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22 December, 2005

Yum. Humbug.

I loathe christmas.  It's fine for small children, but I'm not a small child, and I haven't liked the standard christmas rituals of presents, food, etc. for at least a decade.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister asked me what I'd like for christmas (at least my family tends to consult about presents, rather than make wildly ill-judged guesses).
"Nothing, or the ability to avoid the whole occasion." I explained that I simply don't enjoy the forced jollity and artifice of it all.
"Oh well, let's all be miserable, then." What? What's 'miserable'? Becoming absorbed in a good book or film? Enjoying a walk or cycle ride in the hills? Appreciating a meaningful conversation with close friends and family? Oh, the misery!

And the converse is what? Resenting the waste of ripping shiny paper off things I neither need nor really want, and which, even if I did, aren't quite the ones I would have chosen for myself? Being obliged to slump in front of an hour-long omnibus episode of some crappy soap (and having to consider that 'quality time'), feeling slightly embarrassed beneath a dayglo pink paper hat (more waste of paper)? Being obliged to drink sparkling pink wine then feeling lethargic for the rest of the day? Being pressured to visit relatives whose very existence is an irrelevance to me (and refusing)? Gasping for air in an overheated house (K's a surgeon with bad circulation, so is accustomed to seriously warm operating theatres and living conditions, whereas I choose to barely heat my house)? Sleeping on a sofabed at least a foot shorter than me?

If I liked anything about christmas, and was consciously denying myself pleasure, perhaps to prove a point, that would indeed be 'miserable'. That's what my sister seemed to be implying: denial of pleasure, and that secretly I like it. Not true. All this rubbish genuinely diminishes my enjoyment, even my quality of life; it is reluctant participation that makes me frustrated and yes, miserable.

I do want to spend time with my mother and sister. Fine. But why should we have to engage in utterly contrived activities? I've mentioned my dislike of the 'forced' aspects of a traditional christmas to my mother, too, and received half-hearted agreement: "I know, but we've got to."
Why? Who made it compulsory, and when did I sign-up? Is the price of enjoyable childhood christmases that one has to endure them for the rest of one's life?

Incidentally, if I attempted to deny others their pleasure, that'd be mean-spirited. I don't, so I'm not. I'd never dream of making a big deal out of disliking christmas, as that'd impinge on my mother's & sister's potential enjoyment. I'll just discreetly minimise my involvement. This is another case in which the NRT writing (ranting) this isn't the same NRT as you'd meet in the street.

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