We live in strange times. With Christmas just weeks away, I thought that at this point we should be concerning ourselves with a) sourcing preferred poultry b) sourcing preferred tree (real versus plastic) c) calculating amount of celebratory booze required d) working our way through an impossibly long Christmas card/present list.
But no! My web search of ‘Christmas trends 2018’ reveals that our festive plans, in fact, should revolve around ways to wrap presents without paper (cloth, especially headscarves and tea towels), creative table napkins (fold them into Christmas tree shapes, or adorn them with rustic ornaments like mini reindeer), Christmas tree collars or skirts (depending on the gender of your tree, presumably), temporary festive tattoos for every surface, asymmetrical wreaths (mine always turn out that way anyway), and keeping the whole occasion ‘zero waste’ (admirable) and possibly vegan (not entering that debate).
Some people love the whole indulgence of the occasion, and it’s wonderful to see them getting excited about it. It’s a chance to spoil their loved ones, to dress up their homes and themselves, to eat, drink and be merry.
Others welcome the chance for a few quiet days off work, some long walks in the wintry countryside, then feet up in front of some nostalgic telly. And for some, of course, it’s still an important religious occasion.
Which all just goes to show that Christmas means different things to different people. Personally, I can live without tinsel and baubles, flashing lights, and enough wrapping paper to decorate the North Pole (or wherever the man with the long white beard lives). I’m not being bah humbug, but surely the best part of Christmas is sharing it with those you love. And the best gift is the gift of time, to spend with them.
Coming at the end of the year, Christmas is also, inevitably, a time for reflection. This has been another momentous year which ends with the world unsettled, out of balance and people feeling uneasy about their futures, not least because it feels beyond their control to change things for the better. But while the big issues might be beyond our reach, we can make a difference locally. We can look after the places where we live, the places we enjoy, the people and things that matter to us. We can look after each other.
However you spend your Christmas, I hope it’s merry and bright, with the people you love.
‘Personally, I can live without tinsel and baubles, flashing lights and enough wrapping paper to decorate the North Pole’
“You know, from this angle you look a bit like a turkey . . .”