Christmas as a JW child
I am sitting here, so utterly bored and waiting for this day to be over. So I'm starting a new topic that probably has been done a thousand times but hey, I'm fairly new here. Humor me :)
So here's my Xmas as a young JW. I will try and be brief.
I never had gifts - obvs - but once my dad did actually buy me something because he felt so bad. It was a doll and he left it at the bottom of the bed so I woke up Xmas morning and it was there. Oh my, was I happy? Overjoyed! But my dad, overcome with guilt that he had disobeyed the WT, informed me later there would never be another Xmas present.
On Boxing Day we traditionally visited my non-JW aunt for tea because she insisted, although my parents always tried to get out of it. I loved her because every single year she gave me a little gift. Six cubes of lavender scented bath salts wrapped up in pretty paper. Same thing every year but oh, how I loved that gift. It meant so much to me.
All this baloney we tell people how JWs kids get gifts all through the year. Total rubbish. I never had anything. In fact, I cannot recall one single gift from my parents part from that Xmas doll and a bike when I was in my teens and I only got the bike because I begged and begged for one. I never wanted anything grand. If they had bought me a packet of pencils I would have been overjoyed.
Xmas was pure agony at school. From mid November onward I was overcome with a sickening dread. I was mercilessly taunted by school mates because I was't getting any Xmas presents. The school disco was always a nightmare because I wasn't allowed to go. So all the girls would get on the school bus dressed in party clothes, lessons would finish at lunch and then a disco in the main hall all afternoon. And where was I? Sitting in a classroom on my own doing work. Do you know what it was like getting on the school bus later that day? Horrendous. I would go home in tears. Did my parents ever care? Nope.
One year, I couldn't face it so feigned illness and didn't go to school the day of the disco. But the headmaster noticed and I was hauled into his office the next day and asked outright if I had played truant and of course, I had to say yes. So although he said he was sorry my parents forbid me to go to the disco I was never to play truant again and was duly punished for it.
Xmas day - ministry. Forced to go out. But householders were often kind and felt sorry for us and gave us mince pies and sweets. I remember one old man being particularly kind, he gave me some money. I was only about 10 or 11 and didn't know how to react. His insisted I take it and his kindness just overwhelmed me. I ran out into the street to my dad, I was crying. I was just so overcome. My dad immediately spun me around, marched me back to his house and made me give it back. The man was embarrassed and felt bad for upsetting me. But how could I tell him, I'm crying because I was overcome with his kindness?
All throughout the Xmas school holidays I felt sick, knowing I had to face it all over again when we went back to school. All the girls discussing their Xmas presents and me with nothing except my bath cubes. So they taunted and laughed and said I was a loser and my parents were losers, too.
So one year, I came up with a cunning plan. I was going to lie. I wrote down a list of make believe gifts and memorized them. I planned a Christmas dinner in my mind and memorized it all. So after Xmas, on the school bus, when they taunted me for not celebrating I was ready with my imaginary Xmas. They asked how come I celebrated it this year and I just shrugged and said, my dad's family weren't witnesses and had insisted we go over to them and I'd been showered with gifts and it was wonderful.
It got them off my back but oh, I felt so bad for lying and was sure Jehovah was going to strike me dead for it. I walked around for weeks expecting a lightning bolt to shoot out of the sky and kill me.
But you know, the sad thing is, I did it to my children too and I feel bad, really bad that I did exactly as my parents. They must have really suffered at school, the only saving grace is they weren't alone as they had loads of witness kids in their school whereas I was the only one.
So, that's a very condensed version of my Xmas as a JW child, what is yours?
I am as overwhelmed by your story, Phoebe, as I am by the kindness of your aunt and the old man so long ago. Wish I had words!
More later, . . .
Yep, it is so sad....
Even after leaving this GD cult, memories take time to build. My brother and his family (He never became a JW, left at 10? My dad wasn't either) has a whole pile of fun things (like decorating cookies, making vids, playing games, gathering with his wife's family) & I am just determined to do the same!
Phoebe, a stunning account of Christmas as a JW child. Very honest and emotionally moving.
Your writing showed me how deeply you felt and how little you asked for and how isolated you were deep in the grip of a made up god and a made up religion.
