It wasn't Christmas

19 Dec 2019
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Perhaps a little shamefully, I often listen when I hear people talk. When I'm standing at bus stops, walking pavements, grabbing a quick cup of coffee in a café, I can't help but let my ears hear. It is these little fragments of life which often bring me hope, encouragement and reassurance. I hear that my struggles are everyone's struggles, my family is like yours and everybody else's.

Today I heard a magnificent thing. And again it inspired me to write and share.

"It wasn't Christmas. But it had the spirit of Christmas. The feeling."

And with those words, a little string of fairy lights switched on and lit my path to January. We can stop trying to have the picture-perfect time. Give it up. It is cheesy, it is expensive, and it doesn't bring 'The Feeling'. The Feeling comes from pulling the essence of what is important to you and bringing it to the fore, to take centre stage, for a short while.

We didn't have family matching pyjamas when I was wee. We didn't even have, or need, new pyjamas. I did have much excitement wearing my pyjamas. We didn't have a glossy candle-lit table with a holly and ivy twisted runner with all matching china. We had our own, and borrowed, unmatching crockery, Tupperware a-plenty, at least one person sitting on a deck chair, and often someone rolling their eyes and squashing away the anger that can come from this most 'joyful' time. It was still great. It is still where the good memories lie.

Christmas can be a test for the best. And it can be very challenging when we struggle with our mental health. Ask yourself what gives you The Feeling. And let that take priority.

For me, lighting up the sometimes-unruly house with fairy lights and things we see but once a year. And gathering with people I love, a few times, in short bursts.

Avoid mental frenzy and plan on the side of less. Firmly stick to your plan as you go forth. I'll walk it with you. Let's do our scores.

Love from

The nearly fairy lit room above the garage

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 12:59 a.m.

Hi RATG It’s interesting hearing others talk, and many having problems of their own. Some just like a moan though, I’m not one to make sure everyone hears what I have to say. Some get pleasure from that. The world doesn’t need to know. You have reminded me of when I started spending Christmas with my ex’s family, for a good few years, to avoid my own. I remember the first time being a bit surprised that the table wasn’t covered in decorations and crackers etc. Yet the food was amazing and so was the company. All relaxed and no squabbles. His parents let us smoke, offered snacks and drinks, let us what we wanted on TV. We ended the evening playing cards, which we all enjoyed. Back to now, I have some fairy lights that I have never used, I had an idea that maybe I would wrap them round the stair bannister. Thought I might ask my mum for help doing this as I’m not very artistic let alone energetic. However she was more bothered about my net curtains that need washing. Yes I know they do, I will get round to it. Not a priority for me right now. I feel I need to mention, that some don’t use the moodscope cards. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I used to do it but feel I have progressed since then, as chatting on here is much more beneficial to me. I’m unsure why you encourage on your every blog, that we need to do our scores. It’s a personal choice to which most can make the decision themselves. If they feel they want to. I feel a bit sorry for people who have to rely on statistics, but that’s just me. Molly xx

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Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:51 a.m.

Hi Molly, think Ratg is just encouraging those who will benefit by doing the scores and reminding them to do them. I don’t often do them any more but 'need' to every now and again. It actually reminds me sometimes that I’m doing ok!

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:53 a.m.

Whoa...that disappeared and appeared here without me saying the rest of what I was going to say! ;) I like the fact that your ex-in-laws and you had a good Christmas despite not having decorations etc. It is often the company we keep that help us enjoy ourselves. Bear hugs x

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:06 a.m.

Molly, 'doing the cards' is like an extra diary for me. When I look back, and the graph is more like the Himalayas than the Alps, I note extreme 'highs' and 'lows' which I have forgotten. Comforting, most have a good reason.

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:54 a.m.

I think it's great that RATG encourages others to use the cards. They are beneficial to lots of members, and we have proof the process does actually work), and a slight nudge is all it might need for them to take the test. So well done RATG and thank you. Carolinex

the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:25 p.m.

