Bah and Humbug

A few days back I (Hilary) completed the Christmas shopping.  I did it all on line but still found it stressful.  More so, in a way, as I couldn’t actually see what I was getting though at least I did not have to brave the crowds, crush and carols.

I freely confess that I do not like Christmas.  One of the things I like about living in Turkey is that I don’t have Christmas impinging upon me from every side from half way through October.  Sure, there were New Year decorations in Bornova Forum which included decorated fir trees and reindeer but I know for a fact that Ikea started selling these in Sweden two months previously.

Christmas is, of course, still happening.  And it goes without saying that we will miss family and friends with especial poignancy at that time.  But I will not miss the stress.  And I will not miss the constant pressure to be ‘Christmassy’ which has very little to do with the meaning of the festival itself.

I do not miss having to get up in the hours of darkness and being in an office through all the hours of light.  I will not even miss the wonderfully empty tube trains on the journey into work between Christmas and New Year.  Or the 08:00 meetings which are inquorate due to people being on annual leave.

More than anything I will not miss the need to explain to people why I don’t like Christmas.  I have nothing against the festival itself, I’m not keen on the pressure to spend, spend, spend, but my real issue is the pressure it puts on families to be ‘proper families’ – an ideal of happy families that is not possible in the real world and which makes so many people feel like inadequate failures.

And, of course, those who do not have families or even a home.   The illusion of a ‘family Christmas’ promoted by commerce and the media is not a lot of fun for them.  And, remember, this starts in mid-October.

We wish all of you the Christmas / Yule / Solstice /Canukah /New Year celebrations that you would wish for yourself.    Me, I’m hoping for a quiet day and waiting for the sun.


8 responses to “Bah and Humbug

  1. Hilary I am absolutely with you on this and it’s also one of the bonuses for me in living here and not having to acknowledge Christmas. I rarely go to the UK for Christmas and for my husband and I it’s just another ordinary day. What does always feel strange for me is the need family and friends in the UK have to phone me on Christmas Day. They are all trying to be festive and are wishing me the seasons greetings and it doesn’t feel right somehow…a bit strained on my part in attempting to enter into the spirit of it for their benefit. Do you know what I mean? I’d rather have the odd phone call from them at other times.

    (Now you know why my visit is planned for 27th December!)

  2. Bravo – I couldn’t agree with you more on this issue. Well said. Here’s to your newfound freedom from all of that…

  3. Christmas? Take it or leave it. Of course, we can’t get away from the tinsel and baubles. The Turks have taken all the trappings of Christmas and transferred them to New Year. Very clever!

  4. All very Christmassy here with Christmas trees in the shops being sold for Yılbaşı. 🙂 We don’t miss the stress of the crowds in the shops either. Happy Christmas and New Year to you and yours.
    Julia and Barry

    • To be honest, I did spot some baubles and artificial fir trees in one of the general stores this morning. That’s not one of the local dukkan – but one of the places that reminds me more of a pound shop. We’re very small town here in Selcuk but we’ve put both our Christmas cards on the bookcase.

      All the best to you for the Year’s End and the best of 2012.

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