Phoebe I recall so many things reading your words.
The going out in service and always feeling like we were intruding (plus we were cold- apparently our parents didnt waste a lot of money on niceties like gloves and mittens as well as "gifts on worldly holidays "). So the feeling of a cold winter morning and all the warm houses full of happy people and kids opening gifts and here we came interrupting with cheap paper magazines.
Once when I was around 8 or so I wrapped up old toys in paper and put them around the pedestal of a tall floor lamp in the living room. My parents were able to recognize the intention of a floor lamp with crudely wrapped old toys around its base as a mimic of a Christmas tree and demanded to know who did it.
Fortunately there were people coming over and in the bustle of things they forgot!
Today I am texting my worldly friends and family and DFd relatives and drinking egg nog by a nice fire. Life is good.
Your thread is cathartic and I love it.
I think my mother was happy there wasn't christmas presents, or any holidays for that matter. It meant she didn't have to spend money.
I think most things we had as children, was from relatives. And even if they were christmas presents, the relatives pretended they weren't so that we could have them. That was ok with my mother because that meant she didn't have to spend money on us later.
The only thing she ever bought as a real present, was a microscope. Even made it part of a treasure hunt. But you know, as much as I liked it, I didn't feel grateful to my mother.
The best christmas memory for me was, being over at the neighborhood friends house and smelling the pine smell. And those big colorful lights that glowed.
Phoebe and everyone here--I know how you all feel, for I also experienced the same myself in the past.
What really pisses me off is how the GB and their helpers have pressured the R&F to go in field circus to "convince" other people not to have and give up their happy celebrations/belief systems for a belief system of doom and gloom plus sadness and depression. I hated going out from door to door in the friggin' cold to tell other people lies--I bet the GB and their helpers were up in their rooms at Bethel in Brooklyn Heights, warm/comfy/cozy without a care in the world on that day (at Warwitch, too)!
They don't care what they have done to families, particularly to children. Heartless bastards (I'm getting out of this 💩 !)!!!!!!!!!
I remember Christmas before my Mom bought the Watchtower and Awake from two Watchtower Workers. One thin dime changed my life forever. Gone were the smells of the Christmas tree, the warm lights from the Christmas tree, pretty wrapped gifts, and nice Christmas cookies. At the age of seven Mom then informed me there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny and that these things were all pagan. Of course, I never had another birthday party because that was also pagan. I had no idea what pagan meant.
These were replaced by going to meetings every Tuesday and Friday night, and Sunday morning, and going in service every Saturday morning, and Mom studying the orange Paradise book with me every Saturday afternoon. I had the added bonus of before I could go to school Mom had to read the daily text to me. Mom was a good Watchtower Witness. Mom being a slave to the Watchtower took away my childhood. All it took was one thin dime and now knowing the end was so close that I would not go to high school and Mom would not get old and die.
Mom died of old age 60 years later and my grandchildren have graduated from high school. The Watchtower Company have robbed millions of people from not living in the present and to live in the future in a fairy tale dream.
Phoebe - poignant. It's a tough time and believe it or not I have couple of friends/never ever witnesses who have a very difficult time because of being single/divorced/child less and deceased parents -- even estranged family members. Living in a 24 hr. city helps 2 of them because they work on xmas day like any other and enjoy/celebrate with other employees. Amazing the people who prefer to work on the 25th.
Try to make one simple tradition/memory a year for yourself or just celebrate being released from the cult. That's the gift that keeps on giving -- for me, anyway. I wasn't raised in the evil cult but, unfortunately, became brainwashed reading the literatrash early 70s and felt guilty loving/enjoying anything about xmas from that time forward.
day of future -- I had the same type of "mother". Omigoodness - selfish egg donors. I made my own Christmases once I escaped on my own then allowed myself to be brainwashed by the evil cult. Unfortunately, parents don't realize at the time it's difficult for their children to be giving/caring in their later years -- even though she always boasted not spoiling your child paid off parental wise. What a fool she was. Thank gawd for loving aunt and beloved Grandparents - best parents ever until she conquered/divided.
Best to all!
For any parents out there denying their children Christmas, stop ........ it’s cruel.