Quitting Christmas. And what I should have told you sooner.


At 3:07pm on a Monday afternoon, while sighing restlessly alongside other anxious Target customers, I quit Christmas.

I realized I had ruined Christmas. Straight messed it up. Mangled it. Done it a disservice. Boxed it, botched it, in a way I never thought possible. And so there, with my hands full of snowman-decrepit cards that prove to be the only thing left when you shop the week before and a slew of sweaters I never actually needed, I placed my basket on the floor and I walked out of the store. I quit Christmas on the spot.

This is the point in the post where I apologize profusely to Target store employees for being "that" girl and overdramatizing my quitting of Christmas to the point of leaving stale merchandise in the middle of the floor for y'all to pick up. I am sorry. Very sorry. It was necessary for the completion of this blog post though.

The last few days have carried a melody of heartbreak that I never knew existed.

A tragedy 30 miles away. Hands I’ve once touched entangled in the devastation of an atrocious shooting. Twenty children pulled out from this earth before they ever learned the fine art of tying shoes and spelling bees. Our worry heightened. Our safety shattered. Our conversations inflated with gun laws and mental health,  and someone always trying to edge out the last word on Facebook, when we all might need to hush and stay silent for a while. We’ve never been the quiet nation but maybe we should learn?

The tragedy huddled us closer. The closeness of holidays made our hearts a bit weaker. Because lights are hung. And stockings won’t be filled. And Tonka trucks and toy  dolls will stay in the closet or be returned to the stores instead of being wrapped & tucked beneath an evergreen. It’s too much of an image to handle. It is a watercolor of the mind that will break you on the spot if you think too long of it.

But why now, and why this season, did we think that it was time to hold one another closer? And send cards in the mail. And hang ivy. And sing songs. And understand this mythical “reason for the season” that becomes all too cluttered by our shopping experiences and to-do lists that grow longer as the holidays grow near. And why now, do we shower the children will love and toys. And we scour the world for that perfect way to say “I love you” with a diamond or pearls. And we finally take a little time off.  And we breathe for five minutes before we start furiously plotting a newer year.

Why now? Wasn’t this the forgotten purpose of our yesterday? Wasn’t this the reason for even being here in the first place?

I think if Christmas had legs, it would walk right out the door. It wouldn’t come back.

I think if Christmas had fingers, it would head to AT&T, buy a phone, and make a Facebook. It would pounce up screaming in ALL CAPS on the endless statuses of people complaining or forgetting their children to voice their latest of opinions, and say, “Get off the dang phone and just go clutch someone, would ya?”

We are in desperate need of clutching. Of holding one another closer in a way that was more fierce than yesterday. Of facing one another to admit how hurt & broken & damaged we are. And admit how we screwed up yesterday but, as long as Tomorrow comes to visit in her bright red cape, we should start over. We should be closer. We should not worry so much about our image or our status or our need to always be right and just unplug long enough to see the pain in one another’s eyes. It’s there. It’s living. It’s bright. And it stitches every carol with a feeling of falsity. Because our troubles won’t be miles away. And we have to just face that. We have to just work with that. And, whether we think it or not, we are strong enough to over come that and make it through the troubles.

It is not a season to be merry and bright, so much as it is a season to finally admit to someone else, “Look, I need you. I need you on every one of my calendar days. And I love you. And I should not have waited for the stores to don red & green just to write that in a card to you. And I’m scared. Really. Petrified. Really. Because our world seems pretty broken. And I realize I cannot fix that. But I want to do better for you. Is that ok with you? I. Want. To. Do. Better. In. Loving. You.”

Tomorrow I might slide off the calendar. Tomorrow I might not be here anymore.

I don’ t want it to be the lights & the trees that convinced me to find you in the mess of this crowd, pull you out, tell you loud:

This life, I never understood it.

There was so much pain, there was so much hurt.

But you were always good to me.

And you filled me with a joy that felt like foam overflowing the mug.

& I’m Gonna See You Soon

& I Miss You Like Heck Already

& Be Good Until We Meet Again

& I’m Sorry, I Should Have Said This Sooner, But You Made All of This Worth It

& Just Hold Me Now, for the moment you have me, and Make Me Feel Like I Did You Right.

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45 Comments

Filed under Disconnect, Uncategorized

45 responses to “Quitting Christmas. And what I should have told you sooner.

  1. Hannah your writing always touches a chord in my heart! I feel similarly to the happenings around me….

  2. Dana

    A beautifully written – check up from the neck up! :) Thank you! I needed that!

  3. Rachel

    I can’t imagine the love that those parents need right now – all the presents they’ve already wrapped & places for those sweet ones who will never open them. We don’t need gifts; we need Love.

  4. Anonymous

    The love in this post absolutely pushes at the seams. I think this is one of the most heartbreakingly honest posts you’ve written so far, and I cannot thank you enough for sharing it.

  5. Holding you close with a grateful heart…

  6. Louise C.

    Hannah I shed beautiful tears. You are a marvelous human being. Lovely. I feel this in my heart and I also send live back to you for sharing your beautiful love and humanity. You create and walk in beauty.

  7. Louise C.

    Oops! Should be: I send love back to you. :) Please keep writing and sharing the unique you.

  8. Mike

    I think I might include this with all the Christmas cards I send this year. This season, I have been flooded with a busy pulse and I’m aching to step back from it all. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to love.

