Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Not Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas.

I'm not religious (anymore) but it will always be 'Christmas' for me. That is what it is, and what it has become is an all-inclusive holiday anyway; consumerism has done more to take Jesus out of Christmas than any leftist school or council looking to appease non-Christians. Whether or not he had an almighty Dad, Jesus seems to have been a pretty cool guy, so he can keep the naming rights for mine.

That rant behind me, I think I've become much less 'scroogey' in recent years. Not only because of the fact my niece and nephew are reaching the age where they actually know - and remember - if I bought them something (and something they actually like). I'm kinda tired of just railing against what I don't like about what Christmas has become. Yes the focus on shopping makes me sick, our love of the white-Christmas American carols from the 1950's makes me cringe a little and I will battle through another Christmas Day with people I'm obliged to spend time with rather than those I'd most like to.

But there is a lot to make you smile in these chaotic weeks leading up to the big day. I love the way it brings people together. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with almost everyone that's important to me in recent weeks. I've imbibed too much, but laughed, hugged, cheers'd and shared smiles with people more than any other month of the year. That's pretty special. You can't wrap that.

Since moving out of home five years ago I haven't had the decorations around at home. This year was the first that I found myself pining for it a bit. The Christmas rebellion in me is fading. Maybe I'm subconsciously preparing for a family in coming years...

Tomorrow I will enjoy hearing some of those old classic carols and thinking about the differently exciting Christmas' of my childhood. Then I will tire of them as they reach their third rotation and Bing Crosby's voice turns from suave to savage on my brain, and I'll attempt to put on some Dirty Three late in the afternoon when everyone is getting sleepy from the big lunch and booze.

I will be embarrassed handing over the presents I bought my family, especially the kids, not fearing my attempts at something special backfired famously. I will try to avoid watching the kids open theirs, as only one has learnt the importance of polite thanks. But I will burn off many Christmas lunch calories playing with them and enjoy watching them enjoy whatever toy is their new favourite - temporarily letting their smiles and excitement push aside my nagging social conscience and the humbug fact they already have many more toys than they'll ever need... It's not their fault after all!

And, of course, I'll eat like a pig - especially the pig, savouring the sweet crackling my mum does so well! - and make a hypocrit of that supposed social conscience anyway.

I'll cherish the time with my immediate family, and make the best of the other obligatory conversations. These people are part of me after all. Throughout the day I'll send text messages to the close friends and compare our days, and no doubt check Facebook and Twitter too much. I'll think of others I'd like to see on the day. I will desperately miss my brother in America - the old drinking buddy who helped me through the day in years past - and hope his young family are with us in the next year or two.

It is not my favourite day of the year. Not by a long way. But it is still pretty special.

And why be a humbug when there's so much to enjoy?

Merry Christmas

Mien famillie


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