Friday, December 14, 2007

Are You Looking Forward to Christmas?

Most women I know don't really like Christmas. It's hugely expensive and if you're in a family, requires a lot of work from the lady of the house. Finding that special present that doesn't break the bank, and just finding the right gifts over and over is downright exhausting. Buying things for people they don't really need or want can be pretty wasteful and disappointing.

I remember years ago, when I was a single mother, or just plain didn't have enough money,
Christmas was a huge trauma. I had four siblings who had a total of twelve children between them, and the tradition was that everyone gave a present to everyone! In the weeks before the big day, I would slave over my sewing machine, or trawl through the cheaper shops, trying to produce a special present for eighteen people. Plus, my own children needed something each as well. And we hadn't even thought about Christmas dinner.

I would heave a huge sigh of relief when it was over.

I remember one dreadful year, when the entire family got together at my younger brother's home on boxing day. We had my stepson there, along with my own children. I had made it public to all that he would be there. When the big family present hand-out came, no-one else had remembered to buy this ten year old boy anything. The disappointment on this poor boy's face still haunts me nearly twenty years later.

That's how sad Christmas can be.................

I lost my beautiful sister from breast cancer in '89, and 'sacked' my three remaining siblings around 9 years ago, and that has proved the most freeing thing I could possibly do. You grow up believing that in a family, all you had to do was love them and they would love you back. Not true.

I have my own new family now, filled with people who love honestly and are trustworthy.

My daughters have produced a bunch of grandkids for me to fuss over, and they have great partners who like and respect me and my lovely man.

We also have others who are our 'surrogate' family, and we trust how they will treat us from years of solid friendship.

I miss what our family could have been, but not what it became.

Christmas will be very special this year, and although I haven't bought all my presents yet, I am really looking forward to it.

" The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. "
... Burton Hillis


Switchsky said...


Mim said...

This is a great story but the thought of that poor boy and his sad face is just awful. I hope he grew up into a happy man.

BlissHill said...

Sadly, you marry the father and put heaps of work into him and the children. Then dad turns into a bit of a dud, so you divorce and you never see those kids again.

Life can be a bit of a lottery.......

I hope the son has warm memories of me nevertheless.

Aphra said...

The stuff about struggling to find the money for presents as an impecunious single mum struck a chord. I spent Xmas with my sister and her family when my son was about three. They used to pile the girls' presents from Santa around the hearth, and they had very large piles. My son's was much smaller. Never again.

It's not surprising that the divorce and suicide rates go up over the festive season.