Moodscope's blog



Christmas. Sunday January 22, 2017

I don't know how others spent Christmas, was it good for you? Or did you feel the pressure of family commitments, maybe you don't have any family, or maybe you just chose to do something completely different to escape the whole thing.

January being mainly depressing anyway, I can't help reflecting on Christmas. It went wrong for us. My family are split, in more ways than one. It's complicated and there is not much love flying around. In former years, I would spend it with my exes family to avoid my own. In later years, my husband and I would go abroad to escape or just stay at home.

We don't have children, which obviously makes a big difference. My husband has no family so this Christmas just gone we decided to see my family, it was long overdue, I told myself, lets feel the love etc.

It was a mistake. All the years of wanting to have a perfect family setting, and the reason for all the years I avoided it were confirmed.

So I would be pleased to hear other Christmas stories! Along with anyone trying to desperately get something from the people that they will never probably get anything from. Family or friends.

Do we ever give up? Do we know how to give up?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Sue Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 5:56am

Thanks for your blog. I have a mixed up muddled up maddening extended family yet I choose to love them despite everything we have gone through over the years My 2 sisters despise each other, they also don't get on with some of their own children's partners which affects relationships with grandkids. Even at their own daughter's weddings..If one is there the other one refuses to go! They have never seen each other over Christmas since becoming adults. I used to feel so torn because my partner and my Mum didn't get along..Mum passed away last January so last Christmas was calmer for all the wrong reasons...I missed Mum so much. Thing is, we can choose our friend but we can't choose our families and sadly too many are never reconsiled with family member till it's too late. There is a great song ' In the living years' which sums up a son's regret he never told his Dad he loved him while he was alive....'It's too late when we die to admit we don't see eye to eye. When you can find it in your heart to forgive and move on, the feeling of freedom, joy, peace and love are surely what the true meaning of Christmas is all about?

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 2:53pm

Hi Sue, sounds like you might become piggy in the middle with your sisters. I am sorry to hear about your mum. I guess that would have made it difficult with having your partner's support as well, after her passing, if they didn't get along. I agree life is too short but it is sometimes difficult to make amends and sometimes goes much deeper than some silly argument or whatever. Freedom, joy, peace and love, I like it. Thank you for your response.

Pennie-Lynn Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 7:05am

I am Canadian, and perhaps it is because our country is so young, or so big, or was populated by immigrants from all over the world, but I find that our families are less biological and more chosen. My Christmas was spent with five family members and as many friends in a very low-key, relaxing affair.

As for continuing to seek something that your family isn't able to give, you are hurting yourself needlessly. If your child were born deaf, you might feel shocked, angry, worried. You might wish that things were different. Ultimately, you would accept your child as they are and move forward. Wanting our families to be something they aren't isn't any different. For whatever reason, your family isn't capable of meeting your needs. Accept that, grieve for it, and move forward, whether that means being content with what they can give or looking to your chosen family for acceptance and love.

I think we've all probably been in relationships where we need something the other person isn't capable of giving. The temptation to just keep trying in case that person someday magically changes doesn't do either person justice.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:00pm

Hi Pennie-Lynn, thank you for your response, wise words indeed. It is about acceptance and I must remind myself of that. We are all different etc...and you cannot change people. It is hard to understand some people's behaviour but I will work on what you have said.

Susan Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 7:33am

Thanks for your blog and lets try and make this a happy new year. I too have difficult family dynamics. This Christmas my partner and I went abroad (again) for Christmas and the family again tried to send us on a guilt trip. You can't change your family but what you can do is change your thinking and the way you deal with it. By all means acknowledge them and celebrations with cards and gifts a text e mail of phone call if you want to. It took a lot of strength for you to attend a family function I did it for decades sitting around a table playing 'happy families' and all it did was make me ill and depressed. In the words of Winston Churchill 'never give up, never give up. never ever give up' that was his whole speech to his school that expelled him and then returned to as Prime Minister. Don't give up on your family try and educate them to be better and understanding towards you. However, if you are lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone that loves you or have a pet that loves you that is wonderful. Look forward not back - there are no regrets in looking forward - Easter is much better for me than Christmas more chocolate and usually nicer weather.

I wish you a Happy Sunday and a Happy new year!

