Why I don’t love Christmas and why that’s ok

I was going to call this post “why I don’t like Christmas…” but that would be a lie. I like Christmas the same as I like every other day. I, however, most definitely do not love Christmas.

For me Christmas is just bad memories. I have a life of bad memories but it’s particularly difficult to ignore the ones from a day with so much hype - like Christmas. Those memories are different to those that happen on random days because they are harder to escape.

My memories of Christmas are of me washing dishes while the rest of my family ate their dinner. They’re of me then going to eat my (now cold) dinner to find that my family had found fun in covering it in glitter. So with an empty stomach I cleared away the dishes while everyone else proceeded to enjoy their Christmas.

This is just one particular Christmas and that was the tip of the iceberg. Later that evening (lots of alcohol later) an argument erupted between my mother and her husband. Neither them drinking excessive amounts of alcohol nor arguing was uncommon. In fact this argument surprisingly lasted several hours before there was any physical violence. By this point all my siblings were in bed and I would have been too if I didn’t fear my mam might end up in hospital or worse. I sat waiting for a punch to be thrown. I knew it would happen and that I’d most probably have to take a couple for my mam again. Though later than expected, I heard a fist hit the wall upstairs from where I was sat on the bottom step.

I ran upstairs to make sure no one was hurt. It seemed my mam’s husband was the only one that was hurt and the hole in the wall showed why. His next punch was not aimed at the wall. He hit my mam, who ran and tried to lock herself in the bathroom. I pulled on his arm to stop him following her but was pushed down the stairs. (The next morning I was shouted at for the blood stain my busted nose had left on the stair carpet.) The fighting continued until the early hours of boxing day, some how not waking up any of my siblings. (Compensating for their sleeping I didn’t sleep for three nights.)

So with such bad memories at the front of my mind this time of year it is difficult to live up to expectations. There are expectations at this time of year for you to be happy and joyous. It’s forced upon you and nobody wants to be a grinch nor a Scrooge. It leaves people that don’t like this time of year, such as myself, feeling guilty. The pressure to enjoy Christmas and to embrace the Christmas spirit is so high. It makes you feel selfish and ungrateful that you’re not enjoying it which starts an endless cycle of feeling guilty then guilt for the subsequent mood of that guilt and it can easily spiral out of control.

It’s okay to not enjoy Christmas. You don’t have to. I’m happy not to, it’d be great if I did but it’s not essential. I might not love Christmas but I like it and that’s enough. And I like it because I like every day and that to me has a lot more upside.