Overdose of feelings

The Christmas season is for many the most beautiful time of the year. Unfortunately, only a few can really enjoy the time, most of us are permanently busy making it the best moment of the year for everyone else. Mothers are particularly affected, slaving away as always to make children's eyes light up. Between Christmas miracles and Christmas madness, many just feel like crying. Festive tears are however the best tears, finds the authoress Karina Lübke. From her new book "bitte recht festlich" her very personal view on the Christmas stress.



from Karina Lübke


The Christmas season is so insanely emotional that it can be considered a form of family therapy in its own right. In the space of just over two months, you experience more existential emotions than you otherwise would throughout the year: I regularly cry tears of anger, tears of exhaustion, tears of emotion, tears of disappointment, tears of gratitude, tears of relief, and tears of joy in an annually changing mix. Because Christmas doesn't just come, as many men believe - you have to invite it emphatically, push it in at your door and make it comfortable. This form of psychological hero's journey involves leaving the comfort zone, crossing boundaries and improvising spontaneously on a daily basis. Christmas nervous breakdowns are therefore a tradition, especially among women and mothers, and somehow they are also the best, because they have a cathartic effect: cleansed of old burdens in this way and the soul wiped wet with tears, the days between the years are a good start to the new year.

It is a pity, however, that one never knows exactly whether the longed-for and planned feelings will also occur at the right time and at the appropriate event. Sometimes the whole production was perfect, but from sheer exhaustion you can no longer feel deep or high enough. The intense happiness in the here and now that I wish for just in time for Christmas Eve, when the real candle flames on the tree burn as the only sources of light in the room, when everyone is healthy, freshly washed and nicely dressed with a glass of champagne in hand and already a curious eye on the presents under the tree, this mixture of deep peace, joyful excitement and overflowing love often catches me only belatedly in the afternoon of Boxing Day. By then, the worry that you've invested all that money in gifts that won't elicit cries of joy from the recipient, but at best a well-mannered "Oh! that's...nice" and at worst a "What's that?", has subsided. What? Aha. And ... why do you need something like that? Aha. Do you think it can still be exchanged?".

The perceived responsibility for the success of the feast and a reasonable amount of happiness for everyone has suddenly fallen off me, what's done is done. The outside world, the worries and all the hussle are far away. I'm lying alone on the sofa in sweatpants, I've lit the last candles on the magnificent tree at the dawn of the deep blue hour, the beauty of which I've not yet been able to really enjoy; I'm listening to a Bach concert on headphones, finally take a deep breath and suddenly the choir sweeps me away completely: Hallelujahhh! The after-show party is often better than the main event.

How many Christmases do you experience in a lifetime? With a lot of luck and a healthy diet, eighty or ninety. If you were to celebrate them all one after the other, you'd be completely through after three months - with everything. That's really not much time. You have to make the best of it. Psychologists say that memories are best recalled when they are accompanied by strong emotions. That's why you remember emotional Christmas days in such detail even after many years. That's why it's so important to me to make each one an intense, condensed favorite memory.

Christmas without tears? Not mine!




No, life is not a wish list! But this book tells you everything you need to know about Advent and Christmas so that you don't (just) hate the festival of love(s). "bitte recht festlich" by Karina Lübke is published by Carlsen Verlag, has 128 pages and costs 12 euros (digital edition 8.99 euros). Available here or in all bookstores. Have fun reading!

Karina first studied design, took a diploma in fashion and then graduated from the Hamburg School of Journalism with Wolf Schneider. She went on to become an editor and columnist at TEMPO and then wrote freelance for several magazines. Her monthly column "Bitte recht feindlich" in BARBARA magazine has a large following and will be published as a book early this year, as will her next novel. In between, she married, raised a daughter and a son. Learn more here.

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