The Silly Season

So Christmas Day is now only eleven days away. I have to admit that I am suffering from a serious case of Grinch-itis, and am struggling to whip up a whole lot of enthusiasm. It’s not the pressure that is getting to me, rather I think I am suffering from some post-Paris silly-season dysfunctional-family blues.

For a long time, as an adult, I was a bit of a Christmas grouch, grumbling about over commercialisation and the real meaning being lost, while spending my Christmas driving all over town on a scorching hot day with small children who were even crankier than I was. The turning point came in the dying days of 2003. The months leading up to the big day had me facing a very traumatic health scare, the C word was thrown at me, and I was told to plan for a January spent on chemotherapy. The phone call I received on the 23rd of December to tell me I had the all clear was the moment I finally embraced Christmas and all it’s joy, love, and celebration.

That year I put my foot down and decided there was to be no more traipsing all over the place. I basically opened our door to whichever family members felt like dropping in, there was plenty of food on the table, and everyone was welcome. I was finally, actually celebrating Christmas.

My Christmas spirit was, however, sorely tested by working in retail. There was a good decade of facing the insanity that is the retail sector from mid December onwards. There are the people who seem unhinged by the need to find the perfect size and shape ham, the rude people who berate you on Christmas Eve because the French cheese they want to eat is expensive, the lack of manners in a few people who seem to think that the person behind the counter is a robot who wouldn’t rather be at home with their families preparing for their own Christmas Day, and there is the never ending Tetris game of trying to fit a few tonnes of pre cut cheese and pate in the small refrigerators available to you. I also remember one woman, who due to the height and shape of the counters, I couldn’t see that she was heavily pregnant. So after spending a good twenty minutes or so helping her choose a few cheeses for a cheese board, she then asked which blue cheeses she could eat, being pregnant. I told her that she actually shouldn’t eat any blue cheese, at which point she got angry with me for “endangering the life” of her unborn baby by suggesting a blue cheese in the first place.

There was the woman who drove me to actual tears with her need for a piece of quince paste cut to just the right shape, the Christmas Eve morning I set off for work at 6 AM only to find that overnight roadworks meant that I couldn’t figure out how to get out of my own bloody suburb, the frenzied crowds at the doors waiting to stampede upon opening, the sheer number of staff crammed into one small deli including the juniors you have never even met before, and the non stop frenetic pace.

In the end I just couldn’t do it anymore because it was truly sucking the joy out of Christmas for me. My youngest child took his very first steps on Christmas Eve while I was at work. I missed out on countless family lunches. I was always exhausted by Christmas Day, and no amount of free Panettone from a really wonderful boss could change the fact that it was just all too much.

This year I am struggling with love and forgiveness after a very turbulent year with some family members. I am not quite sure where to place all the anger and hurt I feel, so despite aiming for a happy Christmas with my Husband, children, and the remaining family who don’t seem to mind me too much, my heart’s just not in it.

And then I tell myself to snap out of it, that I am very fortunate and blessed, and need to let go of the negativity that is weighing me down. Easier said than done, though.

Or just maybe, am I succumbing to the pressure that everything has to be perfect on Christmas Day? How about if everything is good enough? 

My children are healthy and happy and not missing anyone, my husband and I just got back from Paris for cryin’ out loud, we have people in our lives who love us for exactly who we are, the sun is shining, there is food on the table and champagne in the fridge {and vodka in the freezer 😉 }, and our home is filled with joy and love.

Better than good enough, I think.

xoxo, Ana.

  1. I love the way you write, Ana, I really do. You are so descriptive (Tetris?!) and I can visualize everything!
    Anyway…Christmas. It’s so strange, isn’t it? I have had ups and downs with it myself, but having children helps, I think. We figure out how to pull it together for them, to create memories. I don’t tend to feel rushed or too busy, but I feel every little family dysfuction a LOT stronger around the holidays. I have some hurt feelings and such with extended relatives, and for some reason they stand out at Christmas. 😦
    But I am like you, things are better than good enough. 😉 XOXO

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    1. You are so right, the difficult relationships stand out more at this time, although I just had a comment made to me on Facebook, that this is the time to be thankful for what we DO have. And I really like that, because there is so much more good than bad. It’s not about me wanting everything to be perfect so much as wanting to feel perfect, if that makes sense.

      Thanks for your kind comment. Xxx

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  2. It’s gotta be your retail experience that makes you dread Christmas so much, it’s understandable. I feel the same about weddings after being in a wedding band for many years.

    I am not a fan of Christmas either. I mean I love Christmas at the core of it. I’m religious so I go for that aspect of it first and foremost, I love the food and the eating part! I love the joy and the anticipation it brings the kids. I hate the consumerism. I hate the pressure to have things done by Christmas day as if it some kind of essential deadline. I hate that the build up begins almost 6 months prior. I hate the expectation to buy gifts for people. I’m certainly no tight arse, but I wish the only presents I had to buy were for my own children. Then there is the awkward scenario when someone buys you a gift but you didn’t think to buy one for them.

    It’s actually so stressful and completely misses the point.

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    1. I wish it was just the retail experience that left its mark, but sadly it’s about the bad relationships this year. But I am really going to focus on the good instead, and the good people.

      I so agree with the consumerism and pressure. It’s like the end of the world is coming in some ways. And I only had three presents to buy this year, all for small kids, one my own. Even the older kids have said don’t worry about it, so no pressure there.

      Thanks for reading. Xxx

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  3. We are having a small celebration this year, at home, with my parents coming and that’s it! I can’t wait, and I’m cooking so it will be easy peasy, no stress, fluff or millions of dishes, I’ll probably use some nice fake plates! Glad you are doing it your way this year x

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    1. Your day sounds perfect. Small and simple, which is what we will be having too. Xxx

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