Do you Rejoice During the Festive Season?

Or do you dread it?

Caroline de Braganza
5 min readDec 19, 2018


Piper Mountain Christmas Tree Farm

No matter what faith you follow, your religious calendar will include a celebration such as Diwali or Hanukkah or Eid. These festive days and rituals, including Christmas, remind us of the light that shines within and the joy of giving and helping others.

Do I Rejoice?

My hubby and I used to hunker in emotional lockdown as Christmas Day drew nearer. We no longer do that. In the next section I’ll tell you what changed.

Among us are those for whom this special day opens a stab wound which penetrates deep into the heart, bleeding the stress and sorrow of days we’d rather not remember. No Santa Claus, no Christmas stocking, no warm hugs and laughter, no family reunions, only forgettable moments.

We used to dread the day. The lights on the Christmas tree were ever a stark reminder of what we never had as children; gifts for each other, wrapped and ready, a lonely couple waiting under the tree, sheltering from the emotional storms breaking over our heads. These gifts symbolized the love and care we have for each other. (Our respective families had excommunicated us.)

Despite the gifts and the tree, the overwhelming sense of isolation remained. Although the artificial tree was bright and cheerful, it reminded us of what had not been and would never be. Almost three years ago we donated it, together with the tinsel and baubles and lights, to our local hospice.

But I kept the little bear, Nicholas, in his moon and stars vest, who used to perch at the top of the tree. Nicholas reminds me to continue growing and appreciated what I have.

Now we rejoice in the day, tap into the light and express our joy and gratitude we are here together, despite all the trials we have faced. (18 months ago we were close to living on the streets. That’s awkward if you’re White.)

What we do on Christmas Day

We now celebrate Christmas from a new perspective. Not in the traditional sense, but for the past two years we have stayed up on Christmas Eve to watch the live broadcast of the Midnight Mass from the Vatican and aim to repeat this a week from now. (Both of us left our respective religions into



Caroline de Braganza

Wise Older Woman (WOW). Poetry, essays, humor. Passion for mental health, social justice, politics, diverse cultures, the world and environment.