A Ribbon And A Bow

I thought this year would be different
but no, I should have known
While half the world is celebrating
once again, I’m on my own

Christmas is meant to bring joy
but for me, it’s another sad day
I know it is for some others, too
I wish it would all go away

It’s just like any other day;
there are no presents there for me
Couldn’t put the decorations up
Couldn’t manage a tree

I don’t want silver and gold
tied up with a ribbon and bow
I don’t need the fancy gift wrap;
that’s not how I want it to go

My family around the table;
that’s all I asked for this year
My son was coming on Christmas Day
but now he is going elsewhere

I miss my dear Mum at Christmas
We’d talk on the phone half the day
Both alone again but so far apart
before she passed away

Often, when alone on this day
I take a ride into town
to see if a soul is on the streets
I go with a smile, not a frown

I still have much to be grateful for
There are people worse off than me
There’s still beauty in the world
if I open my eyes and see

I hope you don’t feel I’m a humbug
but it’s extra tough this year
Nevertheless, I give to you
my ongoing love and good cheer.

Warm hugs, Ellie Xx 💓🌲💓

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊

49 thoughts on “A Ribbon And A Bow”

  1. I a very real sense, holidays can have a very negative psychological effect on people. The pressure to buy things for others, putting oneself in debt. If you cant see your loved ones, or you have to work.

    I grew up with an authoritarian mother, (she changed over the years, for the better, but that is a different story), My authoritarian mother when I was a kid micromanaged me putting decorations and the tree up, and would yell at me if I didn’t get it to her satisfaction. Having guests over, or going out to parties, I always seemed to do the wrong thing and would get yelled at on the way home. But that all melted away in her old age. I looked forward to visiting her on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but by that time I was seeing her almost every day anyway.

    Outside family, I really don’t like the holidays mostly because it is in my face everywhere, when I am out at the grocery store, and the obnoxious music playing. At home on my TV and my computer. I am glad I don’t have to put up a tree or buy people gifts. I love spending time with my friends, but I don’t feel one day is more important than another to do that.

    I’d rather be at a poetry reading than a Christmas party.

    1. I agree with you, Brian, about The holidays having a negative psychological effect on many people. I’ve never liked Christmas very much – lack of contact with friends and family, and I also end up getting into debt with two children, two in-laws and four grandchildren to buy for. Silly, really, when I can’t even afford to put the heating on at home!

      I’m sorry you had such a difficult time with your mother when you were younger. It must have been really tough for you and had a lasting negative effect, I imagine. I’m so glad you got on better with her as she got older. I always had a good relationship with my Mum, apart from her poor mental health, meaning I had to go into care a few times. She was a good Mum when she was around, although she could never hug us (her mum had been very authoritarian, too). As my Mum aged, she became more affectionate, which was lovely. I just wasn’t able to see her because of accessibility issues with her house and Mum having severe agoraphobia, meaning she couldn’t leave the house. We didn’t see each other for years until she had her stroke and was in hospital for several months before she died. I was then able to go to London to visit her, as nearly all hospitals are wheelchair accessible. I spent more time with her in those months than I had in years.

      My dad wasn’t a nice man and wasn’t in the least bit interested in my sisters or me. He was selfish, with no thought for anyone other than himself. He passed away in 2012, and awful though it may sound, I don’t miss him, unlike my Mum, who I miss dreadfully (she passed away on the 30th of December 2016.)

      I really dislike all the hype everywhere about Christmas. It’s only one day, after all, and for those of us who don’t especially want to be alone (like me), it’s hard to have all the happy families, tinsel and baubles shoved in our faces all the time. I know just what you mean. As for Christmas parties, I’d rather be at the poetry reading with you! I’ve always hated parties, even when I was younger – just not my scene. Have a happy tomorrow, Brian, whatever tomorrow brings. Why wait till Christmas to wish someone good wishes, after all?

  2. “There’s still beauty in the world
    if I open my eyes and see” what absolutely soul stirring lines, Ellie!