Hello Molly, your ex’s family Christmas sounds bliss! And real. Proper, meaningful, real friendship. So wonderful. Your mum :-( I wish she’d just asked/taken your nets for washing, and helped you create with the fairy lights. As everyone has said, my encouragement about scores is just that. Just a sign off. Coincidentally, I’ve written a blog about doing scores, it’s coming, you can ignore it :-D In my lowest times my scores were so needed by me and I think it’s to that person I’m writing. Will you be at home for Christmas Molly? X

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 5:19 p.m.

My comment about the cards was a bit harsh when I re read it. I thought it through and remember that when I was working and leading some sort of life, I did the cards every day and did find them beneficial. I think now because the scores are so low, I just don’t benefit anymore. I did the test on my husband once and that was interesting because he rarely opens up so I got a gist of his mood. So apologies RATG and Caroline, I guess I was having one of my moments xx

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 5:36 p.m.

RATG, thank you for your kind reply. My ex’s mother was lovely until we split up!! Then she got quite nasty! Still nice memories though. My husband’s mum was a treasure, she used to spend Christmas with us but we lost her a few years back. Apart from two Christmas’s abroad, we tried my family again. Complete disaster so yes, just the two of us at home RATG xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:52 p.m.

Well done, Molly, on your reply to Ratg and Caroline - it is just a reminder, just so glad you remember good times with your ex- Mil...and sad you’ve lost your current Mil, but enjoy your own Christmas together ***

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:20 p.m.

Thanks dear Bear, for both your comments. I really appreciate your support. You were certainly missed here. Hugs ***

Nicco

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:17 p.m.

Molly, i do the cards most days & fill in the point on the graph as it's handy for me to see what's causing the rises or falls, and as already said, it also acts as a diary for me. I dont always read the sruff underneath it though as i more or less know it off by heart by now! Sorry you lost your mil - but i really hope you have a nice time snuggled in the warm just the two of you. Put some soft lights on or candles & curl up with the tv, a good book, or puzzle games, whatever is your 'thing' & indulge in some me time & together time. xx

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 9:03 p.m.

Thanks Nicco, oh mum in law died years ago, husband says it was seven years but I’m sure it’s only five. How we lose track of time. Will have to check diaries. Me and husband spend 24/7 together every day so it will be no treat! But we will make the most of it. I’m really just relieved that I don’t have to see family. We will indeed light candles, watch tv, and play some games. I’m even cooking a turkey crown! Whoopie! Ordered a small one but got a big one. So thats food sorted for a week :-) xx

Hopeful One

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:17 a.m.

Hi Room- en route to a Caribbean cruise for Xmas . Your blog created great cheer in this Hopeful heart. Thought I would pass it on. This is the actual radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. Radio conversation released by the chief of naval operations, 10-10-95. CANADIANS: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision. AMERICANS: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision. CANADIANS: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision. AMERICANS: This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course. CANADIANS: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course. AMERICANS: This is the Aircraft Carrier USS LINCOLN, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanied with three Destroyers, three Cruisers and numerous support vessels. I DEMAND that you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again, that's one-five degrees north, or counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship. CANADIANS: This is a lighthouse. Your call. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to all Moodscopeers!

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Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:49 a.m.

Loved the joke HO! Have a fabulous cruise in the Caribbean - enjoy the weather, the company onboard and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours! Bear hugs x

Ruth

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:19 a.m.

Love the joke!

Sally

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:57 a.m.

Have a great cruise, HO. And delight everyone with your jokes!

Valerie

Dec. 19, 2019, 12:52 p.m.

Hope you have great time HO.You are a ray of sunshine all year round.xx

the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:27 p.m.

Hello HO! So good to see you, and my heart has gone big to think of you off on a cruise for Christmas! Changed times from when I first ‘knew’ you. And I love to read it. Sending best to you xxxx

the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:28 p.m.

And I love the joke! Love it.

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 4:48 p.m.

That joke! thanks. I am excessively bigoted and anything which makes fools of the Yanks pleases me. Enjoy your cruise. When we were (not cruising) on Anguilla and St Martin the only TV was the most awful rubbish fro the US. Religious stuff the worst.

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 5:45 p.m.

HO, sounds lovely, have a great time xx

Hopeful One

Dec. 19, 2019, 11:17 p.m.

Hi Guys- thank you for all your lovely comments and enjoying the laugh . A ray of sunshine all year around- what can one say! Enjoying a G&T looking out at the Atlantic thinking of you lovely folk.

