There’s no wreath on the door. The Christmas tree we dust and place in the living room every year is still in its resting place under the stairs gathering dust. Although I love to be up to date musically, my playlist hasn’t changed. I’ve found the courage to tell myself the truth.
I don’t believe in Christmas.
In the days before the ‘fall’, Christmas used to be fun. We would spend days planning the menu and deciding what to wear. My brothers and I would debate what beach would be best for us to spend the day with my suggestion always coming out as the winning one.
At the beach, We would run out of the huts where our parents talked with our buckets and tiny shovels. We would build sandcastles and moats and play pretend. We would have too much to eat and go home exhausted with sandfly bites all over our bodies. Christmas WAS fun.
On our way to school, we sang ‘Jingle Bells’ in the car with the volume at the highest. We cried when we didn’t get parts in the school play and we laughed like hyenas when the presents where just what we had asked Santa for.
We were young and stupid and grateful
and we loved Christmas.
We didn’t understand that mum had to pay through her nose to get us new bikes and toys and clothes during Yuletide like Dad used to. The Christmas Eve before he left, We didn’t know that the papers that made Dad and Mum argue when they thought we had gone to bed weren’t bills but divorce papers.
We didn’t understand why Dad stopped going to the beach with us. We didn’t understand why he had to move to another state to live with another person with another kid.
We didn’t understand why mum’s explanation for Dad’s absence was cold hard silence.
We were young and stupid and we didn’t stay that way.
We grew up to see that other families weren’t that way. We grew up to see Dad’s with Mum’s who lived together with teenage sons. We grew to realize that we were an anomaly in the school system. We were a demography bound to produce more like us. We grew up ashamed of our home that didn’t have cute family pictures with Dad in it. We were young so we adapted.
We learnt to live and we learnt to lie. We learnt to live a lie.
Dad wasn’t around because he had to go on business trips abroad was my favorite line. We accepted that we were the reason our parents couldn’t stay together and since there wasn’t anything we could do, we would not waste time grieving.
We grew tired of singing ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Joy to the world’. All the talk of reindeers and snows and mangers and angels finally got to us. We had been raised Muslim so we weren’t under any obligation to endure Christmas and all the pain it brought.
Along the line, we fell in love with the Man on the Tree and surrendered to him. Somehow still, it was too late. We had become too old for the magic of Christmas to enthral us.
It was when I opened the door to let my brothers into the house that I noticed there’s no wreath on the door. The Christmas tree we used to dust and place in the living room every year is still in its resting place under the stairs gathering dust because nobody remembers it. I make a joke about how having black Santas isn’t cool. My brothers laugh to honour me. In their tired smiles and weary eyes, I see the truth we’ve known since the divorce but haven’t told each other.
We don’t believe in Christmas. In fact, we hate it.
And remember to send my Christmas gifts!