Monday, 5 December 2016

I'm Not Scrooge: Why I Find Christmas Difficult

Apparently if you don't like Christmas or can't get into 'the Christmas spirit' you're miserable and a Scrooge. Okay, mate, sure. Have you ever wondered why someone doesn't like Christmas? I'm not cheerless, a killjoy or the Grinch, I just find Christmas time really hard.

If you're new to my blog, I'll give you some background on how I grew up; when I was five, my mum, younger brother and I all moved in with my grandparents. My nan and grandad were everything to us and we lived with them until they passed away in 2009 and '10. We lost them within six months of each other and the bottom fell out of our worlds. 

Christmas was my nan's thing. The house was decorated like a grotto; garlands all over the ceiling, wreaths, ornaments, outside lights, snowflake stickers on windows, singing Santa's, a nativity scene, cards on string and a massive Christmas tree with twinkly lights and baubles galore. She loved it. It was her favourite time of the year, and her enthusiasm was infectious. Each year she'd buy a new musical decoration and press it every time someone new came to the house. She once bought a motion sensor singing Santa which sat at the bottom of the stairs and burst into song regularly enough for my grandad to turn it off in annoyance. She'd welcome people to her grotto when they came round to visit and my friends were always extremely impressed with the efforts our family went to.

My nan was disabled for the majority of my life and as I got older I became chief tree decorator. My love of Christmas came from her; I'd decorate the tree and she'd praise me for making it look beautiful and be thrilled that even though she couldn't help, we still made her house festive and ready to celebrate. 

On Christmas eve, mum would allow my brother and I to open our new Christmas pyjamas and we'd wear them that night. When it came to bedtime, mum and nan would stand at the bottom of the stairs and as my brother and I went up to bed we'd sing a verse from Jingle Bells, with a little Nanna twist.

Christmas Eve is here
And we go off to bed
As we climb the stairs
And nod our sleepy heads.
We take our stockings off
Hang them in a row
And quickly jump off into bed
And off to sleep we go.
Oh, jingle bells

Even in my teens, I'd sing that on Christmas Eve. I loved Christmas so much that as I got older I bought my own decorations and made my own little grotto in my bedroom.

On Christmas Day my brother was always up first, we'd wake everyone up and sit on the stairs outside the living room until my grandad got up. He was always last, but we always waited for him. The day was amazing, the food incredible and the games in the evening hilarious.

The house looked so bare when our very own grotto was packed away into boxes for the following year.

My grandad died in July 2009, and my nan in February 2010 after a fall on Christmas Day. I've tried to get in the spirit, I've wanted to fall back in love with the holiday my nan adored but it's not the same without her. It just makes me sad. My mum and brother are the same, we all loved Christmas because of my nan, and it doesn't compare without her. 

Please don't tell me to try and get in the spirit, or think of what my nan would have wanted. I know she would want me to enjoy the day but I can't, not yet. I'm not ready. I miss them both every single day, and because Christmas was such a big deal to my nan, I find it very difficult. Her birthday is December 9th too, so that makes this month even harder. 

Maybe I'll never enjoy Christmas again but I have plenty of incredible memories and they mean more than any decoration or present.


  1. This made me so sad to read! I totally get where you're coming from, I love the lead up to Christmas and everything but every now and then it hits me that Christmas day is now so empty. When I was younger all my grandparents would come round and we'd have such a good time. But 3 died (two within six months of each other like yours) and although I still enjoy Christmas it just isn't the same at all. The joy isn't there like it used to be.

    I hope one day you learn to love Christmas again - I know you don't want to hear this - but your nan would want you to. And I think when you do get that enjoyment again you'll love it so much more because you'll know that's what she'd have wanted!

    Claudia xx

  2. I really try to be mindful of others that have a hard time this time of year. I'm sorry you struggle with it.

  3. Oh Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear this. You celebrate Christmas when you are ready, not when someone else says you should. We all take different amounts of time to deal with a family death, I lost my nan on 21st November when I was 17 and she was more of a mother to me when I was growing up. I still miss her loads now and have a cry too but luckily I'm able to enjoy most of the Christmas period. I'll never forget her, the same as you will never forget your grandparents even when you are emotionally able to enjoy Christmas.
    Sharon x

    1. Thank you, Sharon. I'm sorry you can relate *hugs* x

  4. This is such a heartbreaking and honest post, I really do admire you for sharing your story with us. I do understand, although I will never be able to fully understand what you have been through because I haven't been through it myself. Please remember you are so strong and brave. Sending you all my love xx


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