I’ve used a fuck ton of tissues.
I’ve had Christmases in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, and London and I’ve always had a cold for all of them, always. I don’t think Santa brings it to me, I think Christmas just makes me sick.
I’m not a grinch! I don’t hate the Christmas season. In fact, I like it very much. The music is friendly, the foods are cozy and I especially enjoy giving my friends and family presents. Holiday baking is nice. Ugly sweaters are cool. I’m Jewish so Chanukah is in there somewhere. But come December 23, I fall ill.
Maybe I’m allergic to Christmas trees? Or elves? Or having a good time?
Could be from eating too many Gingerbread people.
But it might also be how much importance and family togetherness is stressed on this holy day of Jesus, commercialism, and consumerism, that it stresses me the fuck out. I love my family, but I think my body is rejecting them. I don’t just mean my parents and sibling. I think it’s the whole shebang. The whole extended mishpokhe (second shout out, Jews).
It’s the energies and personalities and problems of grandma and dead grandpa and ex-wives and aunts and uncles and cousins and family friends who all love me so much and who I love dearly, but who make my snotty head feel stuffed with cotton.
It’s not that they expect anything from me, but they do–we all do. it’s Christmas. It’s the most magical day of the year where everyone is happy for one perfect and pure day (which has never ever been anyone’s experience I think? Ever?)
You’re not supposed to get mad when your Grandma snarkily tells your mom you’ve been taking a lot of pills (aspirin and allergy btw!) or if your cousin wants to know if you’re seeing somebody. It’s Christmas so it’s not worth getting stressed that when you talk about your job it sounds like you’re going nowhere. We’re all together, so we can talk about who is dying of cancer, who has mental illness, Trump, or a really humiliating family story about when you were 13 that you told your Dad not to bring up ever again.
Alcohol doesn’t have any internal antiseptic properties that will cure your illness btw. I’ve tried. You’re just sick and drunk at the same time. Being drunk with a stuffy nose is worse than getting coal in your stocking just FYI.
You suffer and sweat and cough and sneeze through every Christmas occasion. You decline hugs and let others pile food onto your plate because god forbid you touch the serving spoon. Your mom takes you aside to complain and cry for the 29th time. No one can understand what your uncle is talking about. He’s not drunk, he’s just confusing. You and your sister get in a fight for no reason. Everyone gets mad at you for being on your phone.
And then it’s over.
And miraculously, so does your cold.
Maybe it’s all in my head–but tell that to the 48 tissues that surround me in this bathtub.
I think for Christmas what I would really like is some alone time, peace of mind, and a cure for the common cold.
Oh, and Harry Styles.