13 Dec 2012
WHEN CHRISTMAS BECOMES A DUTY
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
The definition of the word "Duty is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment or obligation to someone or something. It's also something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
That's what often happens on Christmas. Children think it's their duty to celebrate Christmas with the parents and that becomes complicated when they are married or have a partner because of course you have to go to both parents ! I was lucky, in some way, because my Italian husband's family didn't celebrate Christmas as it is celebrated in France, part of Belgium (the Wallons, the Flemish copy the Dutchs) France, the UK, Austria, the Eastern countries and Switzerland. Nobody ever asked us to visit them in Italy it also was too far away.
Therefore I celebrated with my parents only , and nobody else. They never invited my Grandma for Christmas. My father didn't like her with his brother and sister he had broken all contact. As a child Christmas was very nice , but when I married it became different ! Christmas became a duty for me.
My parents arrived the car loaded with presents and my father unloaded very slowly so that the whole street could see how generous he was with his daughter. He had also told his collegues what things he would offer (my mother didn't count and was never mentioned) Often I knew already what he would offer, because some of the collegues' daughters were my friend. He was a man who lived for appearance and was convinced that he could buy everything. He always had to do more than his collegues or friends, he wanted to be the most generous father in the world. Love was not his thing.
My mother arrived, changed all decorations in the house and as I didn't agree, the fights started. She checked the house for eventual dust or dirt, and brought me cleaning stuff. This was the beginning of a very stressful "on duty" Christmas ! Mr. G. got long speaches of what he should do in his job, and my mother got angry because my father had told her that my cooking was better than hers. Everything was done to put things on the table and hurt each other. What did we do ? We escaped ! Once Mr. G. once me to my best friend who lived a few streets farer to rest and breath and then return to the "battle field". Our only concern was that our little son didn't realize the tension and had a nice and cheerful Christmas.
When I think back now of all these "on duty" Christmas celebrations, I regret that I didn't dare to tell my parents, that in our house we are the hosts and they the guests and not the other way around. If Christmas with us was so awful, why didn't they stay home ? Mr. G. and I once they were gone, were fully exhausted and he was hurt but never said anything. He could do what he wanted, it was never good enough for my parents and that, they showed especially on Christmas. Of course I was rather furious and hurt, that he never said a word, just to keep the balance and create some kind of peace !
Christmas celebrations became a nightmare for me for many years until they both died. I think this has marked me for life. I am always fearing Christmas, because I never know if I would be hurt again.
Appearances are deceptive
But I am not alone, many of my friends and lots of people live the same in this season.