What’s Christmas to you?
Well, for me, it’s at its best, nothing to do with religion. Not sorry to say that, either. And it’s not about throwing presents around. Christmas isn’t actually supposed to be about shopping at all; in fact, we need to fight for it not to be. So let’s take a moment to remember what Christmas is really about; focused on the poor, the sick, and the outcast.
Family, friends, celebrating the gifts of what we are already more than lucky to have in every way. Also, winter is often cold, it gets dark earlier, and trees have lost their leaves and appear dead. This is a depressing time of year, and that can mean only one thing: It’s also time to party!
The true meaning of Christmas is to cheer people up during a cold and depressing time of year. That means lots of food, getting together with family and friends, giving each other gifts, being kind to others, and helping those in need.
Whatever excuse you want to use to celebrate the winter season is great. Jews celebrate a day’s worth of oil that lasted eight nights. As excuses go, that’s pretty weak, (except if you’re stuck in a power cut, so it’s valid), but if it makes people happy, great. Celebrate long-lasting oil, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, the birth of a mythical figure, a funny episode from a sitcom, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him). Whatever you celebrate, have a happy holiday season.
When did this new outlook on Christmas begin? I remember being unable to sleep the whole month of December, and now Christmas feels like a big commercialistic carnival designed solely to lighten my wallet. Now, I’m not going to yell “bah humbug” at every person that wishes me a Merry Christmas or asks me if I’d be interested in buying their product as a gift, but there is something within me longing to feel the true meaning of Christmas.
Magazines, television commercials, and social media advocate the idea of a “perfect Christmas,” and thankfully, I was born with enough of the grey stuff between my ears to smell the bullshit on this. Having a perfectly lit house full of decorations (that you made yourself, of course, because we all have that time on our hands) and finding the picturesque gift, even for the person that literally did not want anything for Christmas, would bring happiness, right? The answer is no.
It’s pretty simple for me. I’ve finally decided how I will celebrate this Christmas. No, it will NOT be planning every detail of the day. No, it will NOT be striving to find a gift for every single person that has ever entered my life. And no, it will NOT be seeking perfection. I prefer to go back to the core of what Christmas is. If it was about giving gifts, what makes it different than a birthday?
Christmas is about spending time with people that you are close to, and remembering the good things that have come from this fractious life. It is about not getting more, but giving. Being thankful, and reflecting on one’s blessings. Finding peace, in a time of chaos amidst the cacophony of the season.
And NO phones or tablets. In there, darkness lies. Have your party in a Wi-Fi blackspot. In a valley. Because also, who’s going to call? Everyone else is in love, drunk or both. Get the elderly in on the act. It’ll remind the 34-year-olds: you can still be the life of a party with a false hip. Get cheesy with the music, but quietly, so your guests don’t even realise you’ve tricked them into dancing with a Salt-N-Pepa and Agadoo remix, and then, when everyone is 16 again, let the good times roll!
So please, accept my warmest wishes to you all in this festive season. And if you are religiously inclined, I will leave you with the wise words of the immortal Irish comedian, Dave Allen:
“Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you.”