Scroo-ge You! A Sensitive Cynic’s Christmas Survival Guide

THERE’S SOMETHING I THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW. You haven’t noticed what’s going on around you, but I have. Big Santa is watching. The Christmas Police are out there, waiting for unsuspecting Christmas nay-sayers like me to reveal themselves so that our wayward thoughts can be extracted from our rebellious minds.

The Christmas Police Mind Conditioning Programme is so subtle that you don’t realise it’s happening until it’s too late. And so every year I find my “bad” Christmas attitude has undergone secret subliminal surgery and been removed by mid-December at the latest. I suspect some sort of report has been compiled about me over the last few years, detailing my Christmas crimes, and I’d imagine it looks something like this:

Banner Final

After my “upgrade” is complete, I naturally end up posting pictures of my angelic children as they hang their home-made Christmas cookies upon the tree, all cosy beside a roaring fire. Such a picture of family perfection.

Unfortunately, this year I fear that the process has already gone too far, and it’s only the end of November. Look at my website for a start, I just couldn’t resist the urge to Christmas-ize it. Yeah, the Christmas Police definitely started early on me this time around, and as usual, they turned out to be people I trusted. In September, without warning, the other members of the band I play in declared, with the intense excitement that should only be legal on the 25th December, that we would be writing and recording a Christmas single.

I protested loudly, but alas, resistance was futile. They arrived at my house for our next rehearsal sporting ridiculous Christmas jumpers (in September!!!) and singing Jingle Bells on my doorstep. I felt their subliminal messages of Christmas conformity hitting me at full pelt from under their smiling masks.

I slammed the door in their sickly sweet faces.

And then I breathed deeply, opened it again, smiled and let them into my house. (Big mistake). Within a month I found myself shopping in the Christmas aisle, (in October!!) ooh-ing and aah-ing at the cute Christmas scenes, spending my cash on all manner of Christmas tack for the recording studio photo shoot and, you guessed it, a Christmas jumper….

But it’s not too late for me this year. I know what’s going on, I’ve gotten wise to it. So I’ve made up my mind before Big Santa can work his magic on it.

I imagine him laughing his deep belly laugh as he steals into my life carrying my “Christmas spirit”, all enticingly gift-wrapped, thinking I don’t know what he’s up to. As I start to open it, joyful shouts of relief from the smiling Christmas Police will echo around me – “Yay, you got into your Christmas spirit! I’m so happy for you!” and I will come to my senses and stand my ground and declare “enough is enough! I will not be a moth to the flame this year, I will NOT!”

Resistance is futile? Ha! Well, Scroo-ge you Christmas Police, I’m not giving up without a fight.

I have a strategy. It’s taken some time, but I’ve been secretly working on my own recovery programme to help me in the days leading up to that day.

Before I tell you what it is, there’s something I need to clarify here. I DON’T REALLY HATE CHRISTMAS. I think I may just be suffering from a little Christmas burnout, because let’s face it, once a year is just a bit too often for a highly sensitive, easily-overwhelmed person like me. I love spending time with loved ones, celebrating the birth of Jesus, and giving to others. Winter is actually my favourite season. But it’s all the trimmings I’m struggling with – the stress, the pressure, the rushing around. I find the constant interactions with others, the rich food, the bright lights and noise, the crowds, the crammed diary and the long list of boxes to tick really take a toll on me mentally, emotionally and physically.

I’m one of those people who needs time to process stuff, space to think, room to breathe. If I don’t manage to create space for myself I just can’t be centred and present with my loved ones. I fail to drink in those precious moments and that frustrates me.

I need to combat Chronic Christmas Fatigue before it sucks the Happy out of my Christmas entirely.

So I’ve developed my very own 24-steps elf help programme. Gah, sorry, it’s that Christmas spirit trying to gain a hold of me again, I sometimes find myself subconsciously sneaking Christmassy puns into my writing. RESIST!!! Right, let’s try again…

I’ve written a 24-step self help programme to help me not only survive the month of December, but to thrive in it, heck, to even enjoy it. Not in the way Big Santa and his secret Christmas police want me to, but in a way I want to, with my own mind… a mind that, underneath, is actually remarkably cheerful, unbeknown to them.

I don’t want to have to spend the first 3 months of next year recovering from this Christmas, and 4 months dreading the next one. I want to breeze through December with a genuine peace and joy. In fact I’m gonna go one step further and hope that Christmas becomes a season I can stop dreading and actually look forward to.

If you want to join me, come along for the ride and receive a daily dose of Christmas coping strategies between December 1st and Christmas Eve. It’ll be a mixture of cynical humour, practical ideas and spiritual insights. Like an advent calendar without the chocolate. (Come on, you’ll be fed up of chocolate by boxing day anyway).

Imagine it to be like the door you open each day on an advent calendar, and inside you receive something to sustain you, rather than a taste of the sickly sweet. Just scroll up to the right and sign up on email. (if you currently subscribe to my blog then you’re already in). I’ll be sending them out on Facebook and Twitter too.

I’d be “happy” to have you join me, in fact I’d especially love the company of fellow sensitive, cynical Scrooge types to get me through. We’re in this together. But equally, if you’re one of those annoying people who breezes through Christmas, you’re more than welcome to take part – it may actually help you to empathise with the sensitive people in your life. The more of you the merrier!

Just don’t tell the Christmas Police, or they’ll be onto us all….


© Naomi Excell 2014


4 responses

  1. I love reading your blogs Naomi. You are as amazing as the first day you came into our class at The Abraham Darby. You seemed so quiet and shy, but underneath you had the biggest personality and biggest heart. I am so proud to call you my friend xx

    • Thank you Jayne, what a lovely thing to say. Yes, being seen as shy and quiet as a child is apparently quite common in us “sensitive” types, but thankfully I grew out of that eventually! Glad to be back in touch with you after all these years, and thanks for subscribing! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The return of the sensitive cynic | In a manna of speaking...

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