My thoughts this weekend turned to Christmas and what I was expecting for this year, my first thought was rest, sleep and lazing around, but then I got to thinking about what it has meant to me and what it means to me now.
Christmas is a strange time of year for us all. We are bombarded with conflicting messages of consumerism and compassion. It is a strange and heady mix. I remember when I was a small lad, I would eagerly await Father Christmas and his sack of presents with little thought for anything but whether I had the latest Action Man. I clearly remember Christmas Tree being festooned and brightly coloured packages and family all sitting round the table.
I also remember one Christmas when we were packing for the drive to go to my Grandmothers, as we used to do most Christmases when I was small, and we rushed back inside to do the last minute bathroom run and then coming back down to the car to find that the car had been broken into and most of the presents had been taken. My mother turning to me after ranting for a bit and saying, they needed the presents more than we did. I did not understand that then, I was just upset.
When I was a young man, I loathed Christmas and wanted nothing doing with the country and tried my damndest to be somewhere sunny for the festive period. I would go on my own if necessary but did not want to endure endless carols, forced happiness and family gatherings. I ran to the sun and away from the home.
A couple of years ago, my Grandmother passed away just before Christmas and that was a very sad time, as she was someone I was very close to and brought fun to my young Christmases. It was a very somber Christmas but it brought us to understand what the time of year was for, closure and renewal.
Now I have changed once again, I look forward to Christmas, spending time with my family and enjoying each other’s company. We do not do massive presents, we spend time together, go for walks, build jigsaw puzzles, cook recipes we have never tried and generally revel in each others company.
Think over the next few weeks as you run around buying presents and wrapping gifts what the Christmas means to you. Think about doing something a little different this year, sending that estranged family member some love, donate a present or two, feed the homeless or just be grateful for the friends and family that you do have.
Respectfully and festively yours as always,