Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


My recurring nightmare before Christmas

  • 19 December 2017


It's hustle and bustle and bells ring-a-linging. It's trying to still be bare-minimum nice after you've checked every Kris Kringle twice, because your brain has been cooked to a cheery crisp.

It is trying to be festive while investing in your self-care and need for rest — while feeling like you're straddling two runaway sleighs careening side by side towards Christmas day. Ah, Christmas time. Aren't we blessed?

It is having the same carol in your head for days on end. It is feeling stressed about money, feeling guilt about everyone else being more prepared than you with more thoughtful gifts and nice wrapping paper to boot.

Or is it balancing all of the opinions weighed in, weighing the mood down, about Christmas or gift-giving or religion or family or drinking alcohol or who owes who?

Maybe it is trying to beat the queue by adding to the never-ending queue you've been keeping in your head — This needs to be done before that, otherwise I won't be able to get that done for this ... It is being stuck behind those gross other shoppers, clamouring and clambering, who are here for the exact same reasons as you.

We are to love one and all with great warmth and joy, and let that Christmas cheer seep through our pores, among our communities and into our plastic cups of super-strong punch. When actually the crowds and the songs and the crazy social schedule and the expectations all amount to a mountain of misanthropic feelings so great, it threatens to break through those flimsy social mores.

I look at those who can't get enough Christmas sentiment and stimulation. Who crave the tidal wave of tinsel, trifles, and tiresome tacky tunes — they crave these to the same degree I crave a quiet night on the couch. I wish I could be like them, feeling, well, like all their Christmases have come at once. [God no, please, never]


"As the first carol filters into my ears with a familiar forcefulness, I recoil, and flat-out refuse to feel like it's Christmas until the time comes when I can't deny it anymore."


I don't so much hate this Christmassy time of year — rather I feel perennially punished by it. Taken jolly, holly hostage. A Christ-mass of such seeming weight I must run faster and faster ahead to not be crushed under its heel.

For me, for the last seven years, Christmas has meant travel.