on the outside of Christmas

Christmas decorations against a wooden background

Christmas is not for the likes of me.

Not because I am a Scrooge, a bah humbug who grumbles at the mere mention of anything festive. I really like Christmas. Well some of it anyway…hello there twinkly lights and carols giving me all sorts of fuzzy feelings.

But because I don’t belong in its demographic.

Look around at the message we are given by everything surrounding us. The marketing campaigns from shops, from bars and restaurants. The television shows. The films. Christmas is all about relationships. No space for any other way of being.

It is not for the likes of people who live on their own, with no significant other in their lives. Whose family is not around whether due to choice or circumstance. Who don’t have work parties to attend or big group of friends to wear festive jumpers with whilst drinking or exchanging presents (or often both). Who may be grieving. Whose mental health issues make it sometimes an extra burden too much.

It is not for the likes of me or so many others.

Many of us struggle to find our place in the Western perception of how a Christmas is supposed to be. Fail to find support, understanding or acceptance in why ours is different or non-existent. You see that momentary flicker of uncertainty when people ask about your plans and you nonchalantly (whether real or fake) shrug your shoulders replying ‘nothing really’. Because they don’t know how to handle this abomination against the rules of Christmas. Before that flicker slides into a face of pity or sometimes even envy.

It reminds us that we are the outsiders. Sitting outside of societal norms full of families and relationships. Whether by choice or not, there is this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) belief that to be on your own is somehow wrong. That our lives are lacking or we are missing out. It is easy to feel lonely. To feel excluded. Hard to feel at peace with your solitary life at the best of times. And nothing drives those feelings home like Christmas.

Christmas can be hard, lonely or different for so many reasons. And people forget that. Swept up as they are in all the pressures and delights that seem to be required parts of a modern Christmas. So, try to remember how your Christmas may be different to those you come into contact with. How some of us will be okay with that. And some of us won’t. Take time out for us. Invite us along, hang out over a coffee and mince pie, send a message. Remind us that we are not invisible simply because we don’t fit neatly into the whirl of present buying, eating, fighting, drinking, playing and loving.

Christmas is not for everyone.

Christmas may not be for the likes of me. But I will still mark it in my own way. After all I treated myself to some vegan mayonnaise just for the occasion.

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

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