This morning is one of the two mornings a year when school aged children are willing to arise from their beds; Christmas Eve is upon us. This magical day has religious significance, familial significance, and corporate importance, to almost everyone. This year for me however is going to be slightly different, because I am going to spend the morning with my family, decorating a beautiful gingerbread house, but this afternoon, I shall be going to work. This seems like an extraordinarily grown up way of conducting the day; as children, the afternoon would be used for playing with the garland, making stockings for teddy bears, and watching Christmas films.
Christmas tends to be one of those reflective periods of the year, especially since it falls very close to New Years Eve, a time where we make resolutions, and promptly break them at some point on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of January. I find the progress of the resolution strangely amusing in the way that one’s conviction for it decreases in direct proportion to the time passed immediately after it. New Year’s Eve resolutions are perhaps made to be broken, in the same way as tulip shaped wine glasses, and plastic children’s toys.
I find the Christmas period one unrivalled in attitudes by any other time of year. At no other time of the year is eating until you are considering vomiting an encouraged practice. The consumption of mince pies is, at no other time of year, a pleasant afternoon past time. During the course of weeks one to fifty-one of the year, drinking Bucks Fizz at breakfast is frowned upon. But not for Christmas. Considering the origins of the holiday, these practices present something of an attitudinal paradox.
To my untrained mind at least, Christmas seems to present something of a release from the restrictions and the tensions of the year that has just passed. Where people have been running through London’s complex tube system at six thirty every morning for fifty weeks, they relish the opportunity to exchange this for a very hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, and kippers, accompanied by Buck’s Fizz. These foods represent the luxury of time which very often evades us, for most of the year. Christmas is also a time where paying mortgages, and saving up a nest egg, tends to be something of an abandoned practice; instead, we lavish gifts on family and friends, buy fine foods, gallons of wine, and seek only really, to be merry. This celebration of the year is a kind of reward: a reward for doing so well, surviving the pressures of life, and therefore instead of resisting the pleasures of life in favour of a slightly more attractive waistline, we tuck in.
The Christmas period offers us also, the opportunity to become creatures of leisure, something we don’t tend to be able to do very often during the year. Being a student, I have plenty of time for reading books, however they are not my books of choice; they are lovely books, they are classical books, but they are a part of my “job”. Over Christmas however, I get to indulge in the classics I have chosen for myself, such as Dostoevsky’s Devils, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. I also get to draw during the festive period, squeezing it in between walks and work. For the very reason that I get to be at home whilst I do all this, it’s my favourite time of year.
I hope everyone has a fantastic day today, and have a happy holiday!