The season of...?
It's got to be said, Christmas is meant to be the season of goodwill. In reality, it's the season of dread, fear, and loathing.
I'm certainly old enough to not get all excited about presents, trees and trimmings. And i don't lay awake on christmas eve, restless with wonder at what tomorrow will bring. I also don't have any christian beliefs, so i don't exactly celebrate the life of Jesus either. No, for me christmas is the end of the year. The one time when you, hopefully, get to see your family, have a nice big dinner, and forget about the stress of the twelve months that have recently passed.
Personally, the last year has been a pretty emotionally draining one. Almost from start to finish, 2004 has been a string of troughs and no peaks. Sometimes i've struggled to keep a smile on my face, but i have. 'My christmas' is about putting a full stop at the end of the year and being free to start 2005 with as little of last year's baggage as possible. But typically, even this is being taken away too. The family part has been expanded somewhat and ,due to the amount of children, will entail a very full house and precious little 'quiet time'. Being that Mrs P and myself live away from all of our family, the prospect of 'doing it ourselves' would swing the pendulum the other way....i certainly don't want a christmas so quiet you would mistake it for a boring sunday afternoon!
I know you're probably thinking that i'm having a good old gripe but there's more to it than that. For reasons unwritten, the 'extra' guests deserve a family christmas more than i can ever imagine. To resent their presence would be criminal, not to mention heartless. No, my family's christmas will have to take a back seat, we have no choice.
And that's what has got me thinking. I'm sure many of you are reading this and feeling the same as i am. It has become almost traditional to feel that fear of christmas. People joke about the likely arguments that will erupt over the turkey, but that cliche has grown from a reality. So few families are perfect and christmas seems to highlight this.
I can think of so many reasons to hate the 'festive' season; the alcohol fuelled violence and destruction, the turning of a religious holiday into a capatilist greed celebration, the misery of families struggling to cope. But mostly it is the enourmous pressure that people feel to make christmas 'special'. Everyone runs around in circles trying to get everything perfect, and for what? What does christmas really mean to most people?
So with only 7 days to go, in a effort to understand the perils of the next two weeks, i have kinda unloaded on you lot. The mechanism of writing this has brought into sharp focus what christmas means to me. It's not the dread, fear, and loathing....no, it's the precious moments inbetween. The rare times when i can enjoy the people close to me. Yeah sure, i'm not going to get the christmas i want, and neither is Mrs P but that's out of our control. My efforts will be spent on the things i can change. You know, the important things.
So take it from me: It can get as nasty as it wants because there's no way i'm going to let christmas spoil my christmas!
(Mike C. - www.iamthepenguin.com)