A very Merry Christmas one and all and I hope that everyone who is able to is making the most of their time with their friends and family on this special day.
Christmas has always been my favourite day of the year. The whole festive period is such a great time for people to get together and catch up if they haven’t seen each other in months; hot chocolate and Baileys becomes an acceptable daily beverage, and the sparkles of Christmas tree lights and decorations are enough to fill even the biggest of Scrooges with the giddy sense of festive cheer.
When I was younger, Christmas meant the time of year our light-up Santa Claus sat in the hall of our house, guarding the living room door like a big red puppy. It meant a whole depute aside for my dad to struggle with the lights and baubles on the Christmas tree and at the end of the process he would lift me up onto his shoulders to put the star on the top, before letting me stand on his toes as we danced around the living room to Christmas music.
Christmas Eve would be a day of looking forward to Midnight Mass, not because I’m particularly religious, but because for a child version of me, it was the one night a year where I was allowed to stay up later than eleven in the evening, and when I got home, I was allowed to open one little present before getting tucked into bed to wait for Santa’s arrival.
As my brother and I got older and my dad ended up having to spend more and more time abroad for work, we began to make our own traditions. For seven consecutive years, we woke up early on Christmas Eve, surrounded ourselves with junk food and juice in the living room, and watched Christmas movies all day long, not moving unless we needed to cook food or go to the loo.
These last two years however, though I have still been just as festive and joyful for something to look forward to in the middle of the winter months, working in retail has resulted in me not being able to be home with my brother until the later hours of Christmas Eve night. And this year, having lost her to cancer during summer, it is the first time in her life that my mum has had to spend Christmas without her sister. I’m not going to start complaining- I know full well that there are so many people out there who have to spend Christmas away from their loved ones, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine having to do that.
Sipping my process earlier, watching my mum prepare and cook our dinner, it struck me that we don’t spend nearly enough time with people we love. I only live half an hour away from my mum and brother, and I barely get to see them, because of, well, life. But for just 24 hours, we are allowed to forget our responsibilities, stuff our faces, reminisce and watch classic movies.
My mum knew it would just be the three of us this year, and pulled out all the stops, so my auntie would have been proud of the dinner she whipped up. I think I ate more mashed potatoes today than I have done this entire year so far. And who even eats turkey when it isn’t Christmas?!
I’m not going to lie, I really miss being young and being able to not worry about anything but presents and traditions at Christmas, but I know that there are plenty of years ahead for me to make new traditions.
Now it’s time for our annual viewing of the Wizard of Oz, and so for one last hour and a half we will be transported to somewhere that isn’t reality… I can start thinking about dissertation tomorrow!
Have an amazing Christmas everyone! Drink, be merry, and may the last week of the year be a great one!