It’s Christmas, y’all
December 25, 2011 § 1 Comment
So this is Christmas (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Christmas sneaks up on me these days. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in retail for the past few years, but Christmas just seems to appear. There’s very little excitement that comes along with the season. It’s just a period of increasingly busy days that go and go and go and go, wearing you down and just making you wish it was all over…
until bam. It hit you. And it’s Christmas morning and you’re awake wondering where the waiting went. Where did the excitement go? Where was the increasingly frantic days before the big moment?
When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to wake up hours before we needed to. One of the family jokes we had was that my dad would always go to the bathroom in the morning and take what felt like forever. We’d be waiting, furious, because those five minutes (if it even took five) felt unbearable. Waiting even those few seconds longer was torture, likely banned under the Geneva Convention.
This year, the only thing I could think of was that I could totally use five more minutes of sleep.
XKCD helpfully pointed out that one of the traditions we have, our carols, are the same ones we’ve had for decades. Every year when Bing starts singing about how he won’t be home for Christmas, it’s the same. But this sameness doesn’t work for real people. The songs, the waking up early, the expectations; we don’t carry them the same way any more. Those things bring back memories we have of older Christmas days, but those aren’t what we have now.
It’s one of those things about growing older, eh? We change, and our memories change with them, but I suppose it’s in the vested interest of marketers and retailers to keep those memories the same. Take, for instance, presents. I don’t really care for presents any more. Sure, they’re nice to have, but I don’t want much these days, and at least not much that you can put in a box. But what’s Christmas without presents? Quite literally, what is Christmas without the gift exchange? It’s the most important part, and I’m being honest. Without the gift exchange (and, assuming that you aren’t religious, the whole Jesus bit), it’s just another day in the year.
Well, except for getting together with the family. It seems like Christmas, as it’s shown to us, is the one day of the year that we have to spend with our families. We have to go out and get each other crappy gifts (I’m kidding about “crappy”. One of my favourite presents this year, and I’m being serious, is a desk lamp. My 360 can suck it; I have a lamp) and then sit around and be with each other.
But you know what? I don’t see much of my family these days. I don’t get to be with my friends as much as I want to, and I certainly don’t see my 18+ aunts, uncles, and cousins much at all. I miss that. Call it regret, call it the unpleasant truth of growing older, but it’s real.
I’m older, and now that I make work regularly, don’t care much for stuff. If I want something, I can buy it now. If I want to eat turkey, or have a big dinner for no reason, I can make it. The one thing I can’t have more of is time, and with that, getting people together is harder and harder these days. My friend and I got Twilight Imperium for Christmas this year, but that game requires 4-6 hours and is best if you have 6 people. Where, oh where, are we going to get 6 people together for 6 hours these days? Although, to be fair, that game is going to get the hell played out of it.
So you know what? If this day/season now means that all I “get” is the culturally enforced prerogative to go and be with people, I’ll take it. I’ll take it to the bank. And in the end, I think I’ll be richer, we’d all be richer, for it.
Merry Christmas, everyone. And Happy Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or whatever. And I mean “whatever” with the best of intentions. Whatever you do today to celebrate each other, go do it.
It’s one day. The worries of the world are never far away, but they can wait a bit.
P.S. – I detest that John Lennon song.