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:07pm

Hi Susan, that has been one of my worries, when going abroad at Christmas, feeling guilty etc, but then I try and tell myself that we are entitled to do what we choose and cannot always please people with our decisions. I do try and educate my family but mainly it falls on deaf ears. Some do support me, but I tend to focus on the ones that don't! I'm also bad at dwelling on the past! I'm not a chocolate lover but appreciate your theory! I hope you get lots of lovely easter eggs :-) Thank you for responding. Molly

Jane Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 8:01am

Molly this us strange as I woke up thinking about these things then saw your blog! I've been holding a lot of anger towards my family since my brother died a few days before Christmas. I feel uncomfortable being thrown back into other sibling relationships, especially my other brother, whilst the arranging the funeral which is on Jan 31st. I still hope to have love and contact reciprocated from people, including my other brother, and have held in there with some people for years. I feel I end up giving a lot but not really receiving. But I find it very difficult not to give up. Thanks for the blog Molly. And for the comments Sue, Pennie-Lynne and Susan. All were very helpful. X

Susan Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 8:08am

Thinking of you and your family at this very sad time Jane. Anger is a natural emotion towards grief. I became much closer to my brother after my Mum died. I was so angry when she died and angry with my brothers but now 5 years have gone and bridges have been built. I wish you well. Take care - Susan x

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 10:22am

So sorry for your loss. Thinking of you at this sad and difficult time. People react differently to grief and there is no right or wrong way. Be gentle with yourself and everyone else. And, if relationships get fractured now, give it time- and never stop reaching out.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:16pm

Hi Jane. I am glad that you were thinking along the same lines as me when you woke this morning. But so sorry to hear about your brother. A few days before Christmas makes it tougher somehow and the unavoidable task of having to come together with relatives that you might not usually see or get on with, I can relate to this. I agree that it sometimes does feel it is all one sided. I could write a whole new blog about that, and I may well do! Thank you for your response. I do hope the funeral goes ok and that this happening may bring you all closer together. Molly x

Jane Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 8:59am

Thank you so much Susan x

Jane Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 8:59am

Thank you Mary, this is really helpful x

Jane Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 9:01am

Thank you Molly. I look forward to that next blog! Xxxx

Molly Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 11:09pm

:-) thank you Jane xx

Sally Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:12am

A period of the year which magnifies everything, so if there are fractures and fissures, these will often gape! It is hard to achieve the happy family Christmas ...we know now it's going to be a question of getting through it, hoping the goodwill will be sufficient! It never is that easy, and personalities jockey for position and there is hurt and disappointment. But yes, never give up ( Thank you, Susan) and also do what works best for you. We had a quiet Christmas , saw everyone , but for short periods. It was good.
Thank you for raising this important retrospective question, Molly. Because Christmas will be here again this year, and the same shenanigans will have to be sorted out! To the best of our ability.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:24pm

Hi Sally, thank you for responding. Christmas certainly does magnify everything. Also I find that some family members we never see through the year so why the pressure to see them at Christmas! And the pressure of making it such a lovely occasion! I agree, we get through it to the best of our ability and if we fail, so be it. I am bad at blaming myself for things that are not my fault. As for next Christmas, I think we will just stay at home (or go away) and hope that guilt does not set in! Molly

Jul Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:28am

Hello Molly. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experience about Christmas. I was actually looking forward to Christmas and told myself I must be getting old, loving all the fairy lights and sparkly things and getting excited like a child almost. But it didn't live up to expectations. Not a lot went right. Christmas can be a hit or miss event if we are not religious and see it more as a consumer, present giving, eating day etc with family. The Pope said the world had been hijacked by consumerism and I agree with him. It's madness and not a normal event, the way it's evolved. No wonder it causes rifts and depression. I intend to do things differently next year or rather this Christmas. But I always say that! Julxx

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 10:50am

Absolutely Jul. I too love the decorations and sparkly lights. I love giving presents (Father Christmas and I have so much fun together) and I do love to cook. It's the stress of trying to have everything perfect and trying to do too much that has been a problem in previous years. This year I let other people do things and because we went away, the whole church thing dropped out of the equation. We didn't forget what the day was about, but we didn't have the Nativity service, midnight communion and then the stress/guilt about Christmas Day service!

