Christmas this year feels weird. I still do not know exactly where I will be spending it or who will be there.
Last year, my brother came and told me that I did not give him a warm enough welcome. Now let me see. Myself and Him Indoors were just on the putting ourselves back together again after a rocky patch. Him Indoors worked Christmas Eve and I wanted him home so we could do all those last minute jobs. You know the ones like insisting on finding the last jar of cranberry sauce in the shops even though the chances of anyone wanting it are minimal.
I had spent ages putting up cards, cleaning and decorating the house, planning menus and so on. Was it enough for brother dearest? Hell no!
My daugher had said she wanted to surprise her Uncle and had decorated his room. She had a 6 year old creative’s concept of decoration and white polysterhene balls featured as snow. My darling brother hit the roof about this upsetting both her and me. He made a big song and dance about trying to remove every vestige of them from his room saying he had certain standards and would not compromise on them.
Meanwhile, the children were excited as children are supposed to be on Christmas Eve.
I remember sending fuming emails to Him Indoors asking when he would be home to contribute to family life.
I mean, how much actual work ever gets done in offices on Christmas Eve?
Anyway, at one point, I actually contemplated spending Christmas upstairs with the children. You see, we are in a complex scenario where this is my Dad’s house so I could hardly ask my brother to leave.
My friend L was in touch with me and I swear contributed hugely to me maintaining my sanity that day. Thank you L.
In the end The Snowman film on television saved the day for me. I sat down with the children, cuddled up and let the festive spirit wash over me.
Christmas came and working as a team, myself and Him Indoors produced a fantastic Christmas meal. My brother contributed nothing despite being far better off than we are.
I resolved then and there never to spend another Christmas with my brother. I hoped he would not come this year but he plans to. I have spoken to my Dad about how I feel but I can see he thinks I am over-reacting. I have said I would prefer to go away if my brother is coming but still I have no clarity on whether he will turn up or not.
Do I want to drag my husband and children to a cottage for a couple of days? Not particularly. I want Christmas at home but without my brother.
If I ask my brother not to come, he will spin it and my Dad will fall out with me. I don’t want that to happen as we have such a happy scenario here with us all living together with my Dad.
I have located two holiday cottages that can take us if needs be. However, with only three weeks to go, I would like to know what is happening. There is also the financial element of course as to why we should have to pay out inflated Christmas holiday prices just because my brother is a blankety-blank. Plus I do want my children to spend Christmas with their Grandad so that is another pressure in the situation.
I imagine I will get comments saying that I should stick it for just one day but my mental health will just not stand it and I am not having my children’s Christmas ruined.
Maybe I should just book a cottage now?
All I want for Christmas is to spend it with my family and, for me, that means to people who I love and respect and who return the favour.