An Uncomfortable Time For Me
I don't enjoy Christmas-time anymore. Too many bad memories and frustrations to deal with. In fact, the whole two-week period between Christmas and New Year is just something I have to get through, not a time of fun.
When I was little we used to have good family Christmas / New Year celebrations. The celebrations were usually split between our house and my grandparents. The ritual used to be that my grandparents would visit us on Christmas day, and then we would visit them on New Years Day (or vice versa - we would go to them on Christmas day, them to us on New Years Day). We loved spending each day together, all the family together, kids, parents and grandparents all mucking in and having fun. We'd watch tv, or play music, play some games, talk and laugh until the wee hours (even us kids - if we could keep our eyes open we were allowed to stay). Other family members (uncles, aunts, cousins etc) would also drop in when they could, once they'd visited members of their respective family branches.
Then one year it all changed, all that fun went away. First my grandfather was taken ill, and moved to a nursing home as he could no longer cope at home. My grandmother was distraught (naturally) although she tried to hide it. They had been childhood sweethearts. Never really spent any time away from each other. Now she could only visit him at the home on the odd occasions he could cope with a visit.
Then, time came for another New Year celebration - this time the millennium. 1999 into 2000. New Year's Day started out just fine, just another day. Suddenly my mother realised something wasn't right - no phone call from gran. It was nearing midday, she would have called by now. No reply when we try to phone her either. Of course, the inevitable had happened. During Hogmanay night, gran had a heart attack. No one there to help her.
Grandad passed away shortly after that (on my sister's birthday would you believe?) Mum has also passed away since then, as well as a few other family members. Our big family parties just can't happen anymore. There's only a couple of us left. We try our best to enjoy the time, but each of us knows it is just not the same.
Of course, people inevitably ask you how you are spending Christmas - expecting tales of fun family celebrations. The minute they realise you are not going to have that, they either treat you like some poor pauper left out in the cold, or like some kind of Scrooge - trying to ruin their Christmas. I'm happy that other people have fun on Christmas, I wouldn't dream of ruining it for anyone, but what am I supposed to say? Am I supposed to lie?
I have tried over the years, to join in with the fun - join friends at parties, go out somewhere for the festivities. It just hasn't worked. I am always the misfit character, the oddball, or I get the party pervs trying to hook up for the evening (yuck! Sorry, not what I'm after). I always end up even more sad than if I had stayed by myself at home.
So, there it is, that is why I get sad at Christmas-time.