So I’m early this year. What of it?
Anyway, I’ve been contemplating Christmas, and the holidays and families over this period. As school slowly winds down, you start to think about Christmas day, and seeing all of the family for the official once in a year Christmas gets together. And of course, with it, there will be copious amounts of food, money spent on gifts that are forensically examined, and far too much drink. If it’s like any other Christmas, there will be arguments, acrimony and tears. Other people might get upset, too.
But, despite it all – or perhaps because of it all – I can’t bring myself to approach Christmas with anything other than optimism. It’s a funny thing. I’ve grown out of the cynical, world weary attitude that characterized my feelings towards Christmas in my 20s, and now, I actually find myself looking forward to the event – at least, I look forward to looking forward to the event even if, like so many other things in life, Chirstmas day is a bit of a let down.
You can sum up my feelings towards Christmas – and most other family get togethers – in that one word: optimism. Let’s take family, for starters. There you are, flung together in often uncomfortable social situations with people that you’d probably rather not associate with, and everybody is suitably liquored up. You just know it’s a recipe for disaster – and that’s before someone brings out the boardgames. I swear I’ve seen blood spilt over Christmas Day Monopoly games.
And, despite it all, we still insist on getting together. We insist on descending on Grandma’s house, bearing gifts, and salads and pavlovas and all kinds of other tokens that we know will probably by spurned. We insist on talking to cousins that we barely know, yet feel that we are undeniably in competition with. We watch the carols together. We sing carols together. We pop bonbons and eat turkey and ham.
And that’s important. Family is an exercise in optimism, if nothing else. It’s an exercise in hope. It’s an exercise in wilfulness – determined to believe the best about people despite previous events proving you right. If anything, that’s the true message of Christmas. That’s the true message of family – at the very least, it’s more true than anything I’ve ever heard.
So, if you’re looking for my Christmas message for 2013, this is it. Look upon Christmas as a chance to celebrate family – regardless of how much they piss you off. Look upon everything they do – regardless of how it hurts you or annoys you or upsets you – through a lense of optimism, a veil of hope. After all, the longer you look for the best in someone, the more chance you might find it.