When I arrived home for Christmas this year, mum informed me that it was going to be the normal deal.
The plan was for us all to go to our rooms and write, paint, browse, or do other small tasks we wished to amuse ourselves. If we wished to eat we could cook something small for ourselves. Our family had always done Christmas the traditional way. According everything that surrounded this season, nothing embodied the spirit of Christmas more than the joy of simply sitting and watching the time pass. We were asked to examine the condensation on the windows, or watch the motions of the snow as it falls into the garden. In the media Christmas has always been about thinking about things, and exploring the world internally.
In recent years the TV and shops had come to a fever pitch around this idea. There had been an obsession in the press with anti-commercialism and wanting less. A number of re-inventions of the jolly Santa as a Buddha like figure circulated; calm and fatherly. A particularly moving and poignant commercial form John Lewis this year had been the talk of the office. According to the advert nothing was more important than spending time alone, and finding internal happiness.
I know I'm not the only one, but I've always hated this. Now don't get me wrong. I love to contemplate the world as much as the next person - just not at Christmas. I can't help but feel I am wasting the day. It is one of the only times of the year when everyone is free and available. I want to use Christmas to see the family, and have a good old party! I can't help but think this would be a better way to relieve all of that stress, and relax over the holidays.
Unfortunately if I mention these thoughts and I'm considered a snob. Somehow the traditional Christmas is not good enough for me. People believe I think I'm too clever for it, or that I simply enjoy being grumpy. Worst of all is when I'm told I am being selfish.
"For this one day of the year," they tell me, "you can't make the effort to just sit in your room and be quiet for a day".
Perhaps they have a point, I really don't know.
I don't believe all of this Zen, sitting around, stuff is bullshit. I just find it harder work than the average person. There are so many other things I'd rather be doing. I used to occasionally wonder if there was something wrong with me, but I realized this. I simply enjoy spending time around other people. My default behavior is to seek out the company of others and to be social. I like to give, and interact, and laugh in that way.
I even suggested buying presents this year. It was instantly shot down. My mum said it was a waste of money, commercialism, and stressful. This is where me and my mum differ. I love buying presents, and I am good and finding things people will like. For me it is rewarding to see people open my presents, and to check the joy on their faces!
I don't know if Christmas will ever change or adapt to suit people like me. At the moment I feel like we're getting pushed further and further away by it all. Either way, for this Christmas I've formed my plan. I'll invite the cat into my room and we can chatter away about what an amazing party we're going to have on New Year.