Jul Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 12:51pm

Mary. I am so glad you had such a lovely Christmas. You made a great decision to go to the seaside. Well done! Julxxx

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:28pm

Hi Jul. It must be great to appreciate the lights and sparkly things and excitement. I don't get any of those feelings at all these days. Although I am sorry that things did not go right. That is the thing isn't it, it's always supposed to be such a happy event that the pressure is too much. As you say Mary Wednesday, the pressure and stress, can take away the enjoyment. Thanks both for commenting xx

Marta Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:54am

My Christmas was horrible and I was dreading the festive period for a very long time. I spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day in my bed on my own without anyone. And I was glad when it was all over and done with. I don't keep in touch with my parents much and I saw my lovely younger sisters on Christmas Eve to give them their presents and that was all really. Ive been reflecting on Christmas too since it happened and I don't see the point in having a day like that again, and that's when I ask myself if I deserve to still be here and if I should still be here if I need to expereince days like these.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 10:36am

Maria, you dont have to endure days like that again. You are not alone in being alone and finding Christmas hard. You may have friends in the same position. You could maybe agree to meet with those friends next year and have a non-Christmas Christmas. No presents. No turkey. No Christmas TV. Instead you could agree to go for a long walk or just watch dvd's in relaxed clothing and eat pizza. Just as Jesus said that the Sabbath was invented for man and not man for the Sabbath, so it is with Christmas.I wish you well and keep hanging on my dear. Keep hanging on.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:36pm

Hi Marta, I was very sorry to read your post that you spent it all alone. I'm not sure if this was your choice or not, but I tell myself every year that it is just one day, or maybe two, if you include Boxing Day. It is upsetting when you think that everyone else is having such a good time, but more than often they are not as my post and some others, have proved. I often feel I don't deserve to be here, I am always far too hard on myself, as you may be feeling at the moment. But you do deserve to be here. For instance you have shared with us how you are feeling and that goes to show that you are a kind and caring person. Keep fighting and keep posting. I do hope things improve for you. Molly xx

Marta Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:54am

My Christmas was horrible and I was dreading the festive period for a very long time. I spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day in my bed on my own without anyone. And I was glad when it was all over and done with. I don't keep in touch with my parents much and I saw my lovely younger sisters on Christmas Eve to give them their presents and that was all really. Ive been reflecting on Christmas too since it happened and I don't see the point in having a day like that again, and that's when I ask myself if I deserve to still be here and if I should still be here if I need to expereince days like these.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 10:45am

Actually, our Christmas rather nice. We went to the seaside. Father Christmas came for all the children (including big grown up Tom) and we just relaxed. I cooked beef in the slow cooker overnight and my husband and Tom peeled all the veg and we had (horror - please whisper it) a shop bought and microwaved Christmas pudding. Everyone made a real effort to get along (and, believe me, it is an effort for Tom and my husband sometimes) and we managed. They all knew how much it meant to me and they all love me and wanted me to have a nice Christmas, bless them! The trick for us was to take as much stress out of it as possible and all support each other. That does take an element of maturity not all families have. But this is a time to spend with people you love. If you cannot love your family don't be guilted into doing Christmas with them. Do it with friends you love instead.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:43pm

Hi Mary Wednesday, thank you for this post and for your other replies. It is good to hear you had a good Christmas although I am horrified that you didn't make your own Christmas pudding (joke there). Yes maturity is a good factor isn't it. Some just don't seem capable and my tolerance levels, I will have to work on !

Anonymous Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 11:12am

I'm with you Molly. And it goes on and on, doesn't it? Even yesterday someone asked me if I had a good christmas? This year, I've successfully lied to all but one person, or even better, quickly flipped the question back to them. As they talk, my mind compares their relaxed, happy description, with my mounting anxiety I'll get found out. Thanks Molly for reminding me that many others have this annual challenge.

This year we really messed up, my partner and I avoiding both families to spend it together, only to have the worst argument. Throughout December I was enormously stressed as I tried to get on with real life instead of Christmas nonsense, and the other half decided it was a good time to press my buttons. As a result, I tried to eat a crap Christmas dinner in a pub with actual tears rolling down my face.

And then the irony happened. We hadn't escaped at all. Both families sent invites that felt like we'd been summoned. Last weekend, I was meant to go through the motions all over again.

Bring on blue Monday, bring January, give me the wettest February ever. Just please, can we not do Christmas again for quite a long time. Can we skip a year? It's the relentlessness of it that gets to me.

