I love Christmas.

This is my December column (apologies to anyone who’s already read it!)

I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the lights, the feeling in the air. I even love the heat, the cooking and the last minute rushing around. Christmas is my favourite time of year.

But this year, I have made a realisation that I’m not sure about.

Christmas is full of pretence. From the moment we understand anything at all about Christmas, we are told there is a fat man dressed in red who somehow gets around the world in one night, and, despite his large girth, manages to enter and exit our homes via a chimney, which we may or may not even have.

When we are little bit older we learn to pretend we love every single thing we unwrap, from new school shoes to underwear. We learn to pretend that when Uncle Barry makes a joke, it’s funny; we learn that we must pretend we enjoy our cheeks being pinched by Auntie Ethel; and that it’s okay to hear “My, you’ve grown!” twenty times from twenty separate relatives we don’t even really remember.

When we get a little older still, we keep up the pretence that the item under the red and green wrapping paper is exactly what we always wanted. We keep pretending that we want to see that family member and spend the whole day in their company.

We pretend that it’s okay to have five extra houseguests turn up on Christmas Eve. We pretend it’s okay that our favourite wine glasses all get broken and we pretend – maybe not too successfully – that the red wine stain on our newly laid carpet will come out with a professional clean.

The world over, people are pretