Lonely at Christmas
We tend to have a cosily nostalgic view of Christmas. Snow, roaring fires, family get togethers and a feast of food, drink and presents. Children bursting into the streets Christmas morning on sleds and bikes, trailed by smiling parents, scarves flapping in the icy breeze.
Was it really ever so ideal. Today I went Christmas shopping. I remember when I was a kid buying my mum a clock for the kitchen wall. I saved up for it over eight long weeks and handed it over to much whooping and merriment. This year I am at a loss. Somehow there is nothing left to buy. My mum, in her owns words, has everything she needs.
Not that there isn't a broad selection of gift ideas on offer. But I cannot remember her ever coveting a selection of obscure jams, or a small plaster gingerbread house. She has downloaded every cd from itunes, watched every film and tv show on Sky. She's on a diet so chocolates are out, and she tends a vast garden full of every class of plant known to man, so there goes the potted plant. Perhaps a humourous gift. A musical hat. A cup that shouts at you when you lift it for a drink. On past evidence humourous gifts are out. I still have the bruises.
So what to do. A gift voucher? The gift that says "I would stick a tenner in an envelope but this seemed classier."
At least my Dad is always happy with a Toblerone.
Then there's the arrangements. I don't remember it being so difficult in the past. I have warm memories of christmas dinner, all round the table, paper hats and crap jokes. Then onto the couch to watch Top of the Pops and a film that (shock!) we HADN'T SEEN!
Now we have to play emotional russian roulette. Which parents get the coveted Christmas Day slot and which are relegated to Boxing Day? What if, heaven forbid, both sets come to me! The agony. No, that can't happen. The sun would go out or something similarly apocalyptic. Are all Christmas family get togethers fraught with disaster, cheap sherry and veiled accusations?
Still, I shouldn't complain. At least I have family to clash with, to handle with care. At least I have a partner to share the moments of calm with between the endless stress filled events. I know a lot of people hate christmas and are filled with misery at the thought of spending the time alone. All I can say is, sometimes I envy them.