December for normal Western people: cheerful children, sparkly sequins, festive frolics, office party politics.
December for single childless me: mulled wine by the barrel, sing-sobbing to carols, Asian island hopping, self-gifting shopping.
Normally, I avoid the tradition of Christmases by being abroad and/or in bed for a fortnight. Last year, I went to church, listened to a homophobic sermon, had Mexican for lunch in a Malaysian shopping mall and then very violently heaved and wailed for the rest of the day in a single bed in my grandparents’ house. I was 28 and widowed.
Tonight, now that I have grown up (still bloody widowed) and had Botox, and I’m in the UK, I thought I’d make a wee go of it with the decorating and festive shit. The flat could do with some cheer, in addition to all the unnecessary scatter cushions, you know? But Christmas can get to fuck, I’ve decided. Pointy pine needles all over my floor can get to fuck. Despite the best intentions, yuletide spirit, wine, and encouragement from Destiny’s Child’s melodic minor ‘8 Days of Christmas‘ (are Beyoncé’s tastes so expensive that her true love can’t afford to do 12 days like everyone else?), tonight’s Operation Festive Flat involved sobbing on the floor of the shower, and letting the water wash away the mixture of minty Clinique exfoliating scrub, snot, tears and whatever glue shit they spray on trees sold by Homebase.
It had all been going so well. Then I put the sausage dog Christmas ornament on the tree. I lost it.
The last thing my wife ever bought me was this sausage dog ornament. She found it on our little wander to John Lewis the day before she killed herself – in October 2013. She bought one for her mother too. Looking at the ornament confuses me so much. Was is her goodbye gift to me? Did it mean that she wasn’t planning on killing herself, that it was a sudden decision and she was really confused, because she was otherwise indicating that we were planning a happy Christmas together? Was she trying to leave me with a positive memento? Was she spitefully leaving me a gift that she knew full well would make sure she was in my mind, making me sad every Christmas for the rest of my life?
I just don’t know. Fuck this shit. I’m so done with Christmas.
The one flickering Christmas candlelight though – my new special someone bought me an advent calendar and it makes me smile every morning. Someone cares. For now.