Why I Don’t Like Christmas

 reblogged from ’09 – because you’ve never seen it

Click “Like” if you want, but I prefer you don’t leave a comment.



There’s only one day of the whole year that I truly hate, and it’s not one that I should hate.  It’s Christmas.  For about a dozen years I’ve spent Christmas Eve doing pretty much the same thing.  I wrap gifts for my kids and put them under the tree, stare at them a little while, and then go to bed hoping not to wake up until the 26th.  No matter how many gifts I might be able to give them, it never feels like enough, but that’s not the hard part.  The really hard, hateful part is that I then go to bed knowing that I won’t see them at all on Christmas Day.

Regardless, when I go to bed on Christmas Eve, I try as hard as I can to not cry, but I always lose.  And it’s not just crying.  It’s choking, sobbing, heaving, shoulder-shaking cries.  There have been some Christmas Eve’s that I’ve had someone next to me in bed.  They tried to console me and ask what was wrong, but it wasn’t easy to explain.

Christmas Day isn’t much better.  I spend it trying to focus on who is there instead of who isn’t.  I don’t like to open gifts because the gifts to my kids will just sit there until the 26th.  I don’t like a big deal to be made about Christmas.  I know that’s selfish, but we’re all allowed to be selfish sometimes.  I know that my attitude on Christmas doesn’t allow those around me to enjoy the day as fully as they might, but that’s because I don’t enjoy the day as fully as I might either.

I’m going to guess that IF my kids had been reading, they’ve gotten bored or annoyed and have moved on, so I can tell the rest now.  I don’t see my kids on Christmas because of two people:  their mother and the rotten divorce attorney that I had.  In the divorce agreement that was written more than ten years ago, my ex wanted the kids all day on Christmas while I wanted to either share the day or alternate each year.  My attorney wasn’t really a divorce attorney but was doing it to pay the bills until she became a prosecutor, which she did shortly after mishandling my case.  She convinced me to let the ex have Christmas because a few years down the road ex-wives are usually more friendly and willing to split or alternate Christmas Day.

Turns out the attorney was wrong, and the ex has become more stubborn about the holiday.  One of my kids recently asked her mother about spending half of the day with me.  The ex went on a hell of a tirade and used the word “I” roughly 25 times in explaining how hurtful it was for my kid to suggest that she would like to spend any part of Christmas Day with me.  Now the ex has a child with the new husband and is using that child to convince my kids even more strongly how wrong it would be if they were to spend Christmas with me because it would mean that their little sister would miss them soooo much.

I could explain more, but the point has been made.

I don’t like Christmas.

49 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Christmas

  1. Hi there Rich. This post was a very moving one for me… I suppose all the more so, because I have been following your personal story, and gotten to know you somewhat, and can identify with your pain. I don’t know how old your children are, but from other things you’ve written, I get the impression that your daughter is a young lady already… and you mention a dozen years, so they aren’t really little children. I would like to make a suggestion. I believe that you should stop the practice of a belated Christmas with presents under the tree. You might give them a very modest symbolic gift, the day after Christmas, but in your place, I would either choose another holiday, or invent a holiday in which you will give them gifts, spend special time with them, and celebrate with them. It could be your mother’s birthday, or the day of a saint that you identify with… or a special day in the history of your country. And you could build a tradition around that day. Not all at once. Of course. Bit by bit. But the day after Christmas is a sort of anti-climax, and I think they’re old enough for you to tell them the truth… and turn that day into something else, that is in no way a replica of Christmas… something that is primarily connected between you and your kids. I wish you a good holiday this year. You have my best wishes in any case.

    • i greatly appreciate your thoughts, which are always based on thought, family, and progress.

      my other daughter is 18 and in her first year of college in boston. my younger one is 14 and in her first year of high school. they’re well old enough to know what has been happening and the realities and myths of christmas. i agree that something other than the 26th will work. and i think that we will aim for the 24th instead. they’re with me on the 24th, christmas eve, when we spend the day with my brothers and sisters and father. and my kids spend the day with their cousins. perhaps what should happen from now on is that the “christmas” for my kids will begin a little earlier than the 25th.

      thanks very much for what seems like a worthy solution. and thanks for feeling as if you have “gotten to know me…” that means only two things. 1. you’re a very careful and caring reader and 2. my writing is improving.

      thanks again, and happy Hanukka

  2. It’s a pity that good people have to suffer the most in this imperfect world.
    I don’t know you besides through your writings, but I can tell that you are an intelligent, honest and insightful man. It’s unfortunate that life chose to be so unfair to you.
    Nothing said here can mitigate your pain, but I hope someday, some way, things change for better.
    You are dealing with things very well. Hope your level-headedness pays off.
    Till then, Chin Up and God Bless.

    • thanks very much. things are changing, slowly. my kids see their mother for who she is, and she knows that once they can make their own choices, there will be a big change in the balance of where they spend their time.

      thanks again.

