Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Bah, humbugs. Minty!

(NB This was written around the 22nd, but not finished and edited til Boxing Day)

I am not really feeling Christmas this year. I am never a massive Christmas fan, since it often involves my granny, who is acceptable in small doses but beyond that her sickly sweet manipulativeness and inability and unwillingness to cope with my sister's complexities (mostly her autism/Asperger's) get too much. Or it involves balancing my family and my other half's family so that we see both families and still see each other (one of the rare times I'm glad our families live near each other). Or it involves going mad getting stressed out on the high streets trying to buy EVERYTHING.

On the day, I do enjoy it, that I get to spend time with my family (parents and sister) and the other half, and there seems to be a Christmas tradition that a load of my home-friends, from the various schools I attended, go out on Christmas eve so there's a general catch-up which is great. So there are good bits. And I enjoy the proper time off - always at least two weeks, as a student, even though last year that was spent stressing about finals, and most years it involved a couple of days working in my wonderful job in my wonderful museum, which even though it was work, was still a break.

This year I have two days off, Christmas day and Boxing day, and since I've just worked a very difficult and draining 12 days in a row (someone insert a joke about the 12 days of Christmas here please) I'm not going to be the life and soul of the party. That takes more energy than I have! I'm just hoping that I get to the party/Christmas eve gathering in the pub at all, and that I don't finish work so late that I've missed everyone by the time I get there.

Today, 22nd, is the first time I've done any proper Christmas shopping - I've picked up the odd thing here and there, the first was in June (be impressed) but I haven't had any time until now to actually shop for anything. It's rubbish that not having time for Christmas shopping is such a big deal - Christmas shouldn't be about the shopping. Or the presents. Or the commercialism which is massive and horrific and all-pervasive.

This year, having seen something on facebook a while ago denouncing the commercial nature of Christmas and encouraging shoppers to support small businesses in their Christmas shopping. It was only a facebook thing but I took it to heart. I have bought three things from a chain shop, the rest from festivals or Christmas market stalls or Amnesty International online shop, and it feels wonderful. My money has gone to small and independent business, who actually pay their taxes (Amazon, you aren't getting any money from me, tax-avoiding scumbags, even if it is legal!). I'm really happy about this, and I like the idea of continuing this in future years.

Work, being a very junior doctor on a new rotation where I know nothing yet do everything, means that my energy for doing and enjoying Christmas is at an all-time low. The first time I actually have money and might therefore be expected to buy decent presents, I have no time or energy to do so. On the plus side, it means my expectations for Christmas are non-existent. All I want is a break, and the chance to spend some proper time with my family, time when I'm not meant to be busy doing something else. I am so, so looking forward to that. I don't care about the turkey, it's too much effort and takes time away from just spending time together.

I feel I've neglected my family - the last time I spoke to them was on day 1 of 12, and day 12 was yesterday. So two days where it's just me and my folks, and some of the time the other half, and maybe some friends on Boxing day, sounds amazing.

So on the one hand, I'm not in the Christmas spirit in any way. On the other hand, I am massively looking forward to it. And to getting some proper sleep for a night or two. Father Christmas better not wake me up.

A post-script: I did get out of work in time to travel home and get to the pub on Christmas eve, although the older we get the more people have moved away and the fewer friends are there, but it was fun nonetheless. I then fell asleep on the sofa after the pub, and my mum had to wake me up and make me go to bed. I woke up late on Christmas day. My sister and I made a dedicated and concerted effort to spend all of Christmas day in our pyjamas, because we could, so we did. I was knackered and had a head-cold (still! stupid virus) but that was no big deal. Working 12 days in the run-up to Christmas, with the weekend off being busy and full of Christmas preparations, clearly took its toll.
But Christmas was pretty much everything I had hoped for. Lovely.

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