This year the unimaginable has happened. I am not celebrating Christmas. I am taking the year off.
I love Christmas. The warmth of the twinkling lights, the feeling from a choir singing carols, finding cards and gifts I think the people I care about will enjoy. It is a time of traditions, of reflection, a time that has meant so much pleasure and happiness to me ever since I was a little girl (well…excluding the Christmas Eve I discovered, by pretending to be asleep, that Father Christmas does not exist…I am still mentally scarred by that devastating moment).
This year though we decided to take a year off. To not do Christmas.
Why this decision? Uncertainty over if/when we were going to move. Not having the money to spare for it and no wish to get into debt over it like our reckless younger selves would have done. A depressive episode that, while lighter than it was, still makes many things seem like too much effort. All leading to the feeling that it was all too much. That Christmas needed to go elsewhere.
So there has been no card writing. No present buying. No putting the decorations up and quiet contemplative time staring at the tree lights. No tree at all. No carols, no Christmas songs. No deciding on what to eat and drink. Or where to go and when.
And it feels odd.
If you’d have asked me before, I would have said not being part of Christmas would be heart-breaking. That I would feel sad, empty and like I was missing out on something big. And I suppose there is a hint of melancholy underlying my thoughts and actions. It is unsettling. I feel unconnected.
Mostly though it simply feels like I do every day. Admittedly at present this is not exactly full of sunshine and rainbows. But it feels normal. It feels like these are just days. No different to any other. They have significance because we give it to them. Otherwise they are days, nothing else. The normality this gives me is reassuring. There is no pressure on me to do things, to be a certain way, to feel festive.
This is not a goodbye to Christmas. An intention to never be part of it again. I still love it. I needed this break from it though, I needed to not be part of it. To not have to force feelings that are not there. Christmas will be there again next year.
I wish you a happy whatever this time of year means to you. Be it Christmas, holidays, a time of relaxation and quiet, just days like any other, a time that you are trying not to think about because of the memories it holds or the reminder of what is missing. Whatever it means to you, I wish for some happiness to be involved.
photo by ColobusYeti