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 20, 2019, 12:39 a.m.

Cheers and chin, chin HO! Bear x

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:38 a.m.

Hi Ratg, A very thoughtful blog for everyone as usual, dear girlie! We have to remind ourselves that the 'festive' period is more than just fairy lights on a tree, in a window, down a bannister...used to do that too, but worry I might just trip over them!!! I mentioned months ago, that I have two sets of fairy lights in my kitchen and they are up all year round. When I switch them on each day, they not only light up the room but the simple glow they give, warms my heart and when they are off, the room is not as cosy...it feels dull. (Even Mr. Bear switches them on occasionally, when I’m not around so he is starting to enjoy the cosiness of a glow.) I am lucky that I don’t have to do the main cooking this Christmas as we’ve been invited away for a few days - there are still pressures that come with that: each one of us will need to have time on our own, reading the newly gifted books whilst wearing the newly gifted socks! Nice to have socks at Christmas! Or walking the doggits in the fresh air, whilst keeping two of them apart....two of theirs haven’t met our youngest Doggit and he’s a feisty liddle critter! The Christmas feeling...doing and making for others and singing along (good job you can’t hear!) whilst listening to Carols from King's when baking Christmas Eve; writing personal replies to the eager primary school children who have written to Santa; sharing time and a drink with friends and neighbours - simple things that don’t have to cost anything but time; those things give me the Christmas feeling. And remember, it’s just Sunday roast with Christmas crackers...and breathe! Love and Christmas Bear hugs ***

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Tutti Frutti

Dec. 19, 2019, 11:48 a.m.

Lovely to see you back on here bear. Love TF x

the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:30 p.m.

Bear! You write replies? That sounds the best thing in the world. Does your heart melt into a puddle? I hope you have a wonderful few days away, love ratg x.

Valerie

Dec. 19, 2019, 3:03 p.m.

Hello my lovely,I was getting worried about you.Hope the sleep routine starts to work for you ***

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 5:55 p.m.

Good response Bear. I have one of those small twiggy trees with white lights on, it makes such a difference when I turn it on, along with lighting some candles xx Val, guess who we got a Christmas card from today? Friend and doggie. He said he’s getting back on track and they are going to visit in the new year :-) xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:57 p.m.

Aw thank you all for missing me...had a two week holiday and then hit the ground running when we came back....funeral, decorating Baby Bear's home and helping her move in with her chap. It’s been exhausting and I have barely or Bearly been able to look after myself let alone respond here, so I am sorry that I’ve been away from the blog. Bear hugs xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:41 p.m.

Hi Roomie, I do write an individual reply to each of the children in my friend's class and I absolutely enjoy it each year. I am Santa for few hours and I make sure my handwriting, signature and note pad are the same each year (because some of them have older and younger siblings who have received a letter or will receive one in the coming years), so I want the continuity!! I made a little red bag for the letters to be sent to Santa in Lapland and then I 'send' the replies back in the same bag. The letters the children write are so cute and often very funny. To help me, my teacher friend writes each child's name on a separate sheet and jots down what the child enjoys at school, the names of their siblings, pets and favourite things like sports or musical instruments etc., and if they have any difficulties, like food issues or struggling with a subject and then I try to tie everything in to my reply to each child. In the past, I’ve hand-delivered them to the school, when I’m able to get there, and the children’s reactions have been amazing, just brilliant - It is really worth the effort and I just love doing it :). Bear ***

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 9:18 p.m.

Bear, this is just lovely xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 20, 2019, 12:39 a.m.

:)*

Valerie

Dec. 20, 2019, 9:14 a.m.

Oh Molly,there is a Father Christmas after all ! I am so pleased for you.You have done really well this year,and hopefully you and he can make a new start for 2020.Thank *** the poor man is getting a bit better.Hugs ***

Valerie

Dec. 20, 2019, 9:16 a.m.

You are the loveliest woman Bear.***

Katie

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:43 a.m.

Great blog Ratg. Playing with my children and their new toys gives me the feeling! Sod the lunch. Which is why I get Christmas lunch in a box - tesco finest! I cam cook roasts on other days. Its just me and two kids. Focus is on playing!

