Christmas. A time of joy, faith and loved ones. Or presents. Or alcohol. Depending on what matters to you at Christmas. My family seems to epitomise all of these (bar one) and perhaps are almost stereotypical of their generations.
Take my Irish Catholic Nana. As you can probably tell before I have even written it, she believes in the faith aspect of Christmas the most. Ok, yes; family, friends and to a degree presents, play an important part of her Christmas, but without the midnight mass and a renewal, to an extent, of her belief in God and Jesus, I genuinely feel it would be like finding out Santa Claus didn’t exist for her… again. (for those under ten, I’m only kidding, Santa does exist and is fat, jolly and epitomises all things nice!)
My Mum and Dad, although brought up in religious households (One Catholic one Church of England), don’t believe in the big man per se (as in the man up stairs, not the one who lives in the North Pole though they do know that isn’t true (again if under ten see previous side note!)). For them, spending time with loved ones is the main joy. Presents play a very big part of this as how else to show your love on the big C day but by buying that special something that just creates that look we all want our presents to get. Pure, unadulterated, smack you in the face, spin around so fast that you throw up, JOY.
Perhaps because I was brought up in this world, and with such a clear family orientated Christmas AND Boxing Day time that I also go silly on presents every year and become a slight bore and stay in with the family for almost 3 days solid, that I differ from my generation. The Friday before Christmas is known as Mad Friday. I am unfortunately ignorant in knowing if this is an International, National, English, Northern, Lancashire or plain M65 inhabitant idea. However, the general notion is that you go out “on the lash” and try and get more inebriated than you have in the whole year. I know many friends who have missed the early morning madness of rushing into the living room to unwrap presents in a disgustingly frenzied fashion due to the Mad Friday of Christmas Eve and have slept until the Turkey is cut.
Christmas to me seems to go so fast anyway that to miss most of it through sleep and nauseating hangovers makes me feel cheated out of probably some of the best days of the year. The traditional Christmas of preparing the house Christmas Eve for the next day, followed by midnight mass, then bed knowing that Santa will have delivered something nicer than presents in the morning, is something that I doubt I will ever be able to leave behind, even when I’m 92.
(side note: I am aware that I promised to put in some type of tenuous link to a book in my blogs as of my ‘Hello World’ blog so! You ready? Here it is! “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Read it. Or watch it on Christmas Eve. Guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit – I recommend the Muppets one!)