So, it’s all over for another year….
I’m slightly uncomfortable with this time of the year.
You see, I have had some truly wonderful Christmas’s. Decorations dripping from every sill and hand rail, foil wrapped gifts, endless socials, and tables labouring under the strain of far too much food.
Christmas’s when I felt utterly loved, special and included in this great big party that a chunk of the world was having.
And then there were the years when I spent the festive season totally alone.
When my life collapsed having to face Christmas made me feel desperate. As though I was pressing my nose against the window of a warm, cosy exclusive club, but I was firmly shut out in the cold.
Not that I didn’t have people in my life during those years that wanted me to join them. People who sincerely extended the invitataion.
But when life has spat you out, having to make the effort to be sociable and fun for others makes you feel lonlier still.
So, I didn’t.
And now I view Christmas through different eyes.
I see the hedonism and excess and I can’t help but cringe.
To want to treat the special people in our lives is natural, but the feeding frenzy that the country descends into, buying, buying, buying, everything, anything. It makes me feel as nauseous as if I had gorged on the whole of the Christmas cupboard in one sitting.
Walking down the street I wonder how even mmore forgotten the homeless must feel, as they try to sleep amid the shounds of party stilletos and raucous revellers colonising the pavements.
And the relentless marketing of the Christmas myth, that families everywhere are well fed, happy, and joyously ensconced in the domestic bliss of it all.
Yes, most of us know that is as far from reality as Father Christmas himself. But for those whom life has firmly slapped them down, it just underlines the struggle that they are enduring.
I enjoyed Christmas this year, but for what it was rather than what the world told me it should be.
A few days of a gentle beat. Quietness. Time to watch a movie. Moments spent with friends just “being”. A nice glass of wine, slowly sipped.
And a true realisation of just how bloody blessed I am. To be here to see another Christmas. To have a warm, clean bed, a full belly, and people in my life who care for me.
That’s my Christmas.