Christmas always puts me in a strange mood. There is the forced jollity, the tinsel explosion, the quite unnecessary gifting and overconsumption of food and drink (probably due to the first factor) and most of all a nagging feeling that I’m missing the point of it all, not being an appropriately religious sort.
My most vivid memory of Christmas was of one particular Christmas when I was in my teens. I shut the door of my room, lay in bed and wished fervently that I was anywhere else, a more magical place where I could truly be my proper self. (In hindsight, this is pretty much how I spent most of my teenage years.) I yearned for a proper Christmas, but even then I wasn’t entirely sure what that entailed. All I could think of was buying lots of things (mostly clothes and shoes) and being swept up in an all-consuming romance with some faceless rich, handsome man who would, ideally, be buying me the aforementioned things. That seemed nicely Christmassy to me, but even then, even in the depths of my most shallow and stupid teen years, I do remember thinking, huh. That does seem quite dumb.
Fast forward 20 years – last night I spent Christmas Eve with my family, and my mother put together her best approximation of a Christmas dinner. (There were onion rings, fried fish and turkey kebabs.) My grandparents were there, and during the gift-giving, my 9 precious 9-month-old nephew made an appearance. My brother gave me a cat-print bag, and my sister gave me a cat-shaped sex toy. My parents gave me an unashamedly useful power bank and 2 boxes of chocolates. My brother then gave me a lift home with my sister, and they came up to my flat to play with my cats.
I spent Christmas Day alone – I wove a rug, read a lot, slept a fair bit, mopped the kitchen and cuddled with my furry kitties. It was all quite lovely.
Is this proper Christmas, then? I think I’m coming quite close to it. Perhaps in another 20 years there will be snowmen, mistletoe and an actual-sized turkey, but until then, this is a good enough Christmas for me.