This morning, when discussing Christmas with my step-son and -daughter-in-law I realised exactly why it is that I don't enjoy "the holiday season". It's the expectations, demands, intransigence and downright selfishness of older people in my life. The younger ones have never been any bother.
Starting in the late '80s, when I moved away from my home town (at the age of 29), first it was my Nana. "You'll have to come and stay with us. What time on Christmas Eve can you get here? When do you go back to work? Can't you stay until after New Year?" I remember one year being coerced into saying I'd stay right through the holiday, 10 days or so, and by the end of Boxing Day suddenly "remembering" that I had wanted to re-decorate my living room.
Then, after Nana died, my Mother took over. This usually involved me spending most of the time I agreed to spend with her driving around countless long-lost distant relatives, me having been told "They'd love to see you. ..........And, in any case, what else have you got to do while you're here??" I'm certain that in some instances we arrived totally unexpectedly and possibly inconveniently.
Now that I've re-married, Mother insists on coming to us for week - having already spent a week with my brother. She also insists she won't use public transport over the holiday period, so I have to meet her and my brother half-way between his and ours (a 200 mile round trip for both of us) before going to do an 8hr shift at work. She also is oblivious to the fact that, as a nurse, Wor Lass has to work nightshifts. Before the "season" has begun, Mother has already started to complain that WL trying to sleep during the day is an inconvenience to her! "Why can't she take time-off?" My reply didn't go down well........ "How would you feel if you had to go into hospital and there were no doctors and nurses to look after you?" All I got in response was "..........But I'm your Mother and it's Christmas."
WL's parents insist that the whole extended family be together on Boxing Day afternoon & evening. We have tried in the past hiring a room, but after a single year we were told in no uncertain terms by WLs parents that the room was unacceptable on several levels, despite everyone else thinking it was a success. So, yet again this year, 18 fully-grown humans have been coerced into cramming into 2 rooms with seating for 10 max., while WL's parents hold court telling the same stories that we've heard every year since time immemorial. .........And many of the gathered throng have to pretend to be having "the best time", just to keep the
relics (sorry, lovely OAPs) happy.
Christmas and New Year would be great if it weren't for aged parents and grandparents. ............And please don't tell me I'll miss them when they're gone. I will, but only because life will be so much more relaxed.
I know that I'm in a small minority, but I would actually enjoy Christmas on my own. That is unlikely to ever happen unless Wor Lass pre-deceases me.