December 2006 Issue: Decking the Halls
Christmas has always held a special place in my heart. Any sort of bacchanalian feast where you stuff yourself full of food and drink to the point of immobility, sleep, then wake up to repeat the process is fine my me. I don’t even mind all the Jesus stuff, as long as it doesn’t detract from the main focus: me, and the giving of presents thereto.
Christmas (or Xmas, if you want to get non-denominational about it) means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Being Australian, for me it holds memories of baking hot days, cold seafood salads, cold beers from the esky, backyard cricket and televised sporting events where you don’t really care about the outcome.
I guess readers from colder climates have memories of snowy landscapes, open fires, egg nog and baked meat products.
But wherever you’re from and whatever you believe in, Xmas is generally associated with family… maybe you’ve noticed an unusual amount of your friends who just happen to be flying home around now, and you can be sure that business in the cheap phone call joints will start to look up this month.
And just like traveling gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself, it also gives us the chance to surround ourselves with another family – friends who we genuinely want to spend time with, as opposed to that uncle who wheels out the same jokes year after year.
One of the sadder aspects of our disjointed society is that we need occasions like Xmas to hang our emotions on, and to tell our loved ones that we respect and appreciate them.
It’s a fine thing, and lord knows that we need a little ritual in our lives, but it would be nice to think that we could take a little of the overload of seasonal goodwill and spread it out through the year.
Whatever you do and however you choose to celebrate, be kind to each other, people, and enjoy the tamales.