My relationship with Christmas is odd, to say the least. It’s a strained, sometimes idyllic and oftentimes bitter thing we got going on. I, being the child of claymation specials and Charlie Brown Christmas, am perpetually excited for Christmas time. I play Christmas music in July in anticipation and I inundate myself and usually everyone around me with holiday cheer. Gingerbread cookies? Check. Christmas cards? Check. Caroling? Check. But every year, since I was about seven or eight, Christmas always fails me. I always hope for a big Home Alone-esque Christmas where there’s a huge family epiphany that we all love each other, and I get what I materially and emotionally wish for. But each year I just get depressed come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I compare Christmases, it’s stupid, I know but I can’t help it. Coming from a group of friends who all have Norman Rockwell and Bing Crosby, true-blue Americana Christmases it leaves very little room for my Asianified stoic Christmas. I am Santa’s biggest fan and the Grinch all rolled into one.
But somehow each year my faith in Christmas is replenished, holiday scars fade and Christmas and I begin anew. So this year’s Christmas was no different–big hopes, little faith.
This year I spent Christmas with my aunt and uncle in Spa, Belgium. And I had no idea what to expect and it turned out unorthodox but great. I ate Christmas Eve Dinner, which consisted of a half fondue half grilled meal, with my aunt, uncle, cousin and her boyfriend before going out clubbing with my cousin until about 4AM. I spent Christmas Day making phone calls, checking Facebook, eating salami and cheese sandwiches, and watching TV online–an otherwise typical day in my life. And surprisingly I wasn’t depressed, a tinge of sadness here and there, but overall much better than any Christmas in a long time. And then I realised that it was because I didn’t have any expectations and therefore none were not met. I was just happy to be able to spend it with my (extended) family and enjoy my time left in this fantasy adventure I’ve been having abroad. I think, if nothing else, being abroad has taught me to be grateful for the here and now–new friends, new places, new experiences–that all go as quickly as they came. So for now, Christmas and I are on good terms and hopefully I’ll remember this revelation come this same time next year.
The title of this blog comes from the song by The Pogues about a very unconventional and oddly endearing Christmas scenario. Despite its happy melody, the lyrics are a bit dark and remind me of sad Christmases past and better ones to come–its my new favorite Christmas tune.
Boxing Day, December 26th, is named thus because traditionally the day after Christmas churches would open the alms boxes and the proceeds would be distributed to the poor and the needy.
There are volunteers who live in the North Pole who answer letters to Santa each year. It warms my heart and makes me want to move there.
Happy Christmas y’all.