13th December, 2018
I recently wrote a blog titled ‘Normal for Norfolk’, where I talked about the time I have spent in Norfolk and some of the benefits of making regular trips there. In early November, I travelled there for a Christmas event.
Christmas seems to be starting earlier each year, which rather stretches ‘the season to be jolly’. In my opinion the commercial side of Christmas starts too early with summer barely over and Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, merging into one continuous commercial onslaught. Not to be over sanctimonious, the spirit of Christmas and the goodwill message is perhaps lost to a certain extent.
The recent introduction of Black Friday and online shopping, has drawn people away from the traditional hustle and bustle of the decorative town centre, with its carol singers and charity collectors, to one of sitting behind a desk or mobile phone to do Christmas shopping. Despite this we still see Christmas cards and scenes depicting the Christmases of years gone by. The down side is that the community spirit and socialising with its integration of people, has increasingly become the sum of keyboard internet shopping and delivery vans.
It was therefore a refreshing change to travel to Norfolk to witness the Holt Christmas lights being switched on with the accompanying school children’s choir and local food fayre, giving a real Christmassy sense of community rather than the anonymity and impersonal nature of the online Christmas shop. Whilst the content was very Christmassy and warming, I did feel that the event was a bit premature, taking place in early November.
Without appearing humbug, I still look forward to Christmas. It was really rewarding to be taking part in a ‘normal’ activity again. Despite my associated brain injury impairments i.e., poor vision and left sided weakness, my spatial radar was turned up to maximum as I navigated through the crowds in the darkness. I can gladly report that I didn’t destroy any delicate shop Christmas displays or injure any of the revellers.
On reflection, despite all my negative comments about the modern Christmas, this is infinitely better than the Christmases spent on the neurosurgical wards, which I have done in the past. Even though staff and family do their very best to make it as normal as possible, it is not where I would choose to be.
Ultimately joy is a relative feeling and I should be grateful for the fact that I have the opportunity and ability to participate in events, such as the Christmas Switch On, and time with my family understanding that many people, including some of my peers at Headway, have experienced more stressful Christmases and long for ‘normality’.
For now, until next time forget my demented ramblings and Happy Christmas and New Year to you all!
P.S. I left this as near to Christmas as possible – hope it’s not too early!
Ho Ho Ho
“ The Hospital Brain Injury Co-ordinator became someone who absolutely understood how I felt, I didn’t need to explain. I could talk about my fears and worries. She was such a great support through the difficult days, but could also celebrate the small step successes, which was important to me. ”