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The Christmas Lie

Through the eyes of abuse.

Stockholm Syndrome is a funny thing. I remember Christmas as a child but I only remember the good. Granny in the kitchen baking apple pies. Nadimah and I 'decorating' our dog, Barney, with tinsel. I remember Christmas cake soaking in brandy, the little plastic cake decorations...even the taste of granny's baking. The smell of our real Christmas tree. The excitement of going out to get the tree, decorating it, (well...watching my granny decorate, asking to help and being told yes but her ending up doing it herself because 'she would do it right.' LOL) and my father putting the angel on the top.

I have a very vague memory of opening Christmas presents on Christmas day. My father would pass out the presents and we'd take turns opening them. He was a very controlling man and I remember the...tension. Living with him during special occasions, (birthdays, Christmas) was...I'm not sure how to express it. That's the problem...I guess the best way would be to show you.

I think it was the unpredictability that was the worst. I'd wake up in the morning and I could feel the tension in the air. I'd almost know if it was going to be a good day or a bad day. He could fly off the handle for the stupidest of things and it got worse on special occasions. So I have always had a bad association with special occasions. Especially Christmas.

I remember being really young, I'm not sure how young but we were living in a sort of hotel and we had just moved to Scotland. There was a large bay window in our old Victorian style room with a window seat. It was near Christmas and I was sitting on the window seat staring out at all the stars. The tall window had a long, thick curtain that you could pull back and 'hide'. I loved that spot. Anyways, I was looking up at the stars and I saw the North Star, or at least in my childlike mind it was the North Star and it was so beautiful, and I decided to make a wish. I wished with all my heart that night until I cried, and every Christmas eve after until I was 6 years old, that if there where such things as Christmas miracles, that my family would be together. That all the pain, sorrow, anger, shame, fear would end. That we would all be happy.

One tradition I have always stuck to is watching all the Christmas movies. I'd get the warm fuzzies and I was a child...I really believed in miracles, that nothing bad could ever happen because it was Christmas and Christmas is a magical time when everyone gets along, no one is in need and for just one day there is no sorrow or pain. However, I was faced with the reality of living with a psychotic sociopath abusive ass hole for a father. My reality was sorrow and pain. Everyday. For 14 years plus 3 as an adult in Canada. Especially around Christmas. So it has always been a contradiction to me and I tend to be a very black and white person in most cases. I think that is why I hate Christmas...it is a lie. In my own experience and also in the experiences of others. I wished for change and it never happened...

I couldn't tell you the last time I felt 'the Christmas spirit' anywhere let alone within myself but perhaps if I tried one more time...risked opening up the scars that I have fought to bury just one more time...would it be different? Would I finally get my wish after 31 years? 

Samantha Don
Samantha Don

Life Hacks & Ideas started in January 2015 as a collection of hacks & ideas from across the internet. It has evolved into an ongoing project affectionately called the Eco Project. The main objective is communal, off the grid living.

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The Christmas Lie
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