I have had, and seen elsewhere, a few comments that point towards something rather sad about Christmas.
Our general cultural attitude is – “It’s Christmas, you must smile until your face splits in half – at which point we will pour chocolate and sherry into your open head until you vomit all the colours of happiness!”
Then I see and hear people say “I’m afraid I get a bit down at Christmas,” as if this were a shameful thing to admit. Such is the pressure to wear permanent glee that we are becoming embarrassed about half of what Christmas should be.
We are the guerrilla grumps, we dare to bare our blubbers to you Christmas laughter lubbers – or something!
My Xmas is complicated, and I’m betting for most people it is too.
There will be cries of delight at presents, mountains of cake joy and sticky-bun fun, films and late nights and whole days in pyjamas.
Around my table are the beautiful things, my son’s cherubic face, my wife’s warm and wise smile, my daughter trying to text her mates under the table! (Not that her mates are under the table – that would be weird – see, she’s hiding her phone… never mind.)
However, there are other ghost-places set. My mother is always a clearly present absence, as are my father and sister. We haven’t had a Christmas together for over twenty years. I haven’t even spoken to my mother for eight years, my father for three. They’re alive, but unwilling to pay the price I cost to their prideful notions of what good people they are. It’s a shame, because they miss such wonderful grandchildren.
While I have moved beyond infantile resentments for the dark and haunted Christmases of childhood, it is still important for me to be respectful. I have scars which need to be acknowledged, albeit now in more mature and parental ways. I recognise that little boy I was as I might had he been my own child, having died young. I do not refuse the grief this brings, which would worsen it, or brood selfishly on ‘poor little me’, which would feed it. I try instead to simply allow it, and in so doing I feel, sometimes cry a little, and it passes.
So goes any big anniversary. They are times not for pure joy, but for pure remembrance. Weddings and birthdays, Christmas and new year, all the other holidays and markers, they bring both the chance to recognise what we have, and to commemorate what has gone. We can hold the loved ones who surround us, and offer our thoughts to those distant or lost.
My wife has these conflicts, each friend I talk to does, and now bloggers are showing their own signs that they are struggling to accept what Xmas actually means.
So this is RoS saying f*k everyone and what they expect. I may be just some blabbering arse on an island with no authority for anything, but I am giving you permission to reclaim Xmas!
Be sad – because it is in commemorating our dead that we see the gift of our living.
Reminisce – because reflecting on what we have lost shows us the value of what remains.
Cry a little – because that is how we cleanse ourselves ready to fully accept new joys.
You are not humbugs, you are not abnormal, and you should never be ashamed for what you feel.What the hell is happening to me? “Oi, Santa – did you make me nice for Christmas?” “***You bastard!***”