  9. CreativArts Consultant

    Hannah, I love love love that light, thanks..I sent off a card to you in the mail.. I love cards…. blessings, and thanks, I love your writing, you are very talented.. karen

  10. CreativArts Consultant

    H annah is such a beautiful soul, I saw her TED talk If you have time, I think you will enjoy her blog and her sensibilities.. blessings, kt

  11. Thierry De Wolf

    Hannah, wow. Just wow. You’re actually writing down here what goes through my mind from time to time but always feels so hard to express through words. To be able to do so, must be some sort of a gift. I was right to pronounce you my favorite blogster. I still stand by that. Please keep writing :)

    – Cheers from Belgium

  12. Thierry De Wolf

    Hannah, wow. Just wow. What you’re writing here is exactly what I feel from time to time, but am never able to express through words. To be able to do so, must be some kind of gift. I was right to pronounce you my favorite blogster, and I still stand by said declaration. Please never stop writing.
    – Cheers from Belgium

  13. Beautiful Hannah, as Always, eloquent. You make my heart full up. Sending you love and hugs and gratitude for your wisdom. Continue sharing your gift. <3, Kristin

  14. April

    awesome!! and so true and so needed. I stink at remembering all this. thanks for the reminder.

  15. I work at that Target. I was so confused. The sweaters were on sale. But now I understand.

  16. T. T.

    Thanks for the post Hannah. Thank you also for your TED talk; it’s how I found out about you and this cozy little site. My heart breaks for the children and their families, but I wonder. I wonder how desperate the young man must’ve been for attention and love, and I wonder how devastated he must’ve been when he didn’t receive any. I wonder how long he must’ve lived like this before deciding to just end it all. I think it’s sad that so many people treat the mentally ill and depressed like they’re diseased. It’s sad that they would rather lock them up than try to help them. This is definitely a time when we should clutch our loved ones close to our hearts, but we should also reach out and help the ones we ignore. The ones we see as complainers, drama queens, and cynicists because they are the ones sending out S.O.S’s we’re missing. They’re the ones who need love letters.

  17. I found about you watching TED talk as well. I could not agree more with you. Life is too short to get tangled up in the unimportant things. This tragedy has shown us how cruel the world can be sometimes and how we need to appreciate the time we have with our loved ones. My heart goes out to all the innocent souls lost and all the families suffering. Thanks for the post.

  18. ChadJude

    Hannah , These words electrified my heart. I am not an avid reader of anything. It seams your words are words I cannot wait to read to capture the love that oozes out the seams every time. Thank You for being YOU!

  19. Dear Hannah: this is Leslie H. commenting in. As the others have said, beautiful post. This has been a gray and sad week, and I’m sorry to see you feeling the brokenness of the world so keenly.

    You were always a sensitive soul, so I pray to God that you too will be fortified in these sad times. As much as we try to make an orderly Hobbesian society, the demonic is surging into modern life now, as if from a rift in tectonic plates. Despair is natural, but hope is divine. Though I am usually deadened to these holocausts, I had been feeling down last week, because the season can be so alienating. For that reason, I direct you to my Christmas sonnet for 2012:

    http://crusader888.blogspot.com/2012/12/this-is-christmas-sonnet-for-2012.html

    It starts on the down note, but just reading to the end warms me, and I hope will aid you too Hannah.

  20. crusader888

    Dear Hannah: this is Leslie H. commenting in. As the others have said, beautiful post. This has been a gray and sad week, and I’m sorry to see you feeling the brokenness of the world so keenly.

    You were always a sensitive soul, so I pray to God that you too will be fortified in these sad times. As much as we try to make an orderly Hobbesian society, the demonic is surging into modern life now, as if from a rift in tectonic plates. Despair is natural, but hope is divine. Though I am usually deadened to these holocausts, I had been feeling down last week, because the season can be so alienating. For that reason, I direct you to my Christmas sonnet for 2012:

    http://crusader888.blogspot.com/2012/12/this-is-christmas-sonnet-for-2012.html

    It starts on the down note, but just reading to the end warms me, and I hope will aid you too Hannah. [I'm not sure if I posted this before or if it failed, so just delete this one if the other did work]

  21. Reblogged this on So, It Has Come To This, Then. and commented:
    I don’t use this re-blog feature a lot. This, if I’m gonna use it, makes sense to use it with a post that’s as meaningful as this. Thanks for writing this one.

  22. The terrible things which have come to pass are indeed terrible. But they have also caused us to see beyond Christmas and the general holiday season as a time of consumerism and flagrant abandon…which personally, I think a very good thing. So though the loss of family members young or old becomes a pain nothing truly can assuage, if we do put down our baskets and look for deeper connections, that would be a silver lining to the cloud which in shadowing our sky has also caused us to see things not in the glare of sunny fun, but through the raindrop tears of realization as to how precious life really is.

  23. Pingback: Link love (Powered by jandals and excessive cake intake) | NZ Muse

  24. your mother

    perhaps i sent the “christmas” card because it said daughter on it and i was clutching out for your heart to tell you how much i love you every day of every season

  25. danielle

    your realness is refreshing

  26. Jana

    Thank you for this post!

  27. Thank you for this—so beautifully expressed and desperately needed.

  28. Lovely. Heart warming. Heart wrenching . Thank you.

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