🎄 Do You Find Christmas Stressful?
Source + Photoshop
It's almost a month since Christmas, which is roughly how long I've been constructing this post in my head. I like Christmas, at least I think I do. But there are certainly moments where I think the opposite and there's usually a point, around Christmas Day or Boxing Day where I'd very much like it all to be over.
🎵 The Music
It's November 1st - as you wake up, Halloween is a distant memory and the next Hallmark festival is Christmas and so the music begins. Wall-to-wall. Mariah Carey, Michael Bublé, Wham! On the radio (yes, I listen to the radio), in the shops, TV advers... it's everywhere. And also in my home. "Alexa, play Christmas music".
There's little in life that's more uplifting than a bit of festive cheer in the form of music, unless you put The Pogues or Cliff Richard on of course. That shit's depressing.
This one should wait until December at the earliest though...
Stress Factor: 👍 100%
I've never been very good at buying presents. I have a sister-gorilla who is able to take care of everybody and a mum-gorilla who can buy for my sister - I just get a big bill at the end of it with what I owe (although I did buy the-mum-gorilla's present this year). This doesn't work for the-mrs-gorilla though - that's my responsibility and it's one that I don't cherish.
Her birthday's at the beginning of December you see. She doesn't want anything. She doesn't need anything. And she gives me absolutely no ideas as to what I can get her. So I spend days searching for Birthday presents and then I have to do it all over again for Christmas. The impossible task. And it's not just a gift from me now, I need to find her something from the children.
This year, I felt that the-toddler-gorilla was old enough to help choose so the-mrs-gorilla got Rumble In The Jungle - a game for all the family. Don't let the picture fool you into thinking it's just for children - if you played Mouse Trap as a child, you'll have a rough idea of what it's all about.
We tried to play it shortly after Christmas. I got so pissed off with the-toddler-gorilla (actually, he's the-child-gorilla now as the-baby-gorilla is now toddling) and the-mrs-gorilla whilst they were setting it up, that I had to leave and watch football instead. I'm sure they had fun playing it.
Stress Factor: 👎 500%
I love a Christmas Tree and after Christmas last year, we bought ourselves a couple of nice, fibre optic trees with the lights already attached. The idea was to save on the stress of wrapping lights around the tree.
The tree to the right's one of the ones we own and we've also got a Christmas train that goes around the bottom of it. The lights can be white, it can be multi-coloured and the multi-colour's surprisingly nice.
But the pre-lighting's not what I expected. Instead of you wrapping the lights around, somebody's just wrapped the cables around various branches themselves and whilst it doesn't look bad, the OCD in me wants to improve the spacing but if you try to do that, it fucks up everything. So to me, it'll never be "just right".
Every year, I also think that the act of doing the tree and putting up decorations is a fun, family activity. Something to do with the children. Next year, I need to remind myself that it's not. the-toddler-gorilla wandering off with the most breakable thing that he can find and the-child-gorilla wrapping himself in tinsel, little bits falling off and continuing to glitter within the carpet months later. When it's done, it looks nice. Until you hear something smash in the kitchen and discover the-toddler-gorilla's been removing baubles from the tree and wandering around with them again. As for the Christmas Train... that disappeared for a week and was eventually found in the ball pit.
Stress Factor: 👎 50%
We live on the South Coast in England. It's a beautiful place with the sea and countryside a short walk away. I'm from Reading, the-mrs-gorilla from Hull. So we need to travel hundreds of miles every year to see everybody. The logistics vary by year - my family's always on Boxing Day and we see the-mrs-gorilla for (the best part of) a week before or after. This year, it was after.
Reading's not too far away, roughly 2.5 hours drive but unfortunately, it requires a stint on the M25. For those that aren't aware, motorways in the UK are populated by impatient idiots who drive too fast. So we spent an additional hour sat in queues where people have chosen to drive into each other. On the other side of the road. That's right. No accident on my carriageway. But on the opposite. We call it "rubbernecking". The act of slowing down to 10mph to see if there's a corpse in the opposite direction. This has always intrigued me. If we put an actual car crash, gore and all on TV during lunch time, ofcom would be inundated with complaints. But give somebody the real life opportunity to see it and they can't help themselves. I don't get it.
So 3.5 hours later, we're in Reading. We spend the night and it's another 5 hours up to Hull. On more motorways. So more accidents and more re-routing.
Fortunately, the kids behaved but it's not uncommon for them not to.
