On the 23rd of December I was in the middle of wrapping my presents, thinking about people, events, the past, my relationships etc etc. I started feeling sad, and it seemed wrong to me that I was wrapping gifts in gaily coloured paper for family and friends in this kind of mood.
What set me off was reading a note that reminded me of a person no longer in my life. It was hardly a great tragedy – but I started thinking about failed relationships and how difficult it is to compete with the rest of the world, or to live up to people’s expectations. Getting things right seems to come naturally to some, but others are constantly on the wrong foot or a little bit lost.
My heart grew heavier and heavier – finally I left the rest of the gift-wrapping till Christmas Eve. I’m glad to say I was a lot more cheerful by then and had zapped such depressing thoughts!
The thing is, I have a feeling this has happened before. I was wrapping Christmas presents and got pretty depressed. Mixed up with all the gift labels and cards are old ones from Christmases past, so you pick up a card that says (for example) “To Diddums with lots of love from Tom and family.” Then you pick up an old card from a completely different person, and your thoughts charge off in another direction, not much happier. Eventually gloom descends. And yet I love Christmas. It’s hard to make sense of those two opposing reactions.
“Christmas is a time for family and friends.” I suppose that’s a double-edged sword, as family and friends can bring mixed feelings, especially when you’re thinking about all of them at once, in combination with people you never even met, like Tom’s family – and yet somehow here you are writing Christmas cards to them every year.
Apart from that short spell of depression, I have really enjoyed my Christmas. Maybe I should remove all those old Christmas cards from my Christmas box; in future I won’t be triggered to these gloomy thoughts!