Tis the season to be jolly

Tis the season to be jolly Fa la la la la, la la la la (fa la la la la, la la la la)

I wish this were true, but alas it isn’t. It is for me the loneliest time of year. Even when I am feeling well, December arrives, and the cold hand of depression is placed upon my shoulder.

I have no idea when or why I started hating Christmas, I only know it has been many years. I lost my nan on Christmas day, when I was 23 and I hated it prior to her death. I know I loved Christmas as a kid, so I guess I lost the love somewhere between my teenage years and early twenties.

I’ve always found the last day at work really difficult and struggle not to cry.  It’s always the same feeling, it is how I feel when I have to say goodbye to someone. Like my insides have been removed, leaving an empty shell, to allow more room for the feeling of utter emptiness. An intense feeling of sadness, that would be shameful to admit to, so it stays deep inside with the emptiness. As Christmas day approaches the feelings intensify, I just want to go to bed and wake up in a few days’ time when it is all over for another year.

The giving

They say it’s the thought that counts, if only that were true, I would give the best presents. I think long and hard about each person, what would they like and what I can afford. I spend ages looking for something that I think would be perfect for them. When I buy something, I feel so pleased I’ve got something they will love. It’s difficult to explain what I feel, because I’ve never really thought about it.

I am today because I’ve just bought a couple of Christmas gifts. I suppose I feel happy and a sense of satisfaction. But that only lasts for a sort while, before the doubt sets in. What if they don’t like it? What if they think it’s because I don’t care? I will look stupid if they hate it. Maybe I shouldn’t give it to them? I could take it back, but OMG what am I going to get them? I rarely give people the gifts that I buy, because if they don’t like it, I will feel that awful rejection. It cuts right through you, it makes you want to cry out in pain, Sounds stupid, but unfortunately so true.

I wish I could articulate how it feels, but I just cannot find the words. It might be the instant transition from the happy, satisfied feeling that you are giving a great gift, to the defeated and deflated feeling when you realise it is nowhere near good enough and you have nothing else to give. I am always left feeling so stupid for getting it wrong as usual.

The receiving

For me receiving a present that has been purchased with no regard for your taste, is worse than not receiving a gift at all. This may sound harsh, but for me it is a fact. Having received no gifts from family for several years, it was definitely easier than unwrapping a gift, knowing what contents awaited me and pretending yet again to be happy. If I read back that statement, I sound ungrateful, perhaps I should remove it? But it holds relevance, maybe not to anyone else, but for me. Because a gift has the capacity to make you feel unloved, unwanted, unimportant. A gift can make you feel so incredibly sad. So maybe, I am allowed to be a tad ungrateful, especially as the person giving the gifts will never be reading this, and if she were, she would never consider this was written about her.

For many years my mother would buy me gifts that just weren’t for me, for example she always bought me make-up, I have never worn make-up. In recent years I always got the same – slippers and a dressing gown. This would be fine if I didn’t have to watch my sister open all her wonderful gifts, all picked especially for her. She would have a pile of presents, all of which she loved.

I remember the pain , when my husband opened a gift he loved and my mother proudly stated “you just have to know a person, listen to what they say, understand the things they love and then it is easy to buy a present”. Well what made her think I was a slippers and dressing gown kind of girl? I have never wanted or expected anything extravagant or expensive, just something that was me. Something bought with love and consideration. .

It is just another day

I have got to the stage, that giving and receiving gifts is just awkward, stressful and upsetting. Luckily because I don’t speak to my family anymore, I no longer have to spend Christmas with them, no longer have that awful gift exchange. No longer feel like I am the only one that is left feeling sad and ungrateful. It is wonderful being left on my own Christmas day, because feeling lonely whilst on your own, is far easier than feeling lonely while in a room full of so-called family.

It is nice knowing that Christmas will not end in the family screaming and shouting at each other. I won’t be slapped or insulted on Christmas day anymore.

For me now, it is just another day I have to get through, a day that makes me sad. But this year I have gained family, and they are people who do not judge or ridicule me. They certainly do not shout at me or hit me. I will be spending Boxing day with them and I am actually looking forward to it.

Who knows, next year I may even look forward to the big day itself. I may enjoy giving gifts, without worrying if my gift is good enough. Christmas for me cannot get worse, but of course there is the potential that it can get better.

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