Every year at this time I take a step back and watch the panic and the madness that is Christmas with calm detachment. It’s like watching the world go by through a snow globe. I watch my colleagues taking extended lunch breaks to buy things from their long lists. I watch people cursing out each other in car parks because they only have an hour for lunch and can’t waste it looking for parking spaces. I notice that the roads are busy until late into the evening as shops extend their closing times but I refuse to join in.
I usually step into the snow globe a few days before Christmas day; sometimes I leave it as late as Christmas Eve. Armed with my short list I go out early in the morning and buy my gifts. I do my normal food shopping but add a few extras like a joint of something, mince pies, Pringles and dips and Brussels sprouts. I watch as other people pile their trolleys high with 6 loaves of bread, 20 cans of tinned soup and wonder if they intend to barricade themselves in for a few weeks. I’ve never seen the point of hoarding food, a lot of the time it goes to waste and plus the shops will open again in a few days anyway.
I used to put the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve but in the last few years I’ve been out voted. Now my family wait until a week after my birthday to put it up. They tried to put it up on the day after my birthday this year but I wasn’t having any of it.
To me Christmas is about two FREE days (no having to dip into the annual leave) away from work. Two days of family bonding and feasting. Admittedly I eat as much during the festive season as I do at any other time of the year, which is not that much, but I do like to watch my family eat all the crap that I don’t allow them to eat during the year. It’s also the only time that we eat Brussels sprouts. It’s like a tradition. We don’t like it but we were forced to eat it as children and now we make our children eat it too. Except last Christmas we actually enjoyed it. That was strange, I don’t’ remember cooking it any differently. Maybe it was the wine.