So here it nearly is, the time of year I dread humongously! Christmas! It seems people can’t wait for well… I dunno what it is that’s so great, I just never really saw much point. When I was young, up until my teenage years when I moved away and went to college, Christmas was a big thing in my family, and local community. I was in several bands and orchestras so was constantly busy, the biggest part being a brass band I played in where we played right up until about midnight on Christmas Eve and quite often played for the elderly on Christmas Day. For me that was what it was about, cheering people up, helping the lonely through winter.
Once I moved away to live my own adult life, those ties sadly fell away and I never found the same thing in my new life, although the local pub where I worked came close, again it was a community thing. However, being so far from family actually meant that Christmas became pressure. The pressure would start about September time and get worse and worse until I would often try to avoid the whole thing. Christmas didn’t make me happy, it was about playing along and pretending to keep my mum in particular happy and it all felt so fake. I would have been quite happy to work on Christmas Day.
Whilst it’s sort of better now the pressure still comes, it broke me a little the other week. I hadn’t made arrangements for my daughter at that point and the ties of guilt with the far away family began to tighten as everyone made their demands for the days I should make my presence, minus dogs, because even though they are my family, they’re not accepted elsewhere because they’re dogs and they have paws and hair. Yes so I not only have to travel a round trip of 400 miles, I also have to find a dog sitter… as you can imagine that’s never cheap. Then there’s the couple of days of keeping my mouth shut and smiling till my face aches. I often feel like it’s really my daughter they actually want to see and not me, I’m the sour witch that doesn’t play along and spoils the fun. I basically feel like an accessory, a Christmas decoration, I’m there to prove that the family is together and feel a little sick at the “Oh isn’t it lovely to have you all together” comments like we’re some sort of collectable dolls that are oh so rare!
Christmas for me is a time of extreme stress, where the pressure to be happy, to be in the right house for the right people doing the right thing, not being awkward with my alternative beliefs sometimes gets a little bit too much!
This year I really just want to rest, I actually want to go and help people who have nothing, although I’m struggling to find a place that willingly takes volunteers without signing up to a day a week, a cant do that when I have a full time job but would willingly go and give up a day off to help. So I might make some sandwiches and packed lunches and take a walk on Christmas Day, I’ll hand them out to whoever I find and hope they find a place to sleep. I’m very much done with the overspending, the pressure to buy stuff people don’t want or need. Nights out are fun in the summer but in this freezing weather I feel terrible for the people who have nowhere to go. I have no idea how they survive, it makes me cry most days when I see the guy down by the station who’s there it’s his dog, his sleeping bag and nothing else in the world. I wonder what kind of world we live in where we begrudgingly spend money on crap for people we hardly see for them to put in their loft, or give to charity and yet it’s frowned upon to show up with nothing and say I made a donation to the homeless on your behalf instead… if charity begins at home, then define Home for the homeless, surely if we spent less time looking for the things to fill the void of our nothingless, ever obsessive need to own shit and saw that we have enough and we could share, the world could be a much more equal place…