The 353 Days of UnChristmas

Christmas is well and truly over. But somehow, this year I am struggling to make myself take down the decorations. Maybe it’s because I’m clinging to the Christmas holidays like someone who knows she might drown if she doesn’t keep pummelling the water. Or maybe it’s because it doesn’t really feel like Christmas happened this year.

If I’m honest, it feels like that every year nowadays. I think people go through many stages of Christmas disillusionment – the inevitable Santa Claus discovery, the year that toys and trinkets don’t excite like they used to, the year that Christmas becomes a marker of loneliness. The magic fades over the years, and you are left feeling increasingly dissatisfied. You can eat all the turkey you can muster, stuff yourself with Christmas treats and chocolate, get raging drunk with Granny and Uncle Tom – but the more you try, the bigger the anti-climax.

Of course, Christmas has famously been a difficult time for me for the past couple of years, and I am getting over that, year by year. I don’t mean to sound too maudlin. But let’s face it – Valentine’s Day is a pushover. Christmas is the hardest time of all, when Christmas movies and songs and pop culture in general push the association of exalted romanticism.

It all looks like a lot more fun now, looking back on it. In a few weeks’ time I will be gazing back with starry nostalgia, picking out the best and most “Christmassy” moments as the pinnacle of my personal happiness and satisfaction with life. But the truth is, Christmas has become somewhat of an ordeal. There is nothing worse than being told you should be happy – there is nothing more assured to make you utterly miserable.

I’m somewhat uncomfortable that this blog has taken off on such a gloomy note; but there is hopefulness in the air. Every January, between the 10th and the 15th, I feel life trickling back into me again. I pick up where I left off. I realise that I actually am happy; I might not be as ecstatic as all my favourite Christmas movies seem to think I should be, but I am happy.

When I woke up this morning I felt surprised at this glimmer of happiness. And then I felt ashamed at my surprise. Today I will take down the Christmas decorations; I will submit a short story to a competition; I will do the reading for college that I have been avoiding, camel-like; and I will look towards a bright future.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, I have not only survived another Christmas – I even managed to enjoy most of it. And that’s something to be proud of.


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