Ever since I’ve moved over to the UK Christmas has not been my favourite time of the year. To be honest, I never really liked it, but it was mostly a bemused attitude towards Christmas-time. Now I just dread it.
What do I miss? Am I missing something? I am missing my family – which right now is just my mother and brother. I miss Kucios. I am used to getting together with family, and family friends, sharing in the 12 meatless dishes, breaking bread, sharing blessings on each other, and reminiscing about loved ones who have passed away. My Christmas was always a quiet and reflective and peaceful time. My parents never showered us with gifts. We did not write letters to Santa either, as there is no Santa Claus in my parents’ traditions – there’s Grandfather Christmas, he wasn’t the kindly fat old man that most kids seem to believe in. I think I was 6yrs old when I had my biggest haul – a batmobile, a barbie and a toy ambulance.
Now I live in the UK and have a new family – my husband’s. It’s a completely different cultural experience for me. As a reminder, my parents are Lithuanian so I grew up with Lithuanian customs and traditions. My husband is English, so I am trying to get used to English/British traditions, but it’s hard. The meal is difficult for me – the focus seems to be eating as much as you can, and then ripping through tonnes of wrapping paper to find something that was originally on your Wish List (that was distributed to the family) anyways, so you have a fair idea of what you’re getting. Part of the joy with my family was that I never knew what I was getting, it was always a surprise .. and was an indication that they thought long & hard as to what they should get you (or at least that is the general idea .. sometimes it was just socks).
For me the evening of December 24th was the magical time. December 25th is a nothing day to me – it’s a day to get together with friends at the local chinese restaurant, have a meal and maybe go see a movie.
So I’ll try and enjoy Christmas, but I am desperately missing my mother and enjoying my own cultural traditions. I believe my ennui in many ways is due to the fact that I don’t really get to celebrate my cultural traditions – I feel stifled in many ways in that regard.