  3. We always did the family dinner and presents on Christmas Eve. Christmas day itself was always kind of anti-climatic. My mom would save the stockings so we would have something to look forward to. And as we got older it meant we were free to go to a friend or significant other’s on Christmas if we wanted. I have spent a lot of time at the movies on Christmas, long before that was a thing to do. I used to have to hunt for a dive theater that was open, so I have also spent time at pool halls, why are they always open on Christmas? Oh and one at a Denny’s, they had a bar and were open for breakfast.
    I suggest you make a big deal out of Christmas Eve and blow whatever the ex does on Christmas out of the water.

  4. Here in France the 24th is Christmas, and they open the gifts after the traditional Christmas dinner, often close to midnight. The 25th is more of a rest day and eating the leftovers.
    Make the 24th something they really want to be a part of, let them stay up late and create a new tradition.
    And you must read Paul Durcan’s Christmas Day, he shares his less than perfect day in a way that makes us laugh with compassion.

  5. Dear Rich,
    You’ll probably know, if you read any of my posts, that I’m going through a divorce just now and it’s not going so well. All I can say is that I wish my ex were as interested in his children as you. You’re right, they’ll soon be able to make their own decisions and things will be very different and your ex will reap the reward of her selfishness. Many people would have given up and it’s to your credit that you’ve endured this for so long and are still there, still enduring it. Your daughters probably really look forward to those gifts under your tree on Boxing Day and, although it doesn’t seem the same to you, it’s a routine that will have been worthwhile and comforting for them.

    Have a great Boxing Day with your girls and I hope Christmas isn’t too bad,

  6. I understand your pain exactly, to not share Christmas day with my son would be agony. I think that you should make Christmas Eve your Christmas Day. Wishing you all the best for Christmas – you deserve it.

  7. I like the suggestion to make Christmas Eve your day with the children. But if that’s not possible, what about New Year’s as a day of celebration and thanks for each other? After all, most biblical scholars say Christ was more likely born in the spring. So the day is arbitrary anyway. Making your own “Christmas” on another day with the children might help.

    After all, shouldn’t the true spirit of renewal and rebirth behind the holiday be part of our lives every day of the year?

  8. I know, you prefer no comments but I feel compelled to say to you I am sorry. I know you are hurting and I am doubly sorry for this. Your ex is hurting you out of spite, in the long run though she is hurting your children and this is terrible and sad. Her spite takes the joy from a holiday that should represent giving and family in a far more significant manner, never mind gifts.

    Just know, with your children at the age they are they will know what your ex is doing and they will make choices in the future. As they say, you reap what you sow.

    Don’t weep, have peace. Reach out to your children and at least speak to them. Tell them you love them. Pick a day that is yours alone and let that be your future.

  9. Hey Rich – even if you split the day – it’s a dread of logistics and pulling them from gifts and people to other gifts and people – we’ve set up alternate days (since we don’t really believe in the birthday thing) – seems it’s hard any way it’s sliced or diced – try to revel in the times we/you have 🙂 Holidays are messy business. Hope the WEEK is good. And believe me – we feel your pain.Traditionally it HAS seemed that us dads get some pretty short ends.

    • Yeah we do get ripped. Courts automatically fall in favor of females in these cases unless she’s nuts, as my ex is, but it wasn’t provable back then. Easily is now but too late.

  10. I only clicked Like to let you know I was here. I wish you three things: comfort in whatever way it comes, the patience with time regarding your kids, and hopes of you finding AK, BB, CC, RM, CR, and the rest of team by your tree.

  11. I was a child who did not have the opportunity to know my father until after I turned eighteen. There was always a hole at Christmas and no amount of gifts filled it up. Only his time would have done that. I made the decision to seek him out when I became an adult and am so glad for the opportunity to have eventually had a relationship with him. I admire your love for your children and am touched by the ache in your heart at not having them on Christmas day. I lost my father this year and miss him terribly. Continue to love your children, they understand more than you think and love you more than you know.

  12. Rich, there has to be a way to renegotiate with a new lawyer. My friend just married a guy who had the same deal and they were able to make a huge adjustment because the lawyer found something about the mom to blackmail her with (which isn’t nice but what she’s doing to you isn’t very nice either) and got the lady to renegotiate two items. I really think you ought to try. If it takes you a year of losing money just to have a good Christmas…I say do it.

    • i tried something like that. i thought that because my 14-year old wanted to live with me and because my original agreement wasn’t balanced because – back then – i had to work a part-time job, which forced me to give up a lot of time, i thought the judge would say, “oh, okay, things are different now.” instead, he just said, “i don’t see a significant reason to change anything.” it’s very arbitrary. another judge might have said, “sure, let’s split the time right down the middle.” but not this judge. it’s a flip of the coin with judges. there are no set rules. they can decide how they want. that’s the sad part.

  13. Sorry that Christmas is a sad time. But when your kids come to spend time with you do Christmas that day. Cook a big dinner and create your own traditions. Or instead of decorating your tree wait until your kids come and do it together. Or better have Christmas the last date you see them. This way your kids have two Chistmases. Christmas doesn’t have to be on 12/25.

  14. I’m angry on behalf of you and your kids that your ex is being so unreasonable. I can completely understand why you don’t like Christmas Day. I like the suggestion to turn Christmas Eve into your festive celebration.

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