It’s the end of November and the countdown to what will be my 33rd Christmas is about to begin. With 25 days to go, there’s no better way to get in the mood than by reminding myself of a few things I’ve learned from the 32 that have gone before.
1. Advent Calendars aren’t about the chocolate.
December kicks off and, whilst there are still 24 days until the main event, immediately the gorging begins. I’ve never before had an Advent calendar featuring chocolate, which might explain why I find it unsettling to think that the vast majority of people are incapable of counting to 25 without the involvement of Cadbury’s. Surely we do not need to be rewarded with the sickly-sweet taste of consumerism each time we open a paper door? Isn’t the anticipation of Christmas day itself enough? Anyway, those 24 chocolates everyone else eats during the lead-up are 24 chocolates I’d much rather have ‘in the bank’ for Christmas Day.
2. It’s OK to cry at the John Lewis Christmas advert.
Or any Christmas advert really. Last year it was John Lewis that set me off thanks to an inordinate amount of wine the night before. This year I suspect B&Q will be the culprits. But I refuse to be ashamed, because I know I’m not alone (although I’ll be making sure I am when it happens. Alone, I mean. What a loser.).
3. People who finished this year’s Christmas shopping in last year’s January’s sales are the work of the Devil.
Contrary to what they may think, I do not aspire to be like them. Instead, I deal with them by banging on about how wonderful and colourful and exciting the shops are at this time of year, and what great bargains can be had thanks to the recession. This also works well with smug internet Christmas shoppers. After all, Christmas is a time for tolerance, and not the time for a (metaphorical) slap to the face.
4. The Festive Season allows songs by Wham! / Elton John / Maria Carey to be sung loudly and in public.
I don’t think I need to explain this, do I? Everyone claims “Fairytale of New York” to be their favourite Christmas song because it’s the “coolest” one. Riiiiiight. Since the age of 4, Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” has been mine. I’m not going to lie about it and neither should you. (And you can enjoy this lecture in its entirety in a future post, because I have a lot to say on the matter.)
5. This year I will assist my mother with Christmas dinner.
One year I assisted by making parsnips. Apparently both they and myself were in the way in the oven and kitchen respectively. But before this they didn’t even feature and, notably, they’ve stayed. Which means not only did my root-vegetable-based meddling helped expand our Christmas dinner making it better than ever, I’ve been seeing what else I can help with each year since. You’re welcome, Mum.
6. The Christmas holidays are not meant for travelling the world through the medium of red wine…
…Only the New World. And Spain.
7. Christmas is no time for competitive, argumentative game-playing.
In our house there’s no point because my dad and I will always win at Trivial Pursuit.
8. Every year is the same, and I’d have it no other way.
Christmas is a time for being with the people who matter, expanding to let people in and making changes to account for new situations. All that said, we’re spending our first Christmas as a married couple separately because for now it works best. Change is one thing. But Christmas is no time for experimentation or Trying Something Different. Each year my mother half-heartedly suggests we replace turkey with goose, and each year the suggestion is battered down with staunch refusal. Traditions are such because for whatever reason, they work. Every Christmas Day I know exactly what I’ll be doing, what I’ll be eating, at what time and with whom. Ultimately, whatever changes, these things will not, and that’s why I love it.