What I Hate About Christmas

This morning on the radio, they were having listeners call in and discuss the one thing that they hate about Christmas, but would never tell their friends or family. Of course in my alway optimistic form, I thought to myself, "There's nothing about Christmas that I hate, and there's definitely nothing that I hate that I would never tell my friends or family about". But the more I thought about it, there is something about Christmas I don't like and it doesn't have anything to do with Christmas itself.

I don't like that my job offers me little time off around the holidays. A big part of that is the sports I have worked with have all included a winter sport (hockey and basketball). Even if their game schedule doesn't conflict with Christmas, they usually practice as much as possible around Christmas. Personally, I have learned to accept it. To me, it is worth it to do a job that I love, but I know I have friends and family members that don't see it that way.

They all want to see me for Christmas, but there isn't enough time, and unfortunately (or fortunately) there is only one of me. I wish I was able to see everyone, but its just not feasible. The people-pleaser side of me gets so stressed this time of year, because regardless of whose family we visit, I always feel like I'm disappointing the other family. To avoid having to choose one family over the other last year, Ben and I just stayed in Boston for Christmas and did our own thing. This year, I decided to go to my parents for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is the divorce. My parents are still going to celebrate Christmas together this year, and not knowing whether that will happen ever again led my to celebrate with them this year. It also just worked better with my schedule. The basketball team is participating in a tournament in Stetson right before Christmas. Stetson isn't that far from my family, so I am just staying in Florida after the tournament and Ben will meet me down there.

I am still sad that I don't get to see Ben's family at all for these holidays, but hopefully, my schedule will permit it next year.

At the same time, I shouldn't let all of this get me down so much. My friends and family need to be equally understanding and respectful of me and my job. Sure, I chose this job and this lifestyle, but I love it. Those serving our country overseas chose that job, and their families need to be supportive of them, even if they can't make it home for Christmas every year. Sometimes, I don't feel like I always get that kind of support. And even if they do support me fully, I don't always feel like they understand it completely. Almost every year its the same thing, "So why aren't you going to be here for such and such a holiday/birthday/family event again? Why can't you just take off?"

Well, answer me this, why can't ER doctors and nurses just take off? Don't you go around thinking about having a heart attack on Christmas! Why can't airline pilots just take off? You don't really need to see those relatives on the other side of the country around the holidays, do you? And those service men and women? Christmas should be the last time we're thinking about world peace and safety. Sure, what I do is sports-related and that's really unimportant compared to some of these things, but think of the outcry if the NFL decided not to have games on Thanksgiving or if the NCAA didn't have bowl games on New Year's or if the NBA didn't start their belated season on Christmas Day?

I feel blessed that I even get time off at all. Thank you to all of you out there who don't get much or any time off. Thank you for making our holidays better and brighter.


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