The Beatles sang “So This is Christmas”. Oh, so very fitting for Christmas 2005 – the worst Christmas in my life.

It was going to be hard enough with being the first one without my Dad, on top of missing my kids as always, as I have for over ten years now. I miss them terribly every single day of the year, but Christmas always stirs up those very fond memories of great Christmas days gone passed.

I guess I am a traditionalist in that I believe in all the trappings of Christmas – Christmas Eve with family and friends; opening that one special gift on Christmas Eve; the excitement of Christmas morning opening all the gifts, having a special breakfast (which I always cooked) and then enjoying the gifts everyone got, and looking forward to a wonderful Turkey feast for Christmas dinner. All so wonderful! Made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This year? Well, the first challenge was money. We have been struggling and getting worse and worse with each passing month, to the point we ran out of oil last month and froze. There was certainly no money for Christmas gifts and celebrations. Instead that “shopping time” was devoted to desperately trying to get financing to just survive a few months longer, but no luck. Well, I thought, we’ll just do the best we can. My sister said she would look after the dinner but we couldn’t have it Christmas day because they were leaving for Las Vegas for ten days Christmas morning. Oh well, not so bad to have it a day earlier, I thought. We’ll still have the joy of Christmas morning together. Then the dinner became Friday, because that’s when everyone could come. Not very close to Christmas, but we’ll still have Christmas morning, right?
And it would be nice to have her look after everything for me, and give me a chance to relax a bit and enjoy Friday at least.

The fist item on the “help” agenda for Friday? They went to the casino and left me to wrap presents, clean the house, start the turkey, and do the recycling, burn the Christmas music CDs and food shop. I had also asked Ron to bring in some bags of pellets for the stove because I’m not supposed to be lifting after my surgery. Of course he didn’t so I had to get on my belly under the trailer to drag out the heavy bags, hurting my stitches in the process. Then, when they finally came home, Ron took off to wash their brand new car, and Wendy asked me to get the liquor and cigarettes for them, and shop. It was a madhouse and not something I thought I would be doing, what with all this “help”. Oh, on top of it, the guy came to pick up the firewood that I had sold to try to raise some money. Did I get any help from Ron loading the firewood? Nope. When everyone got here, I was still rushing around and trying to get dressed to spend some time with them.

Because this was Mum’s last Christmas, at least in her home, I had arranged for a video camera to record it for her to remember. It lasted all of five minutes on the Friday night when everyone was here, so that idea was toast.

Someone suggested we open one gift while everyone was here. Although it certainly wasn’t Christmas Eve, I agreed that anyone who couldn’t be here Christmas morning should open one. That was when I found out we were opening all of the gifts on this, I guess, “special” Friday and not Christmas morning. Not impressed, but no point in upsetting everyone who obviously didn’t care that it wasn’t Christmas.

My buddy Wade had driven seventeen hours to get here and spend Christmas Eve with me and our friends. I said I had to be back early in the morning Sunday for opening gifts, but this changed of course when we opened them all early. I still wanted to be home to cook the special breakfast that I had managed to scrounge up the money for and planned to cook for everyone. After they went to the casino on Saturday to spend money we don’t have, they informed me at three o’clock that they were leaving right then. When I said I had plans for Christmas Eve, they said they had to “get going”, so my night was toast as well. And breakfast? Well, there’s lots of food.

My buddy Wade, such a true friend, first gave me three hundred bucks to help me out. Mum thought it was for both of us and promptly divided the money in half. I tried to explain that it was money from Wade to help me out, and she insisted it was for both of us and I wasn’t getting any of “her” money. Then Wade phoned his Mum in OK Falls to ask if there was room for two more at the Christmas table dinner because my Christmas had been wrecked. Of course, Bonnie said there was always room at her table. Well, at least something to look forward to.

So Christmas morning was just like every other morning of the year, other than Mum searching for the money she insisted she didn’t have; asking over and over it was Christmas and who did she get this gift from, and where did she put the gifts, and bitching that she didn’t have a “cent” and might as well be dead when I told her she doesn’t have any money, and, well, you get it. At least I had that dinner to look forward to.

Seeing as how she has had the same clothes on for three days now, I asked her to pick out some nice clothes for our dinner. She asked what’s wrong with what she had on, and I said she had worn them for three days now and has lots of clothes, and it would be nice to put something special on for our dinner. She said her clothes were perfectly good and she wasn’t going to change them for anybody, and said I got out of the wrong side of the bed, and she wasn’t going anyway, and that was final. So, the one final shred of any Christmas magic I had left is gone too.

So how special was my Christmas? Undoubtedly, the very worst in my entire life. I hope yours was a whole lot better.