We don't get much time off work - I'd quite like to spend December holidays working out what to do with my relationships, rather than ensuring they are in tatters. Can we have an alternative holiday?

Jul Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 12:55pm

I know this is heartfelt and not really funny but Anonymous what a great writer you are and I did laugh. I read it twice actually just so I could enjoy the content. I loved the paragraph.."bring on the Blue Monday etc. If only Christmas could be banned but I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is for children isn't it? And the supermarkets and retailers. It's a big con really when you think about it. Jul xx

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 3:53pm

Hi Anonymous. Seems strange calling you that but I guess we are all Anonymous :-) Thanks Jul for lightening things up! How typical though Anonymous that you avoided family and then fell out with your partner. It is the sort of thing that would happen to me. I too, tried to pretend Christmas was not existing and avoided questions afterwards, did you have a good Christmas etc. I failed to mention in my post that we spent all of Christmas night in A&E because my husband collapsed. And I mean ALL night as they were short of doctors. So when people asked me if I had a good Christmas, I just wanted to laugh out loud like a mad woman. Yes relationships are difficult and I'm with you, let's have a 'sort out relationships' day, it would be far more beneficial. Thank you for posting and adding some humour :-) x

The Gardener Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 11:48am

Oh, Christmas - that joyous occasion turned to ashes for so many people. Mine was awful - accepted we could not go anywhere - got to church - lunched with 4 nuns and another bit of detritus like us. They made a lovely little ceremony of it, with delicious food. But nuns don't play board games or charades, so we were back on our own at 3 p.m. For the first (and probably last time, due to distance and circumstances) our whole family except us was in the UK. They all had access to cheap internet phones - and they were not all cooking the turkey. 11 children, grand-children and a great-grand-child could have contacted - even a text, mini e-mail - to recognise that I was still alive. Not a squeak - I did not refuse to contact them through pique - they all tell me how expensive their mobiles are - and they're always changing numbers. I felt bereft, only word, and resorted to office work, only answer. But Molly's blog has started a train of thought which may be a bit too intimate, and get Caroline's blue pencil (if that's how you censure blogs). I have often referred to my father - good looking, highly capable, stuck in a horrendous marriage and with wild mood-swings - I had presumed he was bi-polar. But, Christmas. He cleaned the whole house, windows included (it was a 30's bungalow, ribbon development for people getting out of London). The 'front room' was opened, a lovely fire lit - the Japanese china which I love and have here brought out. And my presents! I realise now, as it was end war/austerity that acquiring for me the glorious books meant he must have leant on his customers (he was an importer of exotic birds) one of whom was a bookseller - those books were not available on the open market. Now (this is where Caroline may need the blue pencil) the blog on Christmas has given me a complete re-think on my father's character. His home-life was appalling - he married my mother because she was 'motherly'. When I was in pre-teens I asked my Mum the usual question, where do babies come from? I've never forgotten her disgusted face, and her reply 'You have relations with your husband'. (I soon learned the facts of life on the farm, pigs, cows, cats horses - helping a heifer in a difficult birth with her first calf). Then, another time (I already knew from the district nurses that my mother had no trouble giving birth to me) I asked her about my birth. 'I was never going through THAT again'. Now, this was the 30's, no pill - rhythm method not known? Very little birth control, Marie Stopes? My mother would never have subjected herself to such a thing. Only one conclusion, she must have refused my father totally. So, he must have been utterly frustrated- he was only in his mid-forties, and when the bust-up came he never lacked for women - some nice, one a gold-digger, most married to other men. So, Molly's blog on Christmas has made me re-think my whole childhood.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 4:02pm

Hello The Gardener !! Well your post is amazing. A very interesting read. I am not sure how to answer it all but I am glad I have given you some food for thought. You did bring a smile to my face with your writing and the way you describe everything. :-) :-) Thank you x

The Gardener Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 12:34pm

Molly - 'do we ever give up?'. Who started the treadmill? We are hamsters, spinning in the wheel, getting off with high hopes at Christmas - thinking broken relationships can be mended BECAUSE it's Christmas - absolute cloud-cuckoo land. I know so many perfectly sensible, balanced people who start the Christmas tizzy in September (because the 'in' decoration for the tree will be for sale in October) and they are mesmerised into joining in. It must be about time for the ultimate punishment - the arrival of credit card monthly accounts for the 'festive' period.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 4:07pm

Hamsters !! Credit card bills !! Love it !! Cloud cuckoo land I must come out of !! ...and I hate tradition, doing what everyone else does. I do appreciate your comments. Has cheered me up :-) brilliant...

