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Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, and oddly, I’m ok about that.

The Yuletide experience was, until a few days ago, looking a dour and dreary prospect. But, roll in the advent calendar and suddenly I’m all bells, whoops and whistles. How is it that a daily pocket of chocolate is able to transform not only me, but a considerable percentage of our island nation, and no doubt the world, into giggling children?

Nostalgia is obviously at the forefront of this feeling, and drives the majority of our enjoyment of this Pagan…sorry, I mean Christian, festival. It can’t be entirely rooted in sitting around, drinking excessively whilst gorging yourself with just one more of those pig in blankets – whilst waiting for that off hand remark from your inebriated and ill tempered relative to spark a furious debate/argument and then the inevitable tears and drama as said family member apologises and later drunkenly makes acerbic remarks about ruining everyone’s Christmas whilst grinning to themselves. Though if I’m honest, this does tend to make my highlight reel.

Perhaps it’s in the exchange of presents. The giving of gifts is always going to spark goodwill amongst men, women and hermaphrodites. Again, though, is that really it?
My cousin, Lily, is eight years old, and will be joining us for much of the holiday period. Her presence means that the entire day becomes focussed on her and in entertaining her. Which frankly makes the day for everyone. Otherwise what is there to do but as I mentioned earlier – sit around making well aimed comments, looking to get a rise from your nearest and dearest?

This has lost track a little, but what I’m fundamentally getting at in a heavy handed way is.

We grin, smile and cheer for a festival that has no religious connotations to most of us. We celebrate nostalgically for childhood memories, whilst attempting to instil in the younger members of the family what you think they should be enjoying over the season, whilst doing what we can to detach their faces from their nintendo ds’. But, why bother as in twenty years time they will see the fallacy of the whole thing and will feel much as you do.

Every year I get a little more like this, and every year as December draws closer I feel a little more disillusioned with the whole affair, becoming even more vitriolic in fireside discourse. Then on the first of December, I go downstairs – pick up my advent calendar, excited and feeling like a child again and yet again it all makes sense, in that it doesn’t. It doesn’t have to, this is one of those times, when there doesn’t have to be justification, there is no need for meaning, why have a bash at the church or at family members?

In my mind the weather is, unless it snows or does something other than incessantly rain – crap. Which leads me to my conclusion. Forget everything else, Christmas serves a wonderful purpose – it breaks up the weather, gives us time off our generally tedious jobs and we get an excuse for some indulgent eating and drinking.

Merry, Merry Christmas…..

by Jim Kimber

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