Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of year, but for some people, it can be a time of year that they dread coming around and can have a negative effect on their mental health.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen a rise of comments on social media calling people a Scrooge/Grinch/Killjoy, simply because they don’t enjoy Christmas as much as that person does, and every year it annoys me.
At the end of the day, you don’t know what’s gone on in people’s lives.
They could have had a traumatic event happen around this time of year. Perhaps they have no friends or family to celebrate with and feel alone and depressed.
Maybe they have a mental or physical health condition that is made worse this time of year, such as an eating disorder or social anxiety.
Or perhaps they belong to a religion/culture that doesn’t celebrate it.
That’s the case with my family, as everyone except myself and my parents are Jehovahs Witnesses.
Now for those who don’t know, they don’t celebrate traditional holidays the same as most religions do.
Things like Christmas, Birthdays, Valentines Day, Easter are just another day to them, although most witnesses do have a “present-day” to compensate for it.
However, it’s because of this that my dad hates his birthday and Christmas.
His parents joined the religion when he was about 7 years old and up until that point they had celebrated them every year as most people do.
But then suddenly his life was completely flipped around and his family was no longer celebrating birthdays or Christmas and, being so young, he didn’t really understand why.
As he got older, he started to resent it, especially as he got bullied for it at school. People would come up to him and ask him what he got for Christmas, knowing full well his family didn’t celebrate it and he hadn’t got anything.
He hated the whole religion and left when he was 17, but by that point, the damage had been done and over 30 years later, he still doesn’t like this time of year.
On top of that, my mum lost her mum in December, the year before I was born. She was only 19 years old and had lost her son, my older brother Zakk, a few months before that.
She also has no contact with most of her family (for several reasons which I won’t get in to), and since there’s much emphasis is put on family at this time of year, it can make it difficult if you don’t have that yourself.
All the adverts show big happy families meeting up for Christmas dinner, drinks and playing games. It’s everywhere you look and if you don’t have that, or you’ve lost someone you love, its easy to feel left out and depressed.
But the fact that we don’t really enjoy this time of year doesn’t make us “Scrooge’s”.
It doesn’t give people the right to say we should be more festive, or tell us we’re borning for not celebrating it the same way that they do.
As a society, we need to get rid of this belief that we have a right to comment on someone else’s life.
Some people are Christmas mad, others can’t stand it and go out of their way to avoid it.
Then there are the rest of us who are somewhere in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy our small Christmas together, but it’s in our own way.
My mum and I have a little tradition of putting the decorations up together while blasting out our favourite festive songs, and dancing around the room like idiots – all while my dad hides upstairs and plays on the guitar!
We make a point to have lots of little buffet-style meals together in the lead up to Christmas and watch a bunch of films together in the evening.
Although admittedly there usually action ones, as no one in our house is really a fan of Christmas films.
The Grinch is the one exception to that rule of course!
Christmas dinner is always amazing and a fun occasion, even if it is just the three of us; we even manage to force my dad into a paper hat, which I’m sure he secretly loves.
At the end of the day, no matter how you choose to celebrate Christmas (or even if you choose to avoid it altogether!) as long as you are happy, that’s all that should matter.
So the next time you see someone not being as enthusiastic about Christmas as you are, or even if they say they openly hate/dread this time of year, please think before you say something to them.