This year I have decided not to keep Christmas. Not in the way I usually do, or most of us usually do. That is, presents, decorations, cards, food, drink, parties but most of all STRESS! And bags and bags of it.
Not doing it this year. I finally said no. Been wanting to for years but this year, with my loose teeth – yes, I still have them! – it won’t be much fun wondering at every second, every morsel, if this will be my last. With my full set of teeth. Who’d want to go out with that hanging over their head? Or have people in?
The tooth fairy cometh
Still the tooth fairy has at least helped me lose weight as I said she would in my last blog and by the way apologies to my half dozen readers who may be wondering why the dearth of blogs. Truth is I’ve been very busy (no complaints there!) and couldn’t think of much to write. I’m not dieting anymore because I don’t have to. I am governed by my tooth/teeth as to what I can and can’t eat. And frankly eating has become a chore and a bore.
Not cleaning plate
I’m not one to clean my plate anymore. I’ve reverted to eating as I did when a child. I get about halfway through, if that, and think oh that’ll do! That’s enough. Of course people who are ill or depressed also go off their food and I’m glad to assure you I’m neither. It’s just that eating isn’t easy and I’ve become by default the kind of person I always wanted to be – someone who eats for necessity. Be careful what you wish for.
Saying no at Christmas
But back to Christmas and saying no. It’s taken me years to be able to do this. To say no to some of those closest to me and say I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t see the point. I have a partner but between us we have no kids and no parents. There simply isn’t any point. I have nieces and nephews but they’re all beyond childhood now and seeing their giant aunt at Christmas is I imagine pretty low on their list of priorities which is how it should be.
We’ll still have family time. Just not at Christmas. Which is what I’ve wanted to do for years. Because for the last I don’t know how long – yes I do, since I stopped being single at Christmas 25 years ago – I’ve morphed into this weird version of me I never am at any other time of the year. I become a 1950s housewife rushing round the shops like a spinning top, gathering all the food I can find on the shelves, stocking up as if for a siege. Joining in the madness because I felt some strange compulsion to do so.
Where does this come from? I’ve no idea. Is it a female or Jewish thing or both? This need to suddenly feed people who mostly aren’t actually there! It’s embarrassing the massive trolleys I’d fill knowing there was only TWO of us at home! My excuse wasn’t that the shops would be shut for ONE day mostly. No it was the fear of getting caught in the mayhem of the madness right close to Christmas which means you can’t go anywhere near a supermarket for about five days! So I’d stock up early to try and avoid that.
There’s also something secretly seductive about being a sheep. Doing what everyone else is going because it’s what you do. It’s what expected. I’ve had some interesting reactions to my reply to the awfully inane question, “Are you ready for Christmas?” which they ask where I live from about mid October. “No, we’re not doing it this year,” I smile, looking serene as I pack a basket, not a trolley, with a few things to tide us over the Christmas break.
“So what are you going to, you know, do on the day?” some ask. I shrug. Same as always. “Will you have a meal?” Oh yes, I reply. I expect we’ll eat something. But apart from taking a bit of a break from work (the self employed never take more than a bit of a break) watching some favourite films on TV and eating maybe a bit more than usual (teeth permitting) it will be a few normal days.
The strongest and most common reaction I’ve had when I say I’m not doing Christmas is a sigh of envy. “Oh how I wish WE could do that,” many have said. But of course, we can’t they invariably then add. You know. Family. Friends. Expectations.
But will the world stop if some of us stop doing Christmas? Of course not! Will we have more solvent, happier, less stressful lives if we stop rushing around like maniacs just because we’re pretty much told to? You bet!
Will our economy survive if more people do like us and stop buying rubbish they can’t afford and no one really wants? Of course it will. What kind of a country depends upon consumer debt to survive? A pretty messed up one.
Anyway I shall report back in January how our NotChristmas went. I stopped keeping New Year’s Eve about 20 years ago and that wasn’t just fine – it was bliss to say no to that particular tyranny. Because that’s all it is. Tyranny.
But if you are keeping it, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a merry new year.