I find December a weird month; if I was living in a bubble with just Hubby and I, we would probably forget it is Christmas. The festive period just doesn’t mean anything to us – well, apart from the fact that Husband gets a few days off and we get to hang out together, which is always lovely. But we don’t do presents, we don’t have a tree or any festive decorations, and we only send cards to those people who would never forgive us if they didn’t receive one.
But I don’t live in a bubble: I live in the city centre and Christmas is forced down my throat from September. Between September and December, town gets busier and busier with ‘Christmas’ and people buying ‘Christmas’. As I try to get on with my normal life, Christmas, quite honestly, just gets in my way: popping into M&S food department is now a major task, as old ladies hog the aisles, weighed down with tins of biscuits; meeting a friend for coffee is now a logistical nightmare, as Christmas shoppers stuff their weary faces with mince pies; hairdressing appointments have to be secured weeks in advance, because suddenly people care what their hair looks like (God knows what they look like the rest of the year…)
Maybe I’d feel differently about Christmas if we had small children, or there were small children in our family – clearly it is a magical time for those lucky enough to believe in Santa, or entertain proud parents with their oscar worthy nativity performances. But without children, or religious reasons for celebrating Christmas, I struggle to muster up much – okay any! – enthusiasm for it all. I think you should be kind to people all year round, send cards to people when you have something lovely to say, buy presents because you want to make someone feel special, get together with people you love whenever you fancy – not feel forced to do these things because, well not sure who to blame, but confident this is not how Jesus thought the whole thing would pan out.
And as I walk round town people look so miserable and stressed, in their supposed attempt to spread joy and happiness they seem only to be spreading sad faces and short tempers; the poor retail staff bearing the brunt of grumpy Christmas shoppers. I was chatting away with a young guy working in a shop the other day, laughing and joking with him that not all customers can be that bad, he said most customers don’t even look him in the eye. As I walked away, I heard him say to his colleague ‘she made my day’. And whilst part of me was chuffed, part of me was sad: that poor sod is dealing with miserable people all day, every day.
And let’s not forget all the expectation that comes with Christmas. Both of our families live quite far away, so juggling family time brings its own challenges. In an ideal world we would choose to go away every year, but of course that’s not always possible. But it is this year: we had a big family weekend a few weeks ago, so Christmas is officially ours. We are off to Northumberland for long walks along the beach, snuggling on the sofa watching DVDs, curling up reading our books, eating delicious food, drinking fine wine and basically avoiding Christmas!
People always seem surprised that someone bubbly like me doesn’t like Christmas. But I was never very good at being told what to do, and someone (again, not sure who!) telling me how to celebrate Christmas seems to get my back up.
I love my life, and I love all the wonderful people I have in my life, but I love them all year, not just for Christmas.
How do you feel about Christmas? Bah Humbug or Christmas Fairy?