“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”
“‘Tis the season to be jolly”
What if I’m not? Or the teething toddler isn’t?
The whole perfectly happy Christmas thing is what we’re all striving for. Everyone together. Perfect food. All delighted.
Photos of smiling families in matching outfits on Facebook. Videos of sons arriving home from far flung lands by surprise, or outlandishly generous gifts (filmed and shared so that the giver can very publicly show just how generous they really are).
Even the songs are telling you that it’s amazing.
What if it’s not?
What if it goes all wrong? Even if you love Christmas, and plan it meticulously, spanners can be thrown in the works.
The thing is, Christmas is just a time of year.
Sickness doesn’t stop, bugs abound. We don’t all press pause on our personalities. In many ways it’s just another day of the year, and normal stuff happens, in tandem with the magical Santa stuff and day (week?) long feasting. Here’s stress too, and too many people I’m confined spaces.
Normal stuff like a vomiting bug, or a child on antibiotics happens. A hospital visit. An accident. Some bad news. A missed flight. Plans change.
For that “normal” stuff that’s bad on a regular Tuesday to happen at Christmas makes it so much worse. You hear of a tragedy and the comment “and so close to Christmas too” follows, increasing the pain.
And when the normal bad stuff that could happen any day happens on “the big day” we feel robbed of a Christmas, as if our one opportunity to have the perfect day all year is gone in a puff of smoke, the stars will never again align in this way, and it’s just ruined.
You’ll never recreate it.
Sure, according to the ads you’re not allowed to eat anything rich or festive once they start telling you to eat only cereal so you can fit into that red dress (that nobody actually wants to wear anyway but it matches the branding on the cereal box.)
I love Christmas. I love the build up. I love the excitement and the magic of Santa. I love the hype. But sometimes the promise doesn’t deliver. We’ve had a combination of many of the above over the last few years.
We’ve had some great Christmases, but there’s more to it than a few days of eating and smiling. If you’re off work to be able to wear your pjs all day while breaking up fights and playing Barbies, to have the time to spend telling your kids to pick up their toys for the gazillionth time, to take squashed Celebrations from your daughter’s hair and to stand on playdoh. To hear the same jokes as last year, to stand on lego, to pick up scraps of wrapping paper, to confiscate selection boxes at 7am and sneak Roses for breakfast. To sing carols you don’t even like, to read a book but get interrupted, to watch the same movie again as yesterday. To be with the people you want to be with.
That’s what Christmas is about.
Yes, you guessed it, I was sort of robbed of my perfect Christmas Day. A tummy bug has kept me from Bailey’s coffees and cheeseboards, my last alcoholic drink was Christmas Eve, I just can’t stomach it. My small girl has struggled too. I’ve managed a taste of Christmas dinner, a few chocolates and a single mini mince pie, but loads of toast and 7up. I’m on the mend now.
But I’m not being a drama llama about my “ruined” Christmas. I spent lots of Christmas on the couch, in my pjs snuggling under a blanket, watching Santa Paws and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, answering questions about Pokémon, reading my book, and taking turns in Kerplunk. I spent it with the people that matter.
That’s what Christmas is about.