The Gardener Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 5:37pm

Throwing cold water, Molly. I wrote about 80 articles for our UK church mag, and about 50 for the French equivalent. During a particularly turbulent time, probably pre-christmas, I entitled one 'Stop the World, I want to get off' hence the hamsters. For anybody who really thinks they can get out of the whole schemozzel just read John Grisham's 'Skipping christmas', priceless.

The Gardener Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 5:40pm

Oh dear, another thought - what I said about my parents - a book by Louis Blomfield 'Night in Bombay' was based on the same theme - and brilliant on Bombay.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 8:56pm

Thank you, I will look up those books.

LP Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 6:36pm

I've managed to avoid the Christmas day gathering and the particularly loathesome in-law for the second year in a row by spending the morning at home with my almost grown up kids and then leaving them to enjoy the other bit while I head out of town!

The downside is that my dad was so upset the first year I didn't go, staying at home round the corner instead, that I've had to rush out of my house to dash over there to see them and escape before the hoards arrive. Hate rushing.

I wonder if this year I'll be able to get away with a phone call... it's ridiculous. Aren't our parents supposed to be more grown up than we are?
So comforting to know so many of us are on the same page!
Thanks for a great blog Molly. LP xx

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 8:59pm

Thanks for your response LP. Yes it is comforting to know we are not the only ones and yes I really wish my parents would grow up :-) xx

Freya Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 6:47pm

Christmas is always challenging for me. My father died many years ago, in between Christmas and New Year, and my mother died several years later, also in between Christmas and New Year. This makes the concept of celebrating challenging! And I am very much on my own. But I decided I would have a better time this year just gone. So I took my little dog on a river cruise on Christmas Eve, and then took all of the dogs to the beach on Christmas Day. To be fair, this was improved by having good weather. But next year, I think I might do a Christmas Day swim. Sometimes, we have to be selfish to be well. But I do find the conditioning of the type of Christmas we should have is not helpful! Great blog and discussion topic Molly!

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:07pm

Hi Freya, aw that sounds so good, taking the dogs out. I am a dog lover myself. Christmas swim !! Not sure where you live but it would be blooming freezing here. Love the idea though. Also that it's ok to be 'selfish'. Thanks for your enlightening response, it made me feel free and almost unlocked some emotions x

Maureen Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 8:33pm

Christmas was not great this year. I tried to keep my expectations low, but somehow it still left me feeling like I can't wait until this is over. I do have great memories of wonderful Christmas's past so I feel blessed for having them. I think I need to find what Christmas really means to me and try to experience it that way. Not be influenced by what the world says it has to be. I really appreciated your post it makes me feel like I am not the only one.

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:16pm

Hello Maureen. Thank you for responding. It is good to have the memories but we shouldn't feel pressure to live up to them. Absolutely, I agree, find a way that pleases you and not live up to expectations. I like that thought and will remember it. It kind of releases those pressures, doesn't it. I try and remind myself that we have to look after ourselves, although I am that good at it. Like you, it has been really helpful to me that I am not the only one. Molly x

Molly Sun, Jan 22nd 2017 @ 9:20pm

My first blog today, which I am so grateful for it to be published. I am so very humbled by the responses and have really enjoyed reading them. Thank you everyone and thank you Moodscope. I have been in a bad place but today I felt a lift in my mood. Love to everyone xx

Leah Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 12:35am

Molly what a great debut blog and I hope the first of many. I like the way you read everyone's comments closely and then replied with compassion and interest. I am glad you felt a lift and your words made me think. Thanks again. Leahxx

Jul Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 8:55am

Dear Molly. One would never have guessed you were in a bad place yesterday when reading your replies to us all. You managed to capture the essence of the individual comments so brilliantly and you seemed quite upbeat. I am intrigued by how you managed to come across so well even though you were not feeling great. Well done. And thank you. It would be good to read your writing again. Julxxx.

Molly Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 @ 11:22pm

Oh thank you so much Leah and Jul, I really appreciate your kind words. I guess listening to others takes my mind off things and I find it easier to help others than help myself! But I do like writing and I will write another post at some point. You have both given me the encouragement to do that :-) thank you xx

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.