As I scrolled through the WordPress Reader this morning I felt a mixture of admiration and despair. So many bloggers are sharing beautifully polished posts about Christmas literature and legends and other festive wonderments. I imagine them tucked away in their little Dickens-like hamlets, snow softly falling on their windows which are beautifully lit by a dancing fire and twinkling fairy lights, mulled wine and mince tarts in their hands (umm, in between the typing) as they smile beatifically at passing carollers singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in perfect ten-part harmony.
Meanwhile, I lurch clumsily towards Christmas Day, Ferrero Rocher crumbs stuck in my teeth, reindeer antlers askew and shedding purple tinsel in my wake (yes, purple. I have a 6-year-old) as I wrap presents / battle through the supermarket aisles / attend the 15th school Christmas concert morning tea, all to the dulcet tones of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (good f#*!ing riddance, I say).
I blame it on the planet. People in the Southern Hemisphere get a raw deal in December. Up North, you only have to deal with Christmas (and Thanksgiving if you’re American) and a short holiday. You don’t also have to deal with year end, with attendant prizegivings / school carol concerts / tears of grief at saying goodbye to teacher (Really. Miss Six stood at her classroom window, nose pressed up against the glass, tears streaming down her face, sobbing. It’s a tender age), planning for six weeks of no school, PLUS Christmas. OK, we get Summer, but I’m sorry, Christmas on the beach with a barbequed sausage and an ice block has never felt right to me. And don’t get me started on Kiwi Christmas Cards depicting Santa in shorts with flip flops. It’s just wrong.
Anyway, the result of our planetary location is that we all scream towards the Big Day in a kind of frantic, exhausted, befuddled stumble and when we get there we don’t actually enjoy it because we’re all drinking to forget and falling asleep.
My partner and I rush or trudge past each other in the hall / bathroom / shopping centre, exchanging desperate and wistful looks: One more day to go, darling. Then we will actually talk to each other. I promise. Imaginings of our upcoming camping holiday dance tantalisingly before us like a mirage (and believe me, it really is a mirage because once we get there the family dinners complete with crying cousins and screaming uncles, rained-out tents and cold showers don’t seem quite so wonderful.) We can’t wait for Christmas and New Year to be OVER.
But you know what? I love it, too. I just adore Christmas. I’m that person who is dragging out the stockings and the mini tree (we also have a big, real one – ooo that sounded rude), and the Santa and Mrs Santa salt and pepper shakers mid-November. I set our phone ringtone to Jingle Bells. I put on my flashing Christmas tree earrings and little hat with a chimney and Santa’s disappearing legs on it. I fashion a fetching fireplace tableau with cellophane and pine cones. I play Enya’s Christmas album over and over. Do They Know It’s Christmas jauntily greets people when they drop by for a drink. Yes, they do know. They don’t stay for long.
Basically, everyone hates me after a week or two.
I suppose I have my parents to thank for this. They made Christmas such a magical time for me and my brother and sister, and now I want to replicate that for my own daughter. And for me, personally, I love the escapism, the fantasy of Christmas. The feeling that anything might happen. The joy at seeing my little girl write a long note to Santa asking him to “please leave the presents in piles because I want my own pile and please leave my Mummy some perfume and the cat some treats” – and really, honestly believing that Santa will read it.
Good call on the perfume.
I love the smell of Christmas candles, the taste of sweet mince tarts and raspberries and squeezing whipped cream in a can straight into my mouth first thing in the morning (ooops didn’t mean to tell you that) and the glow of the lights on the tree as we watch Love Actually on Christmas Eve and read The Night Before Christmas (our little family tradition).
OK, I’m going to gush. I am so very blessed to have my little family and to be so in love with Christmas. I see first-hand at my work (I work part-time at the Auckland City Mission) how miserable Christmas can be for so many families and I am grateful.
I am also grateful to you, my wonderful readers. Thank you for reading me, following me, commenting on me, laughing at me (let’s face it, it happens a lot), laughing with me and sharing with me.
To be honest, I haven’t put as much time and effort into my writing this year as I could have, and I’m feeling not very wonderful about that. I am still writing my novel and writing short stories and being published and updating my blog when I can, but I have let other things get in the way more than I would have liked.
In 2014 I am going back to school. I am going to train as a copy editor and proofreader with the ultimate aim of setting up my own business from home. This, combined with my creative writing, will be pretty much my dream way of making a living. I’ll be busy, but it will be a good busy – and have you noticed that often, the busier you are the more you get done? I have confidence that 2014 will be a more productive, exciting writing year. And I look forward to sharing it with you.
I wish you all a magical Christmas and a New Year full of hope and good things. Hug your loved ones close. Read lots of books. And my blog. God Bless. x