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The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:07 a.m.

Katie, one of the most sensible attitudes to Christmas I have read! Have a great time.

Tutti Frutti

Dec. 19, 2019, 11:57 a.m.

When it is just the 3 of us I have adopted the tradition my husband grew up with. Things on toast for lunch and egg, bacon and chips for dinner - the special treat is that I get the deep fat fryer out rather than using oven chips. I have sometimes cooked the full works for 9 which I can only get working with huge amounts of calculations in advance - next time I do it I am definitely writing a spreadsheet as I am sure that it will be worth it in the long run. Love TF x

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 12:57 p.m.

TF, spread-sheet for big meals vital. The times I have left a special sauce in the kitchen! For visiting grand-children I wrote a wet and dry weather list. Leaving for the boat, sharp eyes caught the list. Cont

Valerie

Dec. 19, 2019, 12:59 p.m.

People should eat exactly what they feel like on Christmas day,unless they are expected to entertain the family.Even then,what's wrong with a good selection of ready meals? Can I suggest a sprig of holly on your beans on toast,to add that festive touch ? xx

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 1 p.m.

Instant complaints. 'Granny, we have not done x y and z.' I explained it was Plan a and plan b, but I think she still feels short-changed at 29. Meals, Yorkshire pudding and gravy (not with the turkey, but they tried).

the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:32 p.m.

Katie yes! I loved building Lego and Playmobil and it always waited for Boxing Day for us to do it together. I love your approach. Love ratg x.

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:07 p.m.

Good for you Katie, Tesco’s ready made meals are very good I find xx Tutti, I did smile at the deep fat fryer treat :-) I have cooked for between 10 and 12, three times before, I don’t know how I did it! RATG, I loved Playmobil when I was a kid xx

Jul

Dec. 19, 2019, 8:56 a.m.

Hi Ratg. So grateful you have written for us again this Christmas. I've been waiting for your "Merry Moodmas" blog, having benefited so much from them in previous years. I love your words about the fairy lights showing you the path to January. I've got most of my family coming for the two days. I know it will go very quickly and at the time I'll be too busy talking and listening etc etc to think about it. At the moment it's all I can think about. It's mad really. I often wonder if those who are not depressed, those not on Moodscope, actually get stressed too. I expect they do but they don't have the added compounding stress and worry about how they will come across; they'll forget about themselves something which I can't do. Have a lovely Christmas ratg and thank you for thinking about us in your usual very comforting reassuring way. Jul xx

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the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:40 p.m.

Hello Jul, so great to see you. Merry Moodmas is coming and I’m smiling that you remember and have been anticipating! Thank you :-) I think I’ve met more depressed and anxious people than ever before this Christmas but I think it might almost be a good thing. Step 1 in treating mental health can often be normalising it. Being able to voice it does that. I wish you all the peace inside so you can cope on the outside through your hectic few days. Lots more big sighs...I find I’m often holding my breath and it helps to actually breathe!! Love to you and yours ***

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:21 p.m.

Hi Jul, hope it goes well for you with your family visitors and well done for doing it when you struggle so much yourself. I think you are right that everyone gets stressed. It’s daft really isn’t it. I didn’t have to do much at all this year but I’m still stressed! Molly xx

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:49 p.m.

Hi Jul, I too have been looking out for Merry Moodmas! Ratg gives us so much - a gift in herself. Try not to get too stressed and worried about the coming few days. Have an exit plan so you can take a break away from everyone and everything when you need it. Just go and lie down somewhere quietly and do deep breathing...oh and take a glass of something lishus with you! Bear hugs xxxx

Jul

Dec. 20, 2019, 8:54 a.m.

Thank you so much ratg, Molly and Bear. What supportive friends I have here. I am grateful! Jul xx

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 9:28 a.m.

Moodscopers may have realised over the years that I have a streak of stubborn-ness. This week-end (Molly encouraged me) I am doing publicity - have the shop looking brilliant - mounted an exhibition of the history of the church upstairs, serving drinkies and nibbles at mid-day - then hope! The family opposite with 3 kids will get all those goodies if nobody turns up! I have a huge notice board which will go on pavement, if all else fails I can trip 'em up! Thanks room xx

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the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:43 p.m.

