Channeling Jacob Marley

The most unspoiled Yuletide holiday I’ve ever spent was with somebody else’s family. The somebody else, acquainting me with his family, wasn’t even there. The holiday was wonderful because I was totally removed from their family dynamics. Family dynamics, the phrase drops like a two ton weight on my shoulders. I cannot recall ever having, what I consider, a perfect Christmas. You know, a cinematic production, like “White Christmas” for instance.

Annually, after Thanksgiving, I am faced by the dilemma of the season. As you know, I am a godless person. I love the tree, the ornaments, and the music. I like the cards too. I do not want to be a holiday hypocrite. There is enough evidence of winter solstice rituals to defend my fondness for most of the traditions. I send gifts to my siblings, just a few amusements to fill the gap, left by Mum’s departure, to provide some of the festivity that she would have added to their lives. I buy small things for my husband throughout the month of December but we do not have a crescendo on the 25th.

The trouble begins with unreasonable expectations of holiday socializing and entertaining. I don’t like it. I don’t care to be invited and I do not care to invite. The implied commitment is an obligation I cannot meet. Okay, I’ll give you that: it’s a commitment I choose not to fulfill. There’s more. My ears ache from listening to the inanities presented by quasi-relatives. I suffer greatly. I do not see the necessity in pretending to have an interest in people I try, eleven months of the year, to avoid.

I wheedle and whine to escape a fate worse than death. Say what you will, it is worse than death; death happens only once. Others prevail (a recurring theme in my life). If it weren’t for George Bailey and that meddler, Clarence, I’d take a powder on the entire month.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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30 Responses to Channeling Jacob Marley

  1. Jive Turkish says:

    I’ve not observed Christmas for years. It has always been a chore. This year, I’ve felt a little different–a little. I doubt I will act on that inkling of sentiment.

    • elroyjones says:

      The things I would like most to do, attend the symphony Christmas show or a public tree lighting, are always bumped by the things I am obligated to do. I do not understand why I can’t disconnect from the people I don’t care for without further ado. People could make excuses- “Oh she would have loved to have been here but she’s getting her lobotomy so she’ll be able to tolerate next year’s party.”

      • Jive Turkish says:

        Those obligations do not exist anymore for me. Having to attend a company party because “it looks good” only makes the season that much more loathsome.

      • elroyjones says:

        I do not spend any time at business holiday functions. I guard my personal time. It’s only DNA that spoils the party for me.

  2. hanslrhanslr says:

    Sensational blog, Elroy!

  3. judithatwood says:

    Are you comfortable telling these quasi-relatives that you don’t celebrate Christmas, but rather the winter solstice? It’s your business, but if you want to quiet them down, you might want to come up with a polite response to Merry Christmas! et al. Something like, “Thank you so much for your good wishes. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a holy holiday, as you do. Rather, I observe another day during this month.” (And then you can go into solstice history or not, depending.) Thanks for good wishes seems a particularly appropriate way for you to answer, and you can say something like at the start of winter, I wish for you….. Maybe unreasonable, but it might be worth thinking about, anyway. Good luck.

    • elroyjones says:

      Everyone knows I am not a Christian, they know I don’t celebrate Christmas but short of saying I do not like them, don’t care the least little bit about them, I cannot escape the duty. I’ve tried everything. There is someone here, in this house, who is of the opinion that I should extend myself and attend these silly holiday soirees… .

  4. pass the powder baby, I’m in!
    an overseas relative flies in next week, has a party planned in my home (her house), I can’t stand this time of year…

  5. timetales says:

    I have had some really bad Christmases in my younger years but it has mellowed out in the latter so I put up a Tree and lights outside and buy a gift for my partner and the cats it’s fun and some of the good things that have come out of it my neighbors who don’t even talk to me brought there kids out to see the lights on they were ohhh’s and ahing with sheer delight so I brought some joy into someone else s life it was worth it. Besides childbirth is painful.

  6. There has been a post I have been wanting to write and your post has brought me a little closer to doing it. Still don’t know if I will, but a little closer now. Thanks. HF

  7. Awesome, but you had me at the first line.

  8. John says:

    Happy Solstice Season to you my Godless friend. I am with you all the way…

    Being from a small family, most of our holidays were spent with other family friends, so I always got to witness other families’ drama, without having to participate, which, I think, has influenced my dislike of family gatherings. Thankfully, I have no children to inflect that horror upon.


  9. Ray Colon says:

    Traditionally, my brothers, my sister, and I arrive at Mom’s apartment in NYC, with families in tow, for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. I usually make it to two of the three. Nothing too exciting happens there anymore, but when we were younger, some of the most fun we had was the undercurrent of drama that would invariably bubble to the surface. Mom doesn’t like someone’s girlfriend, someone is upset because they are seated at an auxiliary table (particularly on Thanksgiving), or my sister comes out of the closet and everyone picks a side. You can’t make this kind of stuff up.

    My daughter’s, of course, want to visit their grandma, so the tradition continues.

    • elroyjones says:

      You know, Ray, you have illustrated an interesting point. In my family, too, it is seldom the men who are disturbed by the sub-plots… . Like many of my friends from larger families, you have repeated an oft heard comment, “You can’t make this kind of stuff up.”
      In the words of the immortal Frank Costanza, let the Festivus begin!

  10. George says:

    You are a very rare honest and authentic person. Celebrate as much or as little as you chose. Those how know and appreciate you, shouldn’t care that you don’t conform to someone else’s ideal.

    • elroyjones says:

      Thanks very much, George. I just finished reading a paper that approached existential dread in the context of an apocalyptic Jesus where it is divine to deny existential dread in the pursuit of a heavenly life. Apparently, there have always been a bunch of renegade non-believing, dare I say it, control freaks who will not believe because they insist on self-sufficiency. I am thinking that’s who I am- a renegade control freak!

  11. If I could work my will, said Scrooge, indignantly, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.

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