My partner lovingly calls me the Xmas Grinch, because each year I am seemingly reluctant to get in the spirit of things. It got worse the Xmas I was writing up my PhD, when I had a deadline of 22 December, and I completely banned Xmas altogether until I had handed in. That year made for some frantic shopping! I have step-children who are all old enough to appreciate Xmas now, and they have also noted my lack of festive cheer.
It’s not because I don’t like Xmas, I really do. I have very fond memories of Xmas growing up. My parents made a lot of effort to make it special and I can remember putting out carrots for the reindeer, and making a Santa Trap (a string with bells on to wake me up when he came into my room – unfortunately I shared my plan with my parents and it didn’t go off for some reason…).
I think the problem is that once you get to be an adult, and Xmas is then your responsibility, it stops being so much fun. If you think that Xmas is supposed to be all about spending time with family and friends, but you’re not the sort of person who (for whatever reason) enjoys spending lots of time in social settings, and you throw in some sensory issues, it can be challenging. And not in a way that is easy to explain to people who really enjoy it!
Some reasons why I find Xmas difficult:
- Flashing lights everywhere
- Obligatory office Xmas parties (attending or declining can be equally difficult)
- Overcrowded shopping centres months before Xmas
- Having to pack a lot of friends and relatives into a short holiday
- Not knowing how to choose a good present for someone
- ‘Scratchy’ Xmas decorations
- Sending lots of cards but not getting many back
- Extra chores and responsibilities with no reduction in regular commitments
- Having time off work, but not really getting to do anything relaxing
- Music with jangly instruments in public spaces
- Overcrowded restaurants that require a booking and have a restricted menu
- Changes in daily and weekly routines
- Having to fake enthusiasm for my Xmas plans
To my credit, I have put up a tree this year, and a bit of tinsel, but I haven’t written any cards yet. Luckily, I do look pretty cute in a Santa hat, so I may get away with it for another year.
© Catastraspie, 2013 (aka the Xmas Grinch)