Stress Factor: 👎 20%
I love my family - We don't follow the British Family Tradition like you see on Eastenders but there are plenty of other things to fear instead.
I'm a quiet person. I don't talk for the sake of it and I'm comfortable when it's quiet. I'm somewhat of an outlier. On Boxing day this year, I was in a room with 14 people. 10 of them were talking at the same time. You might wonder how a conversation works with 10 out of 14 people talking and it's quite simple - nobody listens. So what's being said is totally irrelevant. Luckily for me, watching football doesn't necessitate hearing the sound but the people in front of the TV was quite annoying.
And this is before alcohol increases the volume a few notches.
The alcohol also encourages parents not to give a fuck about what their offspring are doing. Until those offspring feel so attention deprived that they ruin Christmas and their parents need to take them home. This is the best bit every year. Silence really is golden when you're deprived of it and your ears are ringing.
Then off to the in-laws where it's nice and quiet (most of the time), I can have a lie in because there are grandparents around and a separate living room to watch football in. Bliss.
Stress Factor: Neutral
The Christmas Period has a stress factor of 👎 470% so it's no surprise that I'm always happy when it's over.
The stress of buying gifts and putting up decorations isn't offset by the jolly music and by the time Christmas arrives, I'm exhausted and dreading the travel to sit in rooms with drunk people
shouting at talking to each other. Packing it all away again is another miserable chore that nobody wants to do.
I also started a new tradition this year of building a few Christmas Lego sets which the-child-gorilla loves so there is a bit of extra Christmas joy that I nearly forgot to include.
Until I became an adult, the holiday season was magical to me. Things look a little different now, primarily because of the numerous hassles associated with the holidays.
Here it is worth noting that in our country there are many peculiarities and traditions related to winter holidays. First of all, this is a problem with the calendar. Traditionally, we celebrated Christmas on January 7, but in the last 20 years there have been discussions in society about the need to switch to the Gregorian calendar and celebrate together with the whole world. This issue has become particularly acute this year. Some people switched to the new calendar.
It is difficult to change traditions, so as a result we celebrate two Christmases, but on January 7 we celebrate more traditionally.
We have very alive traditions that force us to prepare many dishes. For example, on Christmas Eve there should be 12 dishes on the table. And although few people now follow this rule, still, in order to prepare for the holidays, you need to spend a lot of effort and time on cooking. It is difficult, sometimes even exhausting.
However, I can't say that I don't like the winter holidays, although I feel relieved that they are over.
Ah, that's understandable. I've only ever associated the later Christmas with Russia and given what's happening at the moment, people will want to distance themselves from that. It feels like it would be a shame though if it's been the tradition if Ukraine for so long too. It's hard for me to have an opinion really though as I don't know much about the history of January 7th.
I'll have to look this up. How many dishes are we talking here? Is this "extreme tapas"?
I find it to be a strange and contradictory feeling. I want to like it as I like (almost) all of the components and the sentiment behind them.
Christmas... Easter... Days like all the others for me. I listen to the same music all year round, and even when heavy metallers and punks text about Christmas, it sounds pleasantly robust and rocky ;-)) I'm not interested in presents, and I used to offer the children experiences rather than physical things (which probably nobody needs). Time is the big magic word: if holidays contribute to more time together: bring it on! Everything else... I leave it to those who like it.
Weihnachten... Ostern... Tage wie alle anderen für mich. Ich höre die gleiche Musik ums Jahr, und selbst wenn Heavy Metaller und Punks über Weihnachten texten, klingt das angenehm robust und rockig ;-)) An Geschenken bin ich nicht interessiert, auch den Kindern habe ich früher eher Erlebnisse angeboten statt physischer Dinge (die vermutlich niemand braucht). Zeit ist das große Zauberwort: wenn Feiertage zu mehr gemeinsamer Zeit beitragen: her damit! Alles andere... Überlasse ich denen, die es mögen.
Ohhhh, the gifts. I have a photo that I took of our Christmas Tree and all of the presents underneath - I won't share it because it's embarrassing.
Our family buy our little apes far too much stuff - our older nephews and nieces hand down all of their stuff to us throughout the year (much of which we hold back for Birthdays, etc.) and our house is overflowing with toys and games. Far too much. They've never asked for anything and are happier when we go to the park or the zoo than stay indoors to play. But consumerism is ingrained into so many that we can't avoid it.
A spot of Wizzard...?
Nice ;-)) I thought more in that way:
I was waiting for the death metal screams over the top. I am disappointed that they never came...
As for the video's picture...