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…the way it is.

Picture this : it’s cold outside, baby, and you’ve got the perfect country cottage-like house to overwinter the short daylight months, you’ve got a roaring fire to roast plump chestnuts and crabapples on a twig (from the garden), family harmony and incommensurable happiness sneak surreptitiously in the last night of November to fill the air with scent of gorgeous richly moist sponge cakes, cookies and delicacies, gentle music dwells in every corner of this castle of yours and you’re about to set out to fetch the tree and some gifts. You’ll maybe bring home the ingredients (rare and exotic) to build the perfect meal, to feed your loved ones with both delicate food and love. Your home resembles a Hobbit’s sanctum, where concord gently gives precedence to the joy of the forthcoming family gatherings.You can even have spent hours crafting DIY presents, putting all your heart, your talent, your creativity in that activity. You might have sewn, glued, knitted, glittered, painted, drawn, quilted,decoupaged,photoshopped, printed, framed, designed, baked, cooked, cut, for your loved ones, in the hope that they would acknowledge your efforts and be frantically happy. You may have even thought of those glorious moments months before it was Yuletide. You may have created the picture perfect home decor, worth a double page in a posh home decor magazine. The house is filled with beauty and music and your soul is ready for an immortal bliss…

That’s the fantasy.

Reality is different. You think you can readjust to the fantasy, but eventually, everything is ruined, piece by piece, bit by bit, in slow motion. The fantastic idea of Christmas gets wrecked by those tiny bitsy little nothings : the mandatory enthusiasm, the exaggerated expectations and the secret hope that Auntie Margo ( or Daddy’s new wife) will FOR ONCE be able to behave, rushing to shut up and not speak inconsequentially and thus cause embarrassment.

Firstly, you’re supposed to be happy ALL THE TIME (rejoice, it’s Christmas!). Secondly, you can’t escape “Rudolf” and his army of performers (Rejoice, it’s Christmas!) nor can  you skip the modern take on oldies goldies ( I do not know for you, but a teenage boysband style or ragga variation of “I’ll be home for Christmas” throws me into a retch state of stomach), blasting in every store, no matter the time. Thirdly, you nearly get a seizure each time you want to buy anything inconsequential such as socks or flour, because everyone else rushes into last-minute frenzy shopping (and sometimes, that’s what you do too, when you inadvertently discover that the gifts you intend to present your beloved ones might not meet their level of expectations).

Why does the Western world consciousness rush into a mandatory joy that has nothing to do with inner well being? I wondered, while I went to exchange a gift, do we have to do this in order to please one another? It would be so much easier to just share simplicity and a reflection about this time that flies so easily and brings us so rapidly to the end of (what I hope for everyone to have been)  a good year. Wouldn’t it be better to share our experiences and what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown on our personal path, seekers of harmony within so that it resonates outside? How come we still need to glue our eyes on a calendar to begin to recognize that we need to be more generous with our beloved ones and strangers? Why do we need reminders to acknowledge that we must send our cards to express our love, our care, our thoughts to those around or far away?

I prefer to express my gratitude to life every day, I try to share a bit of my grocery with the lady emaciated whose pride she has pocketed long ago when she had to extend her arm to ask for a little something that can improve her life in the street, or I give to the disheveled man standing at the lamp the change I always keep in my car instead of my pocket, or I pay for an extra coffee at the coffee shop for a less fortunate and I ask the cashier to give it to someone who could find a little solace/ peace in this hot beverage. I do that often, I do not have Xmas songs to remind me that I am not alone, and that I love my family members all year long, not just during Christmas time.

Maybe it was the rebellious inside me talking, maybe I am really fed up with Xmas lights all around and this profligacy of food and Rudolf songs….

Christmas spirit, thou shallt not vanish the 26th….

F.

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