Or, ‘Ten reasons for why I struggle with Christmas’ but not simply ‘Bah Humbug!’
The past six years, I have really had problems with garnering any enthusiasm over the ‘Festive Period’. There are lots of reasons, I think it’ll be easier if I list them out. I’ll try not to rant, but I’m not promising anything…
- Children do not need a room full of toys to celebrate. Let alone get more toys in one hit than they know what to do with. I’ve watched our niece & nephew open their presents on the past three Christmases; rip, discard, rip, discard. Living between their Mum’s house and my BIL’s, they do the whole thing all over again at their Mum’s.
- Outdoor Christmas Lights. This really pisses me off, I mean really. Particularly over here, where the majority of electricity made is through coal-fired stations. ‘It’s festive!’ people tell me. No, it’s a waste of valuable resources and I hope your electricity bill is so frickin’ high, it scares you off from doing it ever, ever again. (Whoops, rant).
- Photos of small children on Father Christmas’s knee. I can promise you now, to anyone waiting for a photo of Archie, sitting with a strange man dressed in a suit and fake beard, that is red because Coca Cola told us it needs to be red, you will be waiting a very long time.
- Father Christmas. Now that I am officially a parent, (I have not only the scar to prove it, but a small boy sound asleep in his room), why would I want to lie to him about something or someone who doesn’t exist? I am really struggling with this, luckily, this year he’s only going to be six months old, so I don’t have to worry about it for a year or two. Any advice you can pass along here would be much appreciated.
- Being told to buy half a tonne of food. I don’t mind buying in special food, but that much of it? I don’t want a Christmas pudding, a Pavlova, a fruit platter, a trifle and then biscuits and cheese to eat after a full roast dinner. And sanctimonious chefs passing on their ‘family recipes’, that change every year.
- Magazines for the New Year with ‘Shift those Christmas Pounds’ diets coming out in December. How about you don’t buy all the food you’ve been told you need to buy, or don’t eat it all in the first place?
- Christmas Parties. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times, let alone for a dress. I then hate having to make sure I’ve shaved everything in view, my hair is done and I hate spending more than two minutes on my make up. And I know that come the evening of Friday 9 December, I’m also going to hate wearing heels for the first time in nearly a year! It’ll also be the first time both of us will have left Archie together, I hope I will be a normal person at the party, not a paranoid new mother with a vacant stare wondering how he’s doing.
- Christmas music in shops. Particularly when they start playing it in October. I’ve worked in retail over the festive period, it is a horrible, vicious, nasty time. I also had to work late on Christmas Eve to remove all traces of Christmas and get ready for the Boxing Day sale. Ho ho bluddy ho.
- Christian Martyrs. Being Christian is not about one festival, that was tagged onto a Pagan festival in the first place because you couldn’t decide when to have it. It is about how you feel inside and how you treat people 24/7/365. [I’ve deleted what I wrote here, as I ranted. Lots.]
- Black Dog. The Christmas of 2005 was the beginning of the end of my lowest period, but it was a slow beginning to the end of a long and very dark time. Rufus appeared around the middle of October as my first marriage faltered, then failed. I couldn’t cope with buying presents, or summoning any enthusiasm for feeling ‘joyous’. I simply felt lost and alone. While I will be forever grateful for my family and friends, particularly Mon Bears and Wiz, for rallying round and keeping me going, every time I start to see decorations, boxed sets of things and other niff-naff appearing in shops, along with the toy adverts ramping up on TV, all it does is remind me of a prolonged depression and break down. To give you an idea how awful and protracted it was; Wiz slept at my feet over St Patrick’s Day 2006 after I’d got horribly, mind-bogglingly drunk as I asked her just to let me die.
Which doesn’t make me the best company around this time of year. And I apologise. Profusely. I do try not to be the Grinch in the corner, truly I don’t. Luckily for Archie, my cousin who lives 10 short minutes away loves Christmas. We’ve already been invited to their Christmas Tree Light switch on over a roast dinner on 4 December. Despite all the consumerism, the wastage, the unending adverts and awful TV specials, I hope his Auntie Susie will help teach him that this is a lovely time of year; a time to be with family and friends.
After all, I did meet Archie’s father right in the middle of Rufus’ appearance. I remember checking my emails to see if I’d got messages from him, my heart skipping a beat when I saw his name in my inbox. Because of Hubs meeting me during this period and walking beside me as I healed, our relationship is formidable. As we prepare for our first Christmas as parents, in future I hope I can somehow begin to look forward to this time of year, instead of dreading it. I do try every day to live in the here and now; Archie is a great zen master, but some demons are just too big to ignore as they loom on the horizon.