I love Christmas with the tree, lights, food, movies, etc. I try and outdo myself every year with my Christmas decorations. But unfortunately, my joyful outlook sank like the titanic when I had to finally start my Christmas shopping. Where’s the magic when you’re desperately sifting through the hordes of fellow shoppers trying to locate the store that might have your special gift. Let alone trying to find a park. It’s mind-boggling and stressful when you enter the shopping Centre knowing that your budget will not cover the damage that is about to entail. My carefully planned Christmas budget was hit with a nuclear bomb. I will be suffering from the aftermath well into the new year.
Annoyingly, there’s always someone who exclaims that they don’t know what they want and wish to be surprised. This means that I spend the lead up to Christmas prowling in the shadows with a notepad waiting, watching, and listening for the slightest mutter of someone needing something. So, off I go to the shops ready for battle. I’ve researched and planned the precise gifts that must be purchased. Yet, I hopelessly scour the store, searching relentlessly before realizing that the product doesn’t seem to exist, and I leave defeated with a shoddy version of what I wanted. I waste the festive season trying to find gifts for my family.
I love online shopping. I don’t have to deal with the crowds or my parent’s zig-zagging around the shops like headless chocks. But I have experienced a downside. Which is the waiting and praying that it all arrives before Christmas. More times than not, I spend my December on the phone begging to talk to someone who knows where my missing parcel has gone, which is Lebanon.
Before I know it, we’re once again hosting the Christmas gathering. With this wonderful honour, we spend days in advance shopping for copious amounts of food, the credit card takes another hit. Then we sterilize the house to make it look swanky and untouched, like no ones been living in it. We like to give the illusion of pristine luxury, so we scrub until we are completely intoxicated by the disinfectant fumes.
By the time family arrives, we are filled with frustration and hostility towards our guests for showing up. We’ve spent the past hour cursing across the house about why we’re always the ones to be hosting the get-togethers. Yet we put on a welcoming persona and invite the family into our home who we haven’t seen all year.
There’s been a few occasions where I’ve burst into tears over the stress of planning Christmas lunch. I find myself trying to cater to everyone and create an elaborate, enjoyable time for family and children. But some guests come filled with superiority and make snide remarks at our cooking or decorations. I wonder why I have gone to all this trouble for those who aren’t appreciative? Then, the next thing I know, an argument about politics has broken out across the table, and no one wants to concede.
Christmas is supposed to be a time filled with love and gratitude. Unfortunately, only because you are family doesn’t mean you are friends. For too many people, Christmas is a breeding ground for drink fueled hate and resentment to flourish.
Perhaps instead of going out of our way to impress others, we need to be enjoying Christmas for ourselves.
Although a happy time, Christmas also emphasizes and intensifies feelings of sadness and loss. I feel a deep longing and anguish for my family, including animals who can’t be with us. Around Christmas time, I miss my grandparents and imagine what it would be like to have them on Christmas day. I can see them very clearly sitting with us, eating more than what we thought humanly possible before passing out on the couch with a food hangover.
I so badly want to feel the Christmas magic. I try and force it on myself by completing my Christmas traditions, e.g., going out more, baking and watching Christmas movies. I end up feeling disappointed because I haven’t really enjoyed these activities. Looking at it, I need to relax my expectations and flow calmly through the season, focusing on how I feel rather than what I should do.
I’m determined that next year will be different. I’m going to complete my Christmas shopping by the end of November. I will not spend another Christmas stuck at the shops or stalking the post office waiting for my parcels to arrive.