I had a long drive today. Driving always gives me the opportunity to put thought into real life things. Today’s topic: Christmas. Uuuggghhhh it’s such a draining subject that literally fills me with dread whenever I think about it. It’s 7 weeks until Christmas. When I was a kid that was a whole lifetime away. Now, it’s like 5 minutes. I have to mentally prepare for Christmas because it’s such a painful time. I’ve become very cynical to the whole thing. The having to buy gifts, the having to spend time with people you don’t like just because it’s Christmas, the sense of organised fun and forced happiness, it’s all too much. Most years I just try and avoid it at all costs.
It wasn’t always this way. I loved Christmas for many years. I held on to that childlike excitement long after it had disappeared in my peers. Christmas was truly magical and that magic was of course created by Mum. Everything about it was made perfect by her. I was spoiled rotten every year with a HUGE pile of presents. Not the most expensive things, don’t get me wrong, we weren’t rich, but everything I could have wanted all lovingly hand-picked. Of course there was the food, Christmas dinner itself was a feast that left me comatose for hours. Then there was the various assortments of nuts, chocolates, cheeses, the Christmas pudding, the cold meats and chips on Boxing Day, the selection box for breakfast on Christmas morning. Even in my 20’s it was still special. The process of driving “home” with a boot full of gifts, the warm familiarity of the smells of the house, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. She worked so hard to make us all happy and she always succeeded.
Of course, that’s all gone now. I’ve had 7 versions of Christmas without Mum and they’ve all been beyond shit. There was the food poisoning year, the year I spent 5 hours on the M6 behind a fatal collision, the self-inflicted solitary confinement year, to name a few.
I listened to desert island discs on radio 4 during my car journey today and the “castaway” was Scottish writer, Ali Smith. She spoke about how “We live by telling ourselves stories about the lives we are living.” She essentially said that life is constructed and we narrate our own story. The concept harks back to my blog post: thinking about thought. I realised, I’m creating my misery about Christmas. I’m choosing to focus on the hole in my life left by my Mum not being here and I’m blaming a time of year for my unhappiness. If she was here she would tell me to create the magic myself, and maybe if I manage to create that magic, I’m getting closer to her in some way that might bring me comfort.
So how am I going to do that? (I think it’s been well established that I am single and without children but for anyone new to the blog, that’s the situ) and without a significant other or little people to work with, I’m going to have to make an effort. Thoughts so far:
- Actually have a Christmas tree and decorations in my house
- Attend a carol service
- Spend Christmas day with one of my dearest friends and her family
- Watch top 5 favourite Christmas films
- Go to a German market and get drunk on mulled wine
That’s all I’ve got so far but if anyone has any further suggestions, let me know! I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is and see if I really can rewrite my narrative.
Wish me luck.