I write this post whilst a few of my housemates are having an impromptu Christmas singalong in the kitchen. Half of me kinda wants to join in; half of me wants to run upstairs and have a sob. And there’s the very complexity of Christmas that a lot of us forget about: a lot of people would actually rather befriend Ebenezer Scrooge than get involved in the festivities.
Before I get into my defence of Mr. Ebenezer, and before ya’ll stop reading, thinking I’m an evil person with the intent to ruin all Chrimbo fun, I just want this post to draw attention to the fact that not all of us have the most wonderful of Christmases, and if someone’s getting all Scrooge on you, it’s probably for a very valid reason. And if you’re in that minority who don’t want to dress themselves in tinsel and scream the lyrics to Band Aid the second midnight turns on 1st December, please know that you’re not odd, boring or alone- there’s actually quite a few of us who feel the same.
But that’s the very nature of Christmas. I’ve just felt like I needed to preface this piece with a disclaimer about how I’m not trying to ‘ruin the Christmas spirit’- but why do I feel as if I should apologise for feeling a certain way? You don’t get people apologising for not heading on a summer holiday because they’re skint, or begging for forgiveness because you’d rather stay in the shade than get a tan. There’s something about the Christmas spirit that gets everyone like excitable children on waaay too many E Numbers- and for those of us that haven’t reached for a tube of Smarties recently, we’re left hastily apologising, whilst faking extreme levels of happiness just as an attempt to become societally acceptable. Therefore today, I’d like to chat about the elements of Christmas spirit that can just be a little too much for some of us Scrooges, and to defend our right to feel this way:
December 1st rolls around, and suddenly everyone’s grinning like Cheshire Cats
Band Aid is a reminder that there are millions of people less fortunate than us, who cannot share the happiness we possess over Christmas. All I Want For Christmas Is You is a song about a gal who’s desperately pining for a man, claiming that she won’t be fulfilled if she doesn’t have his love. Happy Xmas (War is Over) is John Lennon’s reminder to us that yes, the war is over, but shit, it did happen and isn’t that an awful thing. As much as a Chrimbo song is injected with a festive beat and a few bells to polish it off, there’s often a darker tone to the whole thing. And if you do find yourself listening to something mega upbeat when you’re not exactly feeling it, it’ll make you a whole lot sadder.
Capitalism is at its finest
We’re literally buying into a tradition that’s bred upon us giving other people all our money. Christmas is expensive. And if we see on every advert and every shop window that Christmas = happiness, it makes those of us who aren’t exactly feeling tip top feel like utter freaks. Ho ho ho n all that jazz!
Just because some fairylights are up, it does not mean all troubles have melted away with the *non-existent* winter snow
Something I struggle with over the festive period is how come 1st December, people become wilfully ignorant of all the troubles and struggles that a lot of us are facing. Over Christmas, it’s as if nothing bad exists. And it’s this ideology we all push that makes those of us that can’t just happily forget what we’re dealing with feel like failures. If we can’t forget our troubles like the rest of you, are we one big mess?
Speaking from personal experience, I’m someone that really struggles with this time of year. I’ve always hated cold weather, detest snow and I’ve not been the biggest lover of Christmas generally- just because I’m a summer gal. However, this time two years ago, I knew my Dad was really unwell. Come the New Year of 2016, and my Dad passed away. Therefore, this time of year is always particularly difficult as it brings back the most awful memories, but also a whole lot of sadness, as Christmas is stereotypically a family time and now my family is forever altered. The tradition stays the same, but nothing is ever quite the same for me again.
So if you’re someone who’s not feeling the Christmas buzz, whether that be due to circumstances or personal struggles, please know that it’s okay not to be feeling it. Society may tell us that this time of year, we forget all our worries and everything becomes ‘merry and bright’, but let’s just remember that that’s not the case, and it’s 100% fine to not be up for it all. Christmas is a wonderful time for many, and a struggling time for many too, and I want us to keep this in mind. Be kinder to yourselves, and be kinder to others. You never know what someone’s going through- let’s make the festive period as lovely for each other as it can be.