Having my first real good Christmas

I think this is the first Christmas that I’ve ever had that’s felt good/okay. I’ve had a rough month this December–some horrible abuse memories from this time of year, and some depression, deep sadness, despair, old feelings that come from the abuse and trauma–and during that time I also had to work on copyedits of Stained (which comes out next year). But I also had a lot of good. And today…today was actually good. I don’t remember a Christmas that I’ve ever been able to say that. This is new for me, and lovely!

Petal, my little Chinese Crested dog, brings me so much happiness. I started the morning with a lovely walk with her, and we saw and walked with many other people and their dogs who we both knew. That was a nice start to our day. I had fun giving Petal a bunch of presents throughout the day, including a really loud rooster toy (actually, three of them, to replace her favorite chewed up one), a bouncy bird toy, a soft stick toy, and a new bone, Christmas doggie cookie, chewies, and extra treats. Petal gets so much happiness out of little things–it’s a good reminder.

I also posted some photos of Petal and talked about her on Twitter and FaceBook, and had people responding, and that helped me stay connected to people and to good feeling. And I had email conversations with some of the people I care about most in this world, which also helped.

I unwrapped a beautiful, thoughtful present from a beautiful, thoughtful, dear friend of mine–Julie Shoerke–who also happens to be my book publicist.

She sent me this lovely piece of hanging art/poetry that says “You are so smart, caring, awesome” on one side, and “you are so witty, loving, amazing.” I don’t know about the “witty” part, but I do know that I try to be the others, and Julie insists they all fit. 🙂 I really need reminders like that, still; my abusers taught me to hate myself and to not take in any good. I’ve learned, over time, to love myself more, but I can’t always hold onto tho positive, so this was a beautiful, perfect, thoughtful present.

I put up ornaments on the tree from two people I love dearly, including Jean (who is like a mom to me) which was a lovely reminder of them, and had two other gifts from some people I love, which helps so much. And I put up a flying pig ornament which arrived last night. I love flying pigs; I love the impossible becoming possible (which is a theme for me, and which comes out in my book Parallel Visions).

I bought myself most of my presents–it’s what I do without family, and it can often feel sad to me on Christmas and my birthday. As well as all the old stuff that comes up from my parents buying and then destroying my presents every year when I was a kid. But though presents felt sad this month, it didn’t today. Instead, parts of me enjoyed the things I’d bought them and receieved, and some favorite things came up with me and Petal on the couch. 🙂

I made a Tofurkey and potatoes and asparagus/spinach/onions/mushrooms – some of my favorite foods – and had chocolate cookies, and Petal had pure chicken dog treats. 🙂

I read and read–I’ve just gotten into Chris D’Lacey’s Last Dragon Chronicles, which if you haven’t read is comforting and fantastical and lovely, and I highly recommend them. (I went through Book One–The Fire Within–yesterday, and today I’m on Book Two, Ice Fire.) I also read my new picture books, all of which are new favorites and feel so good–Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack; Andrew Drew and Drew by Barney Saltzberg; And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin E Stead; John Jensen Feels Different; and, even though it feels a bit sexist to me, I also bought, opened today, and loved My Snake Blake by Randy Siegel and Serge Bloch (maybe because it feels like Crictor by Tomi Ungerer which I loved as a child).

I also bought and read some Christmas picture books (before the day), trying to open myself up to the idea that Christmas could be a good time of year. I now have some real favorite Christmas picture books, some that are sweet, some that are like poetry, and books I know I’ll come back to again next year: The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson and Jon Muth; A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown; Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (I love Amelia Bedelia); and Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney. I also found some winter picture books that I love and pulled them out; while not specifically Christmas, they still fit this time of year.

I watched part of a feel-good Christmas movie (A Holiday For Love); I’ve been watching feel-good Christmas movies all month. Feel-good movies and books help remind me of the goodness in people, and are so important for me when things are hard. I’ve spent time playing with Petal, and enjoying my gifts, having fun reading, and eating…and not working! Talking with good people on Twitter and Facebook and email (thank you, all!) And for the most part, I’ve stayed out of sadness and depression, and just…had a good day. I will hold onto this, and try to remind myself next year when things get hard around Christmas. I even found myself able to listen to Christmas music and be okay, even enjoy some of it, without it taking me down to the abuse. I didn’t think that could happen, especially when I was having a rough time this month. But it has, and today is good…and I am thankful. Thankful for healing and change, for the kind, good, loving people in my life, for people I connect with online, for my lovely, sweet little Petal, and for having enough food to eat, gifts to open, safety and warmth.

I hope you have all had, or are having, a lovely, lovely holiday filled with laughter, joy, and good feeling. I hope for healing, joy, and laughter for us all.

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Having my first real good Christmas

  1. I’m glad that you ended up having a nice day today with Petal. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you, Chrystal! (smiling at you) Petal brings so much joy. Wishing you a very happy holiday, too!

  3. Julie Schoerke says:


    You make the world a better place every day and I feel so lucky to be in your orbit! You are each of these words – including “witty!”

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Josh says:

    If you lived within 100 miles of me, you’d totally be invited to my house for Christmas dinner! It’s slightly chaotic but in a way only two daughters who won’t stop singing and a wife who encourages them could be. It’s hard not to get sucked into the gravitational pull of their positivity. 🙂

    I’m glad you had a good one, Cheryl. You deserve many, many more.

  5. Lori says:

    It’s great to hear you were able to finally have a good Christmas. You absolutely deserve it! I understand how hard it can be around the holidays. I often feel very lonely, simply because all my friends are engaged or married; I’m the only single one, and my family doesn’t really come around or invite me over. So, Christmas is small for me and only a couple of my friends give me gifts. So, I say go buy yourself whatever you want: not only do you deserve it, but there’s nothing wrong with it! I always get myself a little something because, aside from the close couple of friends, it’s the only gift I’ll get for Christmas. So, spoil yourself, and that adorable little Petal 🙂 And may all your future Christmases be even brighter.

  6. Julie, thank you (hugging you). You make the world a better place, too, and I’m so glad I know you. 🙂

  7. Aw, Josh, thank you! (laughing) That’s lovely of you. 🙂 It sounds like you had a feel-good Christmas. I love that your daughters sang so much and your wife encouraged them. 🙂 And thank you for your good wishes. 🙂

  8. Lori, thank you. 🙂 And yes, Christmas can be lonely alone. I’m sorry you’re not near your family then. I’m glad you get yourself gifts for Christmas, too. I think it’s important to feel more okay, especially with so much social pressure about Christmas/the holidays. I know I’m still trying to make up for all the horrid stuff my abusers did on Christmases…. But this one was good. And thank you for the good wishes. I hope your Christmases are always good.

  9. Krista says:

    Sounds like a nice Christmas! I too sometimes suffer from lonely times at Christmas I do have a husband and kids but long for that relationship with my parents. Being a victim of abuse physical, mental and sexual I would never have my mom or dad around my family and during the Christmas time no matter what I get a Christmas card from others who remind me of that abuse then I long for a family that would care. My children and husband help me through and I focus on them but the card brings back all kinds of things I don’t think about during the year. You are inspiring to me thank you for this wonderful post. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

  10. nogginquest says:


  11. Krista, I’m sorry you have lonely and painful times, too, around the holidays. It’s hard being a survivor. But I’m so glad to hear that you protect your family from your abusers, and that your family helps you through the lonely times. I hope the holidays keep getting easier and happier for you. And thank you so much for your kind words about my post. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Cheryl Rainfield Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.