TG you are a whirl at times, you seem to thrive on creating and being busy. I’m really happy you have set up the exhibition this weekend. Look forward to hearing how it goes! The family opposite will be putting up diversion signs to be sure they’re on the receiving end. Love ratg xx.

Molly

Dec. 19, 2019, 6:26 p.m.

Gardener, I’m so pleased to hear this. Keeping everything crossed for you xx

Valerie

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:07 p.m.

Lovely blog Ratg.There seem to be so many new traditions now-new jimjams,Christmas jumpers.It must be very hard for many families.A woman I was chatting with has just one son,but maxes out on the credit card every Christmas,then spends the rest of the year doing overtime to pay off the debt.Maybe more of her time when she's not exhausted would benefit him more in the long run,but kids can be very materialistic (I know I was!) Wishing you and your wee ones a very happy time together,and lots of good times in 2020. ***

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the room above the garage

Dec. 19, 2019, 1:47 p.m.

I think some parents genuinely don’t know how to build and show love. They only know how to provide. But it’s hollow now and always. I suppose it depends how they were parented. My ‘Christmas’ jumper is the one I have on today. The one I often wear in summer!! Did I say I live in Scotland? :-D

Bearofliddlebrain

Dec. 19, 2019, 7:54 p.m.

Ratg, Brr cold up there so I’m glad you have a winter woolly! I have a cheap Christmas jumper and have had the same one for a few years and it comes out every December. Val, thank you for kind words earlier - and I agree with you...things have spiralled out of control. The latest craze that has come over from America is the Christmas Eve box! So now kids get to open a gift or gifts on Christmas Eve, so parents are under more pressure to buy even more 'stuff'!!! Annoying! Bear x

The Gardener

Dec. 19, 2019, 2:14 p.m.

RATG, back to Sunday and trees. I met council workers in town, and talked trees, having found they have felled the walnut as well. The neighbour complained, the tree branches were 'brushing' his wall (doing no harm). The council rushed in and lopped them, unbalanced, gale, and they all went - why bother to leave the walnut? I feel like storming round to the neighbour, telling him he has caused the wanton destruction of 3 trees which were not doing him any harm. Everybody on about vital necessity of trees in climate change. G rrrrr!

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Ach UK

Dec. 19, 2019, 10:37 p.m.

Lovely blog RATG, thank you. Glad you have your fairy lights ready. . . . :--))) quiet uplifting signals of hope. XX Ach.

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Leah

Dec. 19, 2019, 11:52 p.m.

Ratg, Thanks for your blog. I have never celebrated Christmas but am interested in how other people do. I am sad that for many it is a time for much stress and pressure instead of for joy and peace. I am glad you have nice memories. Leah xx

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Liz

Dec. 20, 2019, 7:22 a.m.

Hi RATG... I have had some unanticipated joy this year... making gifts for family. I have made a donkey, a dog's head, a mermaid, a sloth and a santa (hope none are reading this)... all winging their way to England (except one!). Bit last minute as it all came together and I was doing most of them as the ideas came. Broke three needles and stabbed my finger twice. I also made some scones which will be delivered today ( I am hoping they taste great as they haven't risen much) and am giving out my chutney to pals. Spiced apple. I did a special one with chocolate. I also added individual poems to my personalised Christmas cards and used images from last year cut down to size with a guillotine on new blank cards. The rest will be used as gift tags for other presents. I am hoping they will delight. I have had an unexpected week off so it has been a mixture of social stuff, relaxing and dog walking. I've pretty much avoided the madness of the shops except browsing around the charity shops for any other potential extra little gifts. Been going to a few Christmas fairs and have been to two carol concerts with more things planned. However the unexpected has been so nice. Bought a false tree for a fiver instead of the chopped down Highland one which are lovely but this one's better for hanging lots of decs on. Treated myself to a hanging polar bear head from M and Co which will stay up all year. Deer are everywhere in our house, and the deer head which is up will stay too. I like the decorating probably the best. The socialising is okay as long as you have the right company - it will just be three of us... it was four last year... two humans and two dogs... now two humans and a new dog. Walk on the beach and a relaxing day with zero pressure. That's how it rolls for us. Thank you for your blog x

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