Of course, I also have a very poor short-term memory, so no doubt next year I’ll be experiencing exactly the same ‘problems’ as this year (and every year prior to that). But Ho Ho Hopefully it won’t last as long. At least now I don’t start dreaming of a White Christmas at the beginning of September.
12 January 2015
So, that was Christmas, eh? And I hardly felt a thing.
Did you feel it - the Christmas spirit? And, if so, could you enlighten me as to what it feels like, ‘cos I haven’t got a clue. (I realise that I am lagging behind somewhat with my dissection of the festive season, but there we go: it’s time I got used to the idea that I’m hopeless when it comes to trying to work to a deadline, so I shouldn’t even bother trying - it’s not like my life depends upon it. I’m just never fully prepared for any event: so christmas, and new year, have been and gone, and I’m only just digesting them.)
There’s a Christmas song called I Believe In Father Christmas, which contains the line, “The Christmas we get we deserve.” I used to think it was like an adult variation of the idea that Santa Claus wouldn’t bring you anything if you’d been bad, which I considered was rather gloomy and depressing: but I’ve reassessed the idea, and come up with a different understanding. And it’s really quite simple (which explains why it’s taken me so long to grasp it).
I think that it’s basically saying that however you have been throughout the year, is how you’ll be at Christmas: the person you are the rest of the year is not going to have a sudden personality transplant and become someone completely different just because it’s Christmas. All that Christmas does is magnify already existing conditions and emotions, what with all that extra stress piled on top.
So if, for example, you are envious, competitive, depressive, angry, short-tempered, lonely, greedy, materialistic, etc then that’s what Christmas will likely bring out - an increase in such characteristics, exacerbated by the influence of those sections of the media which target and promote such a negative traits as greed, materialism, and consumerism. Alternatively, if you happen to be a generally happy, content, sharing, joyful person then Christmas will just be another opportunity for more of the same.
As for me specifically, it has highlighted things like the fact that I still have a tendency to make my happiness, and other emotions, dependent on things outside myself (be they people, places, or things), which contributes to the desire to want to control said outside circumstance in the misguided belief that that will change how I feel; that I am extremely gullible, naive, literal, and childlike (believing, hoping, that there is such a thing as the magic of christmas); having high, unrealistic expectations, which always lead to disappointment; taking things way too seriously (apparently, there are people out there who don’t tie themselves in such knots about the whole thing, despite the apparent frenzy that appears to go on at this time of year); comparing myself, and what I’ve got, to other people (or what I imagine they have, which is not necessarily their reality), and trying to copy them; and, of course, simply finding myself caught up in, and being distracted by, yet one more obsession. All of which I do quite happily the rest of the year. So what’s so different about Christmas?
As much as I hate to say it (and I really do hate to say it), there is no such thing as ‘the magic of Christmas’, contrary to what the media (or my mind) says. But they’re very good at selling it (both the media and my mind), especially to someone like me, whose gullibility and naivety is just begging to be taken advantage of. And every year I’m left feeling disappointed - though, I have to say, I have noticed that the disappointment is lessening with each passing year, as I try to accept that Christmas isn’t any different to any other time).
You know the irony of this is the fact that my whole lifestyle now is completely in conflict with everything that I’ve learnt that Christmas is all about - stuffing oneself on turkey dinners, mince pies, Christmas puddings, and other rich foods; alcohol; parties, and family gatherings; presents; cards; Christmas television; carol services; and the birth of Jesus.
I’m a single, non-religious yogi, vegan, alcoholic/bulimic/compulsive overeater with a sugar sensitivity, anxiety suffering autistic with ADHD. Which, just to clarify, means:-
I live on my own, and have little contact with the family I do still have - so no family get-togethers, and Christmas dinners, and no gift-buying;
I don’t socialise ‘cos it’s too stressful, it makes me anxious, and I don’t enjoy it - I’m happiest when I’m by myself, which is good ‘cos I’m by myself most of the time;
I have a faith in a Higher Power, which I choose to call God, but I don’t believe in Christianity, or any other religion, so I can’t honestly claim to celebrate Christmas for its religious symbolism - especially as I know that Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th of December: a person chose that date, so it really holds no magical significance for that reason: so there go the church services, and carol singing;
I don’t eat meat (so there goes the turkey!);
I don’t drink alcohol (so there goes the mulled wine, hot toddies, and getting sozzled at parties);
I don’t eat anything with sugar, or sugar substitutes (so there goes dessert - all the chocolate, pies, cakes, etc), or any of my other many binge foods which were once staples in my diet;
I don’t send cards, because I no longer wish to do what everyone else is doing, being coerced into doing the dutiful, but meaningless, thing of remembering people at this time of year, whilst forgetting about them for the remainder. Plus, think of all those trees;
I don’t own a television (so there goes my Christmas viewing);
And I do yoga, and follow a Twelve Step recovery programme, the principles behind which are in complete opposition to the general excess and mayhem which Christmas seems to have become.
So it’s really rather daft for me to be comparing my circumstances to other peoples’, and attempting to copy the way I see (or imagine I see) them celebrating Christmas, or the way I used to do, when I no longer have the necessary requirements. But I’m nothing if not tenacious - I do hold onto things way past their sell-by date. And I think my ideas about Christmas are far beyond outdated.
"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.
"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."
From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama
"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."