Sunday, 23 December 2012

"Same old same old" this Christmas?

The white Christmas of 2010

Definitely not my usual type of blog today, but then it’s not a “usual” time of year is it?  As I write this on Sunday 23rd Dec 2012 shops up and down the country are gearing up for the onslaught of shoppers half of whom are fueled by blind panic that the shops will be closed for one whole day.  The other half are driven by a mixture of annoyance and relief that the Mayans were wrong all along and, having left their pressie buying until after the 21st on the off chance, now have only 72 hours to cram it all in.

Christmas is a time of year for traditions but sadly for many people that tradition appears to be complaining about everything; the shops are too busy, it’s all got too commercialised, Uncle Bob gets up too early and the kids are too loud.  “It’s the same thing every year and I’m sick of it” I overheard one particularly festive shopper hiss.    Well, we’re doing much the same thing this Christmas that we’ve done for the past 10 years or so and I couldn't be happier.  We’re staying with the same people, eating the same foods, watching many of the same movies and, when we pull the crackers, telling jokes we’ve all heard a hundred times before but still laughing at them anyway.
Move along - nothing to see here...

Why am I so happy and so easily pleased by such mundane and repetitive things?  Well this year, within my immediate circle of friends, there are folks who have lost loved ones far too young to cancer; there are some who have been affected by a partner walking out and others who will be spending Christmas visiting desperately ill children or parents in hospital.    (One friend in particular - the lovely Ian Mooney - lost his wife, his job and his beloved dog during 2012.  He’s currently taking the slow train from St Petersburg to China and you really should follow his blog here.)

Our Christmas Day routine runs something like this: sedate and gentle breakfast with the parents to fortify us for the day ahead.  By 11am at the latest we will be up to our necks in brothers, sisters and over excited nephews.  Chaos will then ensue for a minimum of 12 hours during which time vast quantities of food will be eaten, bottles will be emptied, pressies will be opened and a crafty 40 winks will be grabbed on the sofa while someone else is entertaining the kids.

Another tune anyone?
A quick scan through the headlines reminds us that for many thousands of people Christmas 2012 will be unexpectedly different to Christmas 2011; there will be an unfillable gap at the table, a tradition that can’t be followed and an irritating habit which, however annoying at the time, is now desperately missed.  So yes, my Christmas will be the “same old same old” and for that I am deeply and profoundly grateful.  I only hope my relatives feel the same way when I’m well into my second bottle of fizz and singing merrily along to my 337 “classic” Christmas tunes.