…a merry little christmas 🙂
This year I spend christmas on my own. Not lonesome, just on my own…well apart from the king of the animals who watches over me 😉
I read lots of blogposts over the last few weeks. There are people who are happy and enjoy christmas time like no other time of the year. Then there are many who don’t celebrate christmas due to various (mostly religious) reasons. And then there are lots of people who write about fear. About stress and pressure and desparation. I don’t mean the idiots (sorry), who are still stressed out because they have to buy yet another present for someone who has everything already. No, I mean everyone who is scared of the “grinning and bearing it”, of the lots of people without a possibility of withdrawal. Those who don’t want to be asked how they feel, those who don’t want to hug their relatives, everyone who can’t wait for christmas and the concomitant sensory-, people-, and challenge-overload to be over.
I used to be like that. Stress, going from one splinter of the family to the next, too many people, too much noise, too much smiling whilst dying inside. That is why I’m doing what all the people who love me (and also those who hold my decision against me) always tell me to this year: I care for myself. And in this case that means that I spend this day alone in order to have ressources for the remaining holidays.
(Note for all those who come from countries with other customs: In my country christmas is celebrated together in the evening of te 24th of Demeber)
I asked some people what christmas is about in their opinion and thought about the answers I got:
“It’s about enjoying the holidays!” – wonderful. I’ll cook a huge portion of my favourite dish and the cat will get a plate of meat spread. There is hot chocolate and a nice movie. A walk in the sunshine. And cuddly blankets and a good book. Pure enjoyment.
“It’s about the presents!” – I worked in retail for long enough a time to resent the consumer frenzy around christmas. I like to give and get presents. But only if they’re a sign that we thought about each other and wanted to bring a little joy into each others’ lives. Not because a certain date tells me that there is an expectation of having to exchange presents with everyone we know and that their worth should possibly be balanced in a way that makes it a zero-sum game.
“It’s about spending time with the family!” – yet another thing where I don’t need a certain date in order to spend time with people I love. I also don’t need an obligation to spend time with persons I might not even want to see. Apart from the fact that I can handle human contact better in small doses – the fact that I can have a rest today means that I can be more than just physically present the next two days when I will be with people I love. By the way those people respect my decision to be alone, they offer to be there but don’t put pressure on me. But those who freely disposed of my christmas time for four fifths of my life without asking what I wanted are disappointed this year which can only come from an inappropraite expectation. Paradox, right?
“It’s about reflection!” – a nice thought although I think some reflection would do us good on more than just one day a year nowadays. I for my part meditate, light some candles and try to spend this day as mindful as possible.
“It’s about all the beautiful songs!” – great! I turn on my favourite band and also the subwoofer up to the stop as my neighbour is not home which means I can sing loudly until my voice breaks 🙂
“It’s about doing good things!” – believe it or not, that’s possible all year long. I don’t intend to pretend I’m a saint here, I’m definitely not. But every day I try to live my life in a way that does not consciously harm others. I volunteer in organisations, I choose what I buy very strictly I don’t just pass by people who were less fortunate than most of us and who might need my old sleeping bag more than I do. And if I do that today as well I don’t have to brag about it in order to soothe my conscience.
“It’s about faith!” – in my very Catholic country this is naturally a (pretext?) topic. This is a question everyone has to answer for themselves, my view is the following:
As a child I tried to believe in the old bearded man in the clouds. Then I wondered whether he would let all these things happen if he was as kind as they say. Then I wondered why I am supposed to sanctify a being that can obviously be very cruel. And in the end I reckoned I would not pray to someone who probably doesn’t even care what we do if he even exists. Therefore one could probably call me a convinced agnostic because if there is a life afterwards, an old man or a mountain with many gods, karma or just the end: We can all just try to do our very best here and now for ourselves and others. We will learn about everything else soon enough.
“It’s about peace at christmas!” – which peace, if I may ask? All the wars, the hatred, the consumption and the injustice continue and I can’t stand feigned charity anymore…
Call me cynical, I think that most things christmas is supposed to be about are hypocrisy – acting as if there weren’t all the family fights, running to church once a year although you don’t even believe in anything, hurrying from shop to shop whilst saying this is about contemplation?!
I’ve had enough. And I declare this day my self-love-day, give myself everything the little voice in my head usually doesn’t allow me, spoil myself and the cat (who after all is the only being in my life who can’t just decide where he wants to go), think friendly thoughts and practice all the skills I’ll hopefully use naturally very soon. My plan is to indulge myself so much that all the symptoms leave me alone and I can dedicate the next two days to the dear people I’ll spend the remaining holidays with.
I wish everyone who can spend christmas as they see fit that they use this chance and everyone who can’t decide freely that they have the strength for it and the chance to celebrate their christmas next year.