Seasons Reflections

For the first time in my life, this year I felt a longing to be with family at Christmas. It was hard to describe – and perhaps it’s ubiquitous so I don’t need to – but I wanted to be around my cousins, aunts and uncles because of their differences rather than in spite of them. I liked the idea of all the members of my family putting aside their vast differences and being together just for a few hours once a year. I guess that’s the universal Spirit of Christmas, right? Overall I found it a little more trying than I expected.

I’ve heard a few people talk about “the racist uncle” as a kind of stereotype at family gatherings. I wasn’t too worried about racism this year (though it has come up in the past), and instead I discovered that there are many things to discriminate about. This year, I noticed judgemental language (often directed at me) that targeted vegetarians, vegans, Pokémon enthusiasts, people who enjoyed alcohol, people who didn’t give to charity, people who are sensitive, people who don’t have the latest model of smart phone, and religion and the people that practice them.

Furthermore I have discovered that I don’t really like the idea of Christmas presents. From my experience today, they are often generic and not usually liked by the people who receive them. Beth and I have worked so hard to declutter our home lately, throwing out, giving away and selling hundreds of books, games, consoles, clothes, furniture, figurines and other accoutrements. The last thing I want is to take home a bunch of new stuff that I am not in love with and want in my life, because then I have the task of rehoming the item and I risk the gift-giver being hurt if they find out.

It’s taken me a few hours to process everything that has gone on today. It was affirming to discover that I have a dislike for the materialistic side of Christmas, and that perhaps next year I will make donations to charity on people’s behalf, or provide other options that sit better with me. (I know gifts aren’t about my feelings, but I don’t think I could bring myself to give something to someone that I myself was repulsed by.) I’ve also learned that it’s hard for me to be around people who’s value systems are quite opposite to my own. Today I met people who valued eating animal products, having lots of (expensive) possessions, hobbies over relationships, negative self-talk, making fun of people (ostensibly to “toughen them up”), and being right rather than to letting people be happy. It’s fine that people have different values, though I think the frequency and intensity of those value clashes wore me down foster than I anticipated.

It’s been a busy few days, and I’m glad it’s over for the moment. Merry Christmas everyone <3

2 thoughts on “Seasons Reflections

  1. Galaxy Girl says:

    I really like this Xin!
    And I had a very similar experience last year, although transcribed with a lot more swear words :-)

    Christmas is a phenomenal time of the year. The pace and hype are incredible! I love that you were able to reflect and find joy in parts of your reflections, and affirmations in other parts. <3

  2. Galaxy Girl says:

    I was thinking about my comment, and thought that it really in no way honoured the difficulty you experienced at Christmas with your family – at the expense of your conscious life decisions. I’m really sorry it was intense! I’m sorry that your family couldn’t reflect back to you the active life-affirming choices you have made and see others make. I think that is the hardest part of family gatherings – not having your authenticity valued… and that really sucks! I imagine that you lead by example, even though it may not feel like it. And that the changes you make in your world are witnessed – even though it may not seem like it at the time. And that’s speaking from experience! You’ve changed my perspective on things by you just doing what’s right for you. <3

    I'm glad it's over for another year. I hope you have had time to re-coup and regain from the experience, and I hope you know that you are loved and respected exactly as you are. x

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