It’s that time of year again. The single day that we seem to be either working toward or recovering from for the other three hundred and sixty four.
Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not really a fan of Christmas. In fact, I bloody hate it for personal, philosophical and misanthropic reasons. I find that the worst part of Christmas is the social hypocrisy. Be nice for one day a year, but you can be a shit for the rest of it. It’s like the reverse of The Purge!
But let’s be more specific for Those-Like-Me. Let’s say you suffer from social anxiety. You’re about to be thrown into a flurry of social contexts that are likely to chill your bones with fear. What about the depressives among us? Christmas is acknowledged as being one of the most social times of the year, unless you’re having a Down Day, which come unbidden and unwanted whenever they please and, because it’s Christmas, your need to remove yourself to the safe distance or comfort space is absolutely denied. You’re forced to “cheer up, it’s Christmas” and “have another drink, it’s Christmas” and “eat something else, it’s Christmas”. It’s that pushiness; the expectation that you’re going to eat and drink and laugh despite being anorexic or a struggling alcoholic or that you’re harangued by thoughts of suicide which statistics show is painfully common around the festive period.
Then there are people who identify on the autism spectrum who might find the high intensity of Christmas exhausting, frustrating, angering and impossible to withstand. What if you have an event in your past that has caused you psychological trauma around the holidays? For those poor souls, there is no escaping this time of year.
For every person who embraces the maelstrom of traditions and commercialism for the day, there is another who has a reason to avoid it. I implore you to think about your loved ones at this time of year. Not just buying them the right gift or forcing another mince pie into their unprotesting gullet, but about them as a person. Just because it’s Christmas, we don’t stop being individuals. We don’t become cookie-cutter happy people for the festive period. The struggle goes ever on for a huge portion of the population. Try to remember to enjoy your Christmas your way. If it truly is a day for peace, then let people find their own. If you’re going to give, then let it be understanding that you gift to your loved ones. Hope comes not in the verse of a card, but in the squeeze of a hand, the offer of an arm, and a Samaritan ear.
Eat, drink, and be merry, but think of those who won’t, shouldn’t and can’t.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and, as always, thanks for reading.