I have led the kind of life that sets one up to hate Christmas.
Brought up a Jehovah’s Witness, my mother and I didn’t celebrate it when I was a child. While other ex-JW adults often talk about feeling as if they missed out, Child Scar never felt that way. The JWs do a good job of explaining to their children (and anyone else who’ll listen) the Pagan origins of the Christmas festival, and how it’s got nothing to do with Jesus’ birth at all, really.
I was a skeptical youngster who turned into a cynical atheist adult, and I’ve always found Christmas really annoying. The blatant commercialism, the fact that it’s built on a whole range of lies and misappropriations… not to mention the whole Santa Claus thing. What’s with that?! Who decided it’d be a good idea to teach children that it’s fine for a strange man to climb down their chimneys and into their bedrooms?
While my ex-husband and I were together, I’d go to his family’s place for Christmas. They were good in that they didn’t make a huge deal of it, but the fact that it was required irritated me. I disagreed with the whole concept of it, why should I have to take part? I did anyway, of course. I’m in England: politeness conquers all.
Since we separated I’ve had the joyous feeling of not having to do anything for Christmas at all. But over the past couple of years I’ve developed my own tradition which I’m beginning to really enjoy. I’ve called it wenbikonyochirrus, or winterquiettime.
This essentially involves what everyone else does over the holiday period, minus all the bollocks.
I don’t buy presents. I don’t send cards. I don’t see my family. I don’t celebrate the birth of a historical figure who wasn’t actually born in winter. I don’t buy a tree, or put up tinsel, or do any of the other things that are pushed upon us for the sake of consumerism.
I do, however, make a roast that’s big enough to last me and the cat for a few days. I curl up on the sofa with a back catalogue of films I either haven’t seen before that everyone else has, or that I haven’t watched in years (last year’s choices: Mary Poppins, It’s A Wonderful Life, Gaslight, Finding Nemo; this year’s choices: The Sound of Music, Candleshoe, Sabrina, and probably some others).
I make myself cocktails and buy myself whisky and wine. I create a cheeseboard that will last for several days. And because I know no one will call anyway, I unhook the phone and turn off my mobile, refuse to check my emails, and essentially hibernate with the cat and a big blanket.
It happened accidentally the first time, but it’s turning into my personal holiday tradition. And this year, for the first time ever, I have found myself actually looking forward to the holiday period. The Christmas decorations have been up for months, the incessant carol music is playing everywhere, and walking down my street I see trees lit up inside people’s houses. It no longer annoys me. They want to have their fun in their own way, great. I’ll have mine too. And then we’ll all start up again in January and get back to work for 2016.
So, if you’re a massive Scrooge as well – and if you’ve always hated the holiday period – maybe it’s time to work out something to do that’ll make you not spend the whole thing miserable and annoyed.
I’m embracing winterquiettime in my own way. The bliss of solitude, of not having to think about anyone else at all for a few days a year. The ability to shut yourself into your own little bubble of coziness and not speak to any other humans.
Do you spend the holiday period differently from everyone around you? What do you do to make it your own?