Christmas is three days away. But unlike most people, December 25th and the month leading up to it fills me with bitterness and loathing, rather than excitement and joy. I see people posting on social networking sites about Christmas and it makes me want to hit them even more than I do at normal times during the year. It’s as if Dickens’ Scrooge character has been personified in me, and the saccharine sweetness of Christmas makes me feel vaguely ill and more than a little irritable. Not because I begrudge others their Christmas joy, but rather it bring me no happiness and thus, I don’t want to have to hear about it. Christmas for me has long since stopped being something to get excited about and in fact, we haven’t even had a tree up in the last two years.
When I was a child, I used to love Christmas. I would find it difficult to get to sleep Christmas Eve because I was so extraordinarily excited about the prospect of a visit from Santa and I would always endeavour to stay up late so I could catch a glimpse of the jolly fat man. Unfortunately for young Amy, I actually slept well then and would inevitably fall asleep. Of course, my disappointment at having not seen Santa would vanish the instant I woke up on Christmas day and saw the sack of presents that had been miraculously delivered overnight. In a way, my disenchantment with Christmas began when I got old enough to realise that Santa doesn’t exist.
Even still, for a few years after coming to that realisation, Christmas was still a wonderful time of year for me. We always hosted a Christmas Eve party at our house and every year friends and family would converge at home for drinks and food and conversation and all that other fun stuff that occurs when large groups of people get together. We still do that, though the crowds are considerably smaller these days. Christmas itself would consist of visiting all the extended family, which was often exhausting but always pleasant. In the last few years however, things have been different. I don’t believe I’ve attended the extended gatherings – those involving the cousins and great aunties and uncles and the like – in perhaps two or three years. It’s not that I dislike my relatives but I am socially awkward and have grown increasingly anxious about large gatherings of people as I’ve gotten older and, despite having known these people my entire life, I tend to find conversation, while not unpleasant, at least a tad difficult.
For me, Christmas is associated with great feelings of trepidation and resentment. While everyone else is happily preparing for a great big day, I’m just waiting for it to be over. The people that I loathe at the best of times come out en masse and rush around in heightened states of rudeness in an attempt to complete their Christmas shopping on time. A good portion of those presents are returned anyway and thus, working in retail becomes increasingly hectic and frustrating around Christmas. In amongst all that, I have to do my own shopping (though I manage to be less rude than most people I encounter) and don’t even get me started on the damned carols.
I think it is safe to say that Christmas and I are like two great friends who had a falling out and now no longer speak unless they happen to be at the same social function and have to make strained and falsely polite conversation, while silently thinking up creative ways to kill each other. And hoping the other gets exceptionally fat. With that, I think I have said all I can about my least favourite time of year and thus, I am going to go and hibernate until the dreaded day is over and it’s time to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales.