Sundays are made for being retrospective. The feeling of Monday coming, the dinner cooking in the background, and the Christmas films on in front of the cosy fire. What’s scary is tomorrow is my last Monday in work for 2020! But the Christmas spirit will carry me through my alarm going off. We all know (hopefully) by now that I love this time of year, but today’s post is about why I adore Christmas.
Normally at Christmas, it’s all go. People on the streets are furious with each other because “do these people have no homes??”, traffic is crazy everywhere no matter what shortcuts you try to take, and everyone gets frustrated at hearing the same awful pop covers of our favourite Christmas songs coming from the speakers in the shops. Everyone is normally angry, or fed up, or stressed and ready to just forget everything and walk away. So why do I love it?
I adore Christmas because it’s a reminder that life goes on. No matter how much you hate a certain Christmas song, you still find yourself humming or singing along. It doesn’t matter how much you plan in advance; people who leave their shopping until the last minute continue to do so. The streets get filled with people shopping, spending their hard earned money on the family and friends who are important to them. And most of all, I adore Christmas because for me as a blogger, it means Blogmas!
It’s exhausting and stressful, but the rewarding feeling when I succeed? That’s what makes it worth it! In a way, that side of it is exactly the same as Christmas in general – all that stress and hassle for one day. And on that one day, you sit back and think “Next year I won’t let it get me as stressed as this year!”. But you do. And you continue to. Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. The lights glimmer and make us all stare in amazement at beauty that’s there all year but seems even more noticeable with the lights.
The magical illusion of Santa ended many years ago for me now. However the new found joy that every year my parents sat back and let some imaginary man take the credit for all their hard work and presents? That brought out a new magic. The magic of love and family became what Christmas was all about. Let’s face it, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without that little bit of festive magic that family brings. And it doesn’t even have to be a family of relatives. Family are the people we surround ourselves by. Families no longer take the stereotypical structure of husband, wife and kids. There are same-sex couples, single parents, families unable to have children, and people who are estranged from their blood relatives. They surround themselves with people to fill that gap, but it’s still their family. Doesn’t matter who’s in it or what sort of structure it’s made up in.
This year, Christmas will be different for many of us. Around the world, we’re all still fighting that invisible enemy that will go unnamed in this post. Many families are split across multiple houses and locations, ours being one of them. Many elderly people will be alone this Christmas, but that’s no different to any other year. While most years many of us wouldn’t give this a second thought, this year it will be on the minds of many as they think of elderly relatives alone. They’ll think of brothers, sisters, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and friends, with each of us aware of someone unable to travel to be with family over the festive period. This year more than ever, Christmas will be the reminder that life goes on.
As I’m writing this, I remember once learning in school that Polish families would traditionally leave an empty chair at their Christmas table. We were taught it was left empty to commemorate relatives who had died that year. I can’t help but think about the number of households this would affect this year. However, someone recently told me that the empty seat is also left “for God” – it’s to remind us that we should all be ready to accept an unexpected guest and never turn away somebody in need. Given how perfectly it interweaves with saying, ‘a guest at home is God at home’, this tradition is one often associated with religious families. This gives an entirely different concept, and one I would like to hold on to. That through any crisis the world may throw at us, there are many among us who would still do anything and everything to help someone in need.
So while we sit to eat our Christmas dinner this year in our family group of 5, I’ll be thinking of my sister spending her first Christmas away from home. I’ll be remembering family members who aren’t around to celebrate with us. And I’ll be thinking of all those left alone this Christmas. So while travel may be restricted, bubbles mean people have to be left out, and mixing outside of those bubbles indoors is not allowed, I will leave a metaphorical chair at my metaphorical Christmas table empty for anyone who is alone or lonely this Christmas.
It’s been a long and hard one, with a few silver linings to keep us going, but hopefully 2021 will be a good year of all of us. A more somber post than I had intended, but then – who can honestly say anything has gone to plan in 2020? Join me tomorrow for what will hopefully be a more positive and uplifting Blogmas post, and don’t forget we’re watching The Holiday tonight at 10:15pm over on Twitter! Did you know this is a Christmas film I still haven’t seen?! So I’m looking forward to hopefully finding another new favourite! Will I see you there?