This year at Christmas time, while my friends are spending it with each other out in the best part of America, traveling around the world or enjoying reconvening with family in their home towns, I will be sitting in a dark room, eating Chinese food and going through a case of beer.
As sad as it is to say, it will probably be the best Christmas I’ve ever had.
You see, I’ve always hated the holiday. No, it’s not for any of the myriad of reasons that you’d assume. Though I don’t like the cold weather, mindless animals on Black Friday or the massive deluge of terrible music that constantly floods the radio, my discontent comes from elsewhere.
Specifically, the years I spent growing up in Canada and the couple of years I went home during college. Unfortunately, I’m one of the millions of people who grew up in a dysfunctional family. Like a volcano filled with discontent, my relatives always seem to save their chaos for month 12.
Being wildly different people who are uncomfortable examining themselves critically and not able to overcome their failures, I suppose that’s maybe natural. I know I’m no saint, but the shit I’ve had to experience is utterly absurd.
Some years, it’s petty fights over wildly trivial things. Who is going to sit beside whom at Christmas Dinner? What should we do with the left over wrapping from opened gifts? Once, my mother made my father turn around in the middle of a blizzard in order to go retrieve a dress.
At other times, insane arguments take root from basic and seemingly benign events that would not be out of place in a sitcom that aired on ABC.
In 2006, an argument with my waste of a human being brother about his strange and bizarre fixation with wearing my clothes (That day it was my shoes he’d taken a liking to.) spun out of control so badly that the night ended with my father throwing decorations and even the tree into the trash. I still seethe a little bit at the memory of the cut I got from some bricks on the corner of our house that I bumped into while taking out the refuse on a traditionally cold Canadian night with the wind howling.
Another year, one of my sisters got into an accident with a semi, didn’t tell my father that she was at fault and refused to come home. What happened next? Driving in 10% visibility weather while my Dad howled about possibly having to declare bankruptcy, he overreacted if you’re wondering. Other highlights from this disaster included my brother making long distance calls from his hotel room and calling the front desk to get it back after my mother had them turn it off and a chlorine gas leak in the joint.
Ultimately, I find that as I get older and more critically introspective, I want to spend less and less time with the people I am related to. Perhaps one day I will get to spend the season with my friends (Right now I don’t have the means to fly out to be with them.), but until then, it’s just going to be me, my dog and maybe now and then a woman, perhaps two or four.
My relatives can have their insanity and drama, I’m content (Sort of.) to be by myself. Yes I’m alone, but on the other hand no one is fighting about what items to put inside of a stocking or what clothes a baby should wear.