    There’s such beauty in your poem my friend! You’re far away but close to my heart! Sending you lots of warmth and love 🤗❤️🥰😘

  3. THIS COMMENT WAS SENT BY MY DEAR FRIEND, HARSHI, (WHOSE BLOG IS CALLED ‘REFLECTIONS’). FOR SOME REASON, HER ORIGINAL COMMENT DISAPPEARED, SO I HAVE COPIED IT FROM MY EMAIL AND POSTED IT HERE. IF YOU’RE READING THIS, HARSHI, THANK YOU SO MUCH. XX 💝

    “There’s still beauty in the world
    if I open my eyes and see” what absolutely soul-stirring lines, Ellie!

    There’s such beauty in your poem, my friend! You’re far away but close to my heart! Sending you lots of warmth and love ��❤����

    1. Dear Harshi, thank you for such lovely words and kind thoughts. I’m glad you liked my poem. You, too, are dear to me also, although, as you say, we are very far apart. Sending my love to you Xx 💓💓🌼💓💓

        1. It was very strange, I agree. That’s only happened to me once before with another blogger. I had a notification of your comment in my inbox of my email account but it wouldn’t let me connect with your comment on my blog. No idea where it went. I’m pleased I managed to find a way of solving the problem. Hope you are well and are having a good day. Love and hugs to you Xx 💓💐💓🤗💓

        2. It was very odd. I didn’t want you to think I just hadn’t bothered to reply to your comment, which is why I copied and pasted it from my email notification. Much love to you, my friend Xx 💜🌷💛

  4. Years ago I learned to flip the script on being left out on the holidays when I was a single mom raising my daughter. In a church FULL of people, there were a few of us who were considered to be “rejects”, not interesting or worthy enough to be invited into the homes of people better off.

    One day I decided, no more! I wasn’t going to wait around for invitations that were unforthcoming, while people patted themselves on their backs for being great hosts and hostesses, all the while leaving out the “rejects”.

    I decided to invite everyone to my place for a potluck celebration. Everyone brought what they were able to, and we sat around the table laughing, telling stories, and having a wonderful time. We had so much fun together we made it into a tradition! We even did a white elephant gift exchange, where we’d bring 1 gift, either something we bought, made, or re-gifted and everyone went home with a gift.

    When the pastor and his wife heard about our little group, they found our resourcefulness to be inspiring! Together our little group turned a negative into a wonderful new tradition!

    1. What a wonderful idea, Tamara. I think I’ve only once been invited to a family member (my son) for Christmas once in the last 5-6 years, so I’m used to being alone then. Everyone else I know is spending the holidays with friends or family, so I wouldn’t really have anyone to invite like that. I love the idea, though. I’m so glad it worked out so well for you. At least, I have my daughter, son-in-law and two teenage granddaughters, who I rarely see, coming over on the 27th. It’ll be good to see them again. It’s been nearly six months since I last saw them, so that’ll be lovely. Xx 💓🌼💓

  5. How wonderful for you! I’m happy you will have visitors! Some community centers host meals or may know of other potluck meals planned that you could possibly join in on! Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new friends and create some new traditions!!

  6. I was going to put this is a personal comment, but decided to make it general. I stopped celebrating all holidays many years ago. Mostly it was because I turned away from Religion, and so many holidays are religious. But really it was because I believe having to name special days to do certain things or behave in certain ways is against humanity, against life itself.
    Every day is a good day to love our fellow humans. Any day is a day to give a gift. Every day is a day to share with others. Any day is a day to construct a fabulous meal. Etc. Etc. Etc.
    Love can be given with just a smile. A gift can be opening a door for someone whose arms are full. Talking to strangers, especially homeless people is sharing of oneself. Buying a bag of apples and handing them to people can be an unexpected meal to a hungry person. One never knows what might make another person feel recognized as a valuable person.
    I do random acts of kindness just because I feel like it, though since Covid I don’t go out much anymore. For me, every day is a gift. Why waste it waiting for xmas, or easter, or Valentine’s Day?

    1. I totally understand where you’re coming from, J. Most holidays stem from one religion or another, and I agree that every day is a fresh opportunity to do or say something friendly/loving/kind to our fellow human beings. I really like your attitude, and I go about my life in a similar way. My motto is, ‘you can never do a kindness too soon.’ None of us knows what another person might be going through, and by doing one little kind thing for another person, we could change their whole day. I often stop to talk to people with no homes who have to live on the streets. I’ll get them a hot drink and a sandwich if I can afford it. I always smile and say good morning/afternoon to strangers along the footpath by the river. You are absolutely right – why should we wait for a day with a ‘name’ or ‘title’ to do good for someone else? Even if I’m feeling low and depressed, I still make an effort to smile etc. Being kind has benefits for the giver of the kindness as well as the receiver. I notice that it always gives me a bit of a lift when I’ve done something for another person. Kindness works both ways.

      I’ve lost count of how many people have let a shop door slam in front of my face or failed to stop at a zebra crossing for me to cross on a rainy day! The latter is now illegal, as well as downright rude and inconsiderate! We need more people like you in the world, J. 💙

      1. Thanks, but while I want to be a role model, I do not want to be special. I want everybody to do random acts of kindness as well as intentional acts of kindness when they need to be done, not when they have to be told to do them.
        So many people don’t think of the homeless, except to curse them, until xmas. Why? I do not understand.

  7. I’ll be on wordpress on christmas day. I’ll see you then. I think many of us, even those of us surrounded by family, feel lonely and a longing for connection on christmas day. It’s a weird holiday. For complex reasons, it always make me miss my mother who died 38 years ago. It accentuates a hole in my life.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jeff. I will look out for you on Christmas Day then. I agree, Christmas brings up all sorts of emotions and sorrows as well, as in many cases, it’s joy and wonder. I understand, although I don’t know your circumstances, that you miss your mother from that time ago. I lost my Mum at Christmas time six years ago and it still feels very raw. I miss her most on the ‘big’ day itself; more so than the day she died on the 30th December. I think it’s especially hard when you have lost both parents (although my father wasn’t a nice man and I hardly miss him at all). Even as an adult, I am left feeling like an orphan as well as now, being the oldest member of my remaining family at 65 and being at the ‘top of the tree’ if you know what I mean. I do have a distant aunt in her 80s, but we’ve never really had any contact. Connection is so important and is something I feel I lack right now. I shouldn’t complain; people have it far worse off than me. Be well, Jeff.

      1. I’m going to see my parents for a few days. It’s just going to be the three of us this year. My brother has never been a big fan of holidays, and he moved to another state a few years ago; this will be our second Christmas without Grandma, who passed away in 2021 at age 100; and my aunt and uncle can’t travel right now, because my uncle is very sick and going through chemotherapy. But it’ll be nice to get away for a few days and relax.

        1. Sorry to hear you lost your Grandma so recently. 100 was quite some age to get to, not to say that makes your loss any easier to bear. I lost my Mum at Christmas time 2016 and miss her terribly, especially at this time of the year. Sorry to hear your uncle is so sick, too. Nevertheless, I hope you have a lovely Christmas away seeing your family.

  8. I’m so sorry your son isn’t coming! The downside of Christmas is that it’s presented as a time to get together with our loved ones, so it makes being alone especially hard. We miss the people who have died, and the people who can’t come visit, and wonder what is wrong with us that we’re alone. The reality is lots of people are alone on Christmas, and we need to take away the stigma of that! I hope that you fine a quiet, but meaningful way to celebrate the holiday, and that your son is able to visit you soon. Hugs to you, Ellie!

    1. Thank you, Ann. I agree with you. Many people and especially the media try to convince us that everyone will be happily celebrating with our families or friends. The TV ads are the worst for this, I find. I do wonder why, with two adult children, who I get on with fairly well and four grandchildren, why I am still alone virtually every Christmas. It makes me think I must have done something wrong for both my children to be happy to leave me on my own year after year. My daughter is about an hour away has never invited me for Christmas since she married in 2001! My son is only about 40 mins away, so again, surely it’s not too much to ask to be included in the family arrangements at a time like this. I will probably spend the ‘big’ day writing and perhaps, sleeping the hours away. As you said, there is definitely a stigma about being alone at Christmas. Thank you so much for your kindness and your hugs. They are so much appreciated. X

  9. This is darkness before a bright sunshine!!
    Yes, these are testing times, but you don’t lose hope. There’s always a hope.
    Times are challenging, but you stand strong.
    I wish, there must be someway to spend your Christmas in a different manner. You need to figure that out.
    Shine

    1. Thank you, Devang. I’m trying to think of different things I can do on Christmas Day. I might just spend it writing or having a pyjama day. I’ll have to wait and see what the weather is like that day. Perhaps, I will take a ride down by the river to see if anyone else is about. I’m not sure yet. Take care of yourself.

  10. We’ll have a quiet Christmas. Since I’m not a believer I don’t understand why i would be celebrating Christmas, anyway. It makes more sense to me to mark the Solstice, the turning of the year and the long, gradual return to warmth and light. And I really hate the extreme consumerism. But whatever you do, Ellie, have a happy and peaceful day doing whatever you feel you’d like to do.

    1. Thanks, Mick. I hate the commercialism and media hype over Christmas, too. The Solstice is much more welcome, I agree. I’m not sure what I will do on the ‘big’ day – it rather depends on the weather. If it’s dry and not too cold (like today), I will drive into the town to see if there are any homeless people on the streets that would appreciate a chat and a mince pie. I’ve done this a few times before, but rarely find a soul down there. I think refuges and some churches offer extra places for people without homes at Christmas. I feel for them so much in this weather. Did you get snow this week? I had lots. It still hasn’t thawed and it’s been minus 2C all day, and will be minus 7C tonight. I wish I could afford to have the heating on a bit more than I can. It’s so expensive these days. I will probably spend much of Christmas Day writing. Hope you are keep warm x

      1. That’s a very kind thing to do, Ellie. Yes, Christmas is the one time the homeless seem to have places to go. We always support a couple of places at Crisis over Christmas, as they seem very good at providing, or attempting to provide, follow-up services after Christmas is over.

        And yes, we have the snow. It’s very cold and there’s no sign of it going for a couple of days yet. I’m definitely ready for Summer, now.

  11. Ellie, wow! This is so poigantly written. I read this and felt like giving you a warm hug in this cold winter season. I do not have words for now. Thank you, my friend. If you were close to us, I’d definitely have you over; you’re a grace to have around.

    1. Aww … thank you so much, Thompson. That’s so kind of you to say. It’s particularly cold here this week. I had to go out today for an important appointment, and it was minus 2C! I got frozen and managed to get up the hill to get home in Alfie, my wheelchair, but it was a frightening experience as our hill hasn’t been gritted. Thankfully, a very kind stranger gave me a push to get going up the hill. There are some lovely people about. I’m staying in now for a few days, or at least, until the snow and ice thaw. I hope to write something during that time. Thank you again, dear friend.

  12. Sending you an abundance of love. I’m so very sorry you are on your own for the holiday. I know it must feel incredibly heavy and lonely with all the images of happy families blaring from all sides, but know you are loved hugely by your WordPress family (me included). May the day bring unexpected joy—a bird on the windowsill, a perfect sunrise, the call of the wind. May the wonders of the world find its way to you.

    1. Oh, thank you so, so much for your love and kind thoughts. You really are such a kind and warm person, and I’m so glad we met, albeit only virtually. I am very fortunate in having such a wonderful, loving WordPress family. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you all. Every one of you means a lot to me. Thank you for your good wishes for the day. It turned out to be pretty miserable and very depressing; hardly surprising, though. I found myself just sitting in the dark with no lights on as the evening drew near. However, since then, I’ve had a lovely day with my son and the children on Boxing Day, and then, yesterday (Tuesday), my daughter, son-in-law and two older granddaughters came over, and we went out for lunch, which we enjoyed. I guess you could say I had Christmas like everyone else, just one day later. Xx 🤗

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