By Jennifer Betts
Don’t hate me, but I’m a Christmas person. I love the whole Christmas experience, right down to the crappy weather.
I’m not one to shove it in your face, nor will I smugly exclaim that I have all my presents bought by mid-September, but I would like to open you up and take a brief pause among the winter madness and remind you what Christmas is all about.
I remember going back to school and work in early January, with a face liked a slapped sprout, when the only conversation anyone could muster was, ‘how was your Christmas?’
Immediately, my mind was a flurry with the antics of my Christmas day; family rows, anti-climactic gifts, re-runs on the telly and a general feeling of disappointment that my Christmas did not reflect those depicted in the sugar-coated Christmas movies.
No one sang carol songs, drank mulled wine or recited The Night Before Christmas. It was, for all intents and purposes, a bit, meh.
But did I convey this to my colleagues? No. I simply said, ‘it was alright.’ Because for that one stupid day where everyone has to pretend to be something they’re not and try to have the best Christmas ever, that stupid day lingered in my head until Valentine’s Day, the next depressive occasion on the calendar, all my expectation hindered on Christmas Day.
But as I got older, I began to realise something. Christmas, does not have to be one day.
Christmas is an experience, dotted with beautiful little moments along the way.
Most of us just aren’t paying attention. I’ve had many of those magical moments already and the big day hasn’t even arrived yet.
Being told I was the best auntie when I took my nephews to see Mary Poppins was one, as was a card I received from my elderly neighbour.
Several sightings of Mr. Robin, the Christmas bird, put a smile on my face.
Food shopping with my sister, where we crank up Christmas FM in the car and screech to Boney M.
Making that extra effort to see friends and having a good old knees up, not caring if you make it to twelve pubs or one.
Putting up the Christmas tree and laughing to myself at the memory of myself the year previous when I cried on the floor because my lights wouldn’t work and I couldn’t get the tree done in time for the Toy Show, only for the same thing to happen again this year.
The excitement on children’s faces at the upcoming visit of Mr. C, hoping that he doesn’t forget a certain 37 year old’s Christmas wish.
Okay, so maybe I’m pushing that one, as I don’t think Bressie arriving at my door on Christmas morning is entirely feasible, but hey, a girl can dream.
Your moments might be a little, or a lot different to mine, but trust me, they’re there.
Did someone give you a parking space? Are your kids beyond excited to see what that damn elf got up to during the night? What has made you smile so far?
Come on, step into Christmas with me, as Elton John would say.
I know that there are several reasons to be a humbug this time of year and even a little sad.
Maybe someone’s missing from the dinner table, or maybe you’re the only one at the dinner table.
But if we could all just stop for a minute and relish our tiny magical moments, realise what we have, be grateful and reach out to someone who may have lost their Christmas spirit, then we’ve already had a great Christmas.
So when that dreaded question comes to you in January, maybe you could smile and say, ‘it was lovely thanks.’
Hopefully you haven’t vomited your mince pies up yet and you’re still with me and in the words of Bill Murray in Scrooged,
I’m not crazy, I get it now, I believe in the magic, the magic can happen to you and when you believe it and you want it, you’ll want it every day of your life.