We don’t celebrate Christmas. Christmas holds no particular affection for me and my parents don’t bother with it. My partner is neutral to the whole affair. The problem is, all the well meaning friends that think because you don’t celebrate it that you are somehow missing out.
All the build up and hype around Christmas frustrates me, its very hard to avoid it. It gets to the point where I have to conciously stay away from public places due to the insistance from retailers and the like that everyone be subjected to loud, revolting Christmas music and Christmas merchandise. I just want to buy my groceries in peace without being subjected to Snoopy’s Christmas and Mary’s Boy Child.
There seems to be the complete obliviousness that some people do not celebrate this event. For many, Christmas is a joyous time, time to spend with family and friends and/or celebrate the birth of Jesus (or the delivery of presents). But for an equally great number, Christmas is a sad or depressing time – loved ones are gone or they are alone. For so many, the self inflicted expenses make it a stressful time of year. And there are those of us to which it has no meaning other than a few days off work.
Two Christmas’s ago, my mother-in-law (who we see most weeks) invited us to Christmas Day lunch – just her, a friend and us two would attend. We turned it down a couple of times before she assured us no trouble would be taken, and it would be like any other weekend lunch invite. Well quite clearly this was not the case. No expense was spared on the nibbles, fancy drinks, mountains of food for 4 people and gifts. Yes it was a lovely meal, and I fear I sound ungrateful, and perhaps I am, but its times like this I feel like I am being forced into celebrating something that I don’t want any part of.
So there is only one solution now as far as I can see, and that is leaving the country. Preferably to somewhere that doesn’t celebrate.
In past years we have done cruises, usually the ships are decorated but that doesn’t bother me. The music tends to be toned down because lets face it, cruise ships tend to have a class element the local mall doesn’t.
Last year we went to Laos, and apart from the Christmas trees in the lobby of a number of hotels and the Christmas music playing at breakfast (I kid you not), you can forget all about Christmas and enjoy a nice holiday while taking minimal annual leave. Though we did find it amusing to have a monk in his saffron robes wish us a “Merry Christmas” in the street in Laos.
So we will be not celebrating Christmas in Burma this year.
For next year, who knows, might just pretend we have left the country and sit at home in the sun on the couch reading a book. Shhhh, our secret!