Thursday, 20 December 2018

What are you doing for Christmas ?

I have been asked this question literally every day this week. Mostly by well meaning individuals and colleagues. I am baffled by it though. It is one day of the year. It's one meal and yet people go on a diet for it. They go into debt and seem to go loco about it. I just don't get it. I have had a cough for over a week and a few people have said. "oh you don't want to have that for Christmas." Really ? What difference will it make ?

Ok, to be clear I am not bah humbug about Christmas and I don't have any problem with it. I just don't get why it's such a big deal. Why people eat so much food, why they spend so much money, why this one day is so significant. I get it if you have a faith and it means something to you in that regard, but if it's a celebration of food and presents then that is just beyond me. It's not cultural. I grew up in England and my parents always celebrated Christmas. It wasn't the biggest day of the year for us though. 

In some ways I do envy people who have that whole excitement about it all. The family side of things, the social side, the dressing up, the presents, I do get that. Brown Bear was only 3 months old for his first Christmas and our house was filled floor to ceiling with presents for him. He had absolutely no idea. I dressed him up as Santa and we took him to visit my parents on Christmas Eve (my Dad's birthday) and then Hubbie's parents so they all got to see the baby for his first Christmas. 

Now I am a parent I do like to make a fuss of the boys and to get into the whole spirit of the thing. We go to see Santa, we have a roast dinner at home, we have presents. However, we don't fill the house with tangerines, bowls full of nuts or masses of sweets. I will confess I have three fruit cakes bought at the school Christmas fair, but that is because the TA who made them has form and her cakes are absolutely amazeballs. 

Don't get me wrong there is no deep-seated trauma or childhood memory behind my lack of enthusiasm for end of year festivities. It is all tied in with anxiety and depression that always reaches a peak around this time of year. I know I'm not alone in that. The enforced socialising and jollity is just too much to take for some of us. I'm not saying anyone else shouldn't have a good time. Just don't expect me to be as enthused. I can't do it. 

It is this expectation of plenty that makes me uncomfortable. This year we have donated toys, food, clothes and I also gave a bag filled with make up from my days as an Avon lady to a refuge that requested gift items for the women. People donate to the children in refuges, but seem to overlook the women. At a time when it seems that we are being pushed into spending money and eating too much I am painfully aware that there are people who are struggling to manage to basics. 

We have enough and for that I am so very grateful. I have made it to the end of this year a significantly different woman from who I was this time last year. So much has altered in my life and for people I care about. It isn't a time of celebration for me. It is a time of gratitude. I am thankful.   

I have friends who will be experiencing their first Christmas without a partner, a parent and in the case of my brother in law his first without either of his parents. In my family we will spend time together knowing that we are so very lucky to have each other. My gorgeous baby niece will have her first  Christmas and Blue Bear and Brown Bear will fuss over and spoil her rotten.

The other day I found a post I had written in December 2009 when we were childless and desperate to be parents. It was titled, "Christmas is for kids." I had no idea how prophetic that would prove to be. Less than a month later I found out I was pregnant and the following Christmas we had our much longed for baby son. The point is nothing is forever. It's just a moment in time and that will pass. I won't stop having anxiety or depression, but I won't feel this way forever either. 

If you struggle with Christmas please don't suffer alone. Here are some organisations that will be open to help if you need it: 

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