Is there really any such thing?
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, a change from routine for a day for two of holiday with friends and family but do we expect too much? By “too much” I am not referring to the gifts we ask for. Everybody wants that perfect Christmas but I suspect no one gets it. Christmas might be a break from the daily routine but in so many cases, it just substitutes one routine for another that is conducted annually, instead of daily.
Christmas begins with moaning, as soon as the Christmas cards appear in shops in September, we moan that they get earlier every year but we still buy them. I overheard two teenagers looking at a Christmas card with a nativity scene saying that, paraphrased, ‘now they’re ‘trying to bring religion into Christmas’. They obviously did not know that without religion, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and Christianity, there would be no Christmas.
Around October we might start to buy the first Christmas gifts and sometime in November, the shops get decorated and Santa appears in the malls and arcades. Perhaps we have already bought some of the Christmas food, the non-perishables and things that can be frozen, and no doubt a little treat for ourselves at the same time. We might also start stocking up on the drinks, alcoholic of course, for which Christmas is just an excuse and some of which will not last until Christmas and will have to be replaced before Christmas day comes around.
In December the office parties begin, along with those of clubs or associations we happen to be members of and the the decorations will be put up at home and the tree trimmed. And now that we’re in December the serious shopping begins for both food and gifts and all the little peripheral items; table decorations; napkins with pictures of holly on and candles. The tv shows will be giving us the latest ‘twist’ on how to cook the Christmas dinner and set the ‘perfect’ table.
But, in amongst all this quest for the perfect Christmas, we forget what it is really about. Now before you stop reading because you think I am about to bring in religion and the birth of Christ into this (yes, that is important to me), That is not the main point of this article, so please bear with me and keep reading a little longer.
Christmas is never perfect. That’s right never. We become seduced by marketing images of the perfect family sitting down to the perfectly cooked dinner at the perfectly laid table. Christmas has become stressful, by the sheer act of seeking perfection. The commercial sector constantly tell us we must by this, that or something else to be the perfect gift or help cook the perfect meal. The table must be laid just-so and dinner must be ready on time. Never mind about the ton of washing up and cleaning up afterward, which has to be done (usually by a harassed wife/mother/female-partner).
The family is together, often with extended family members come to stay arguing over what to watch on tv. Relatives that barely see each other all year are crammed into one home. Family traditions morph into rituals, that seem to get added to each year. With the amount of work and cost now associated with Christmas, is it really a holiday when we get to wind down for a couple of days? Too often we just seem to get wound up over it.
Have we forgotten how to just simply enjoy one-anothers company together over a nice meal. Does our quest for perfection ruin the perfect Christmas?
Perfect or not, I wish you a Happy Christmas.