I do enjoy Christmas, and very much enjoy it as a season, rather than just one day. The lead up to Christmas feels very pressured, as does the day itself. Now, having been around for nearly 50 years, I can honestly say that a perfect day is nigh on impossible to achieve and frankly when they do happen it’s by happy coincidence and not through planning a day of perfect presents, perfect meals and perfect entertainment. And that view is coming from someone with a stable family life and a steady income to ensure Christmas budgeting can happen.
As I write, I am listening to stories of people’s Christmases marred by financial instability and domestic violence. Those who are sick, caring for the sick, or bereaved have a tough time at Christmas. Actually, why should the day be perfect for any of us? Why would Wednesday this week, above all others this year, be perfect? What other Wednesday have our families conversed in a calm happy manner with no arguments, tantrums? What other Wednesday has every meal gone perfectly to plan with everyone loving everything put before them? What other Wednesday have I had the perfect amount of sleep and adequate energy all day? What other Wednesday has every TV programme and board game been engaging and fun for everyone? Getting all that right on one day is a huge expectation.
I much prefer seeing Christmas as 12 days – in that time various things could go wrong, there is time to be grumpy, or sick or just overwhelmed, but over the 12 days there are wonderful highlights, which make for a really merry Christmas. Some of those highlights may be with family, others with friends, or even an afternoon alone with a good book. A walk in the sun, a Christmas card with a lovely message from someone, delicious chocolates brought to a work meeting. All combine to make this a season of mostly joy. That’ll do for me.