Goodbye to All That

It’s over.

At the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, the 11th, 12th and 13th holes are known as “Amen Corner”, the most crucial and difficult part of the course.  If you’ve played through these three holes and you’re score is more or less the same as it was when you started the 11th, you’re regarded as having done well.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day are the Amen Corner of my festive season, and this year my situation is more or less the same as when I started the 24th, in that I am still (a) alive, (b) sane and (c) married, though in some of those categories only just.

I’ve written light-heartedly about how Scrooge-like I am in my attitude to Christmas, and have really neither the courage nor the penmanship to truly explore here the real awfulness of these few days if you’re a person who feels awkward in social situations, who is cowed by large family gatherings and outbursts of affection, and who then is filled with self-loathing because of his spiky and ungrateful reaction to invitations to such events.

I’m not going to go much further into this. I just had to say something, somewhere. All these relatives are well-meaning and wonderful people who think they are doing something nice by inviting us round to their house, and if I were normal then I would think so too.

I think my attitude may come from the fact that we were raised in London far from any family, so the three Amen Corner days were always spent in our own flat, with our own Mum and Dad, playing with our own toys in our own time. I want our own kids to remember Christmases as time spent in our house, not as an endless series of treks around the homes of the aunts and uncles.

That last paragraph, though, is intended as an explanation but not a justification. It should be possible to regard family gatherings as events rather than chores, especially as there are no arguments or hidden issues in either my family or Mrs Tin’s. I don’t know why I can’t do it, and never really could.

Sorry about this post, but I’ve written it after spending most of the night awake and I’m going to publish it before I can change my mind.

Oh, and I’m getting a cold.

3 thoughts on “Goodbye to All That

  1. Jo

    Oh, I think it’s definitely about what you were used to as a child. Definitely.

    Don’t be so hard on your self. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be home with family.

    Though here I am, home with nothing but family, and feeling vaguely loserish and lonerish that I have no invitations, no-one to greet and kiss and offer festive wishes to, and wondering about the effect on my kids being so isolated. I’m vaguely considering ringing up other people’s families and asking if I can come visit them.

    I think you should discuss this with Mrs Tin, and see if you can compromise next yer. Or have them all round to yours for a designated time? Boot them out then, and reclaim the house and family.

  2. Xbox4NappyRash

    I can relate. Ish.

    I can’t remember the last time I got to spend Christmas in my own home, either at the in-laws, who are great, but still in-laws, or shipped between one or another sister’s house.

    Until this year, we spent it, finally alone together, after 11 years.

    I don’t think I will ever get my head around how intensely stressful the pressure to be someone, somewhere at Christmas is.

    All the best.

  3. Holemaster

    I get that too Tinman. I’m not a huge fan of the big gatherings either. I like to have an EXIT door so to speak. I can totally relate to this. Now, I better get to bed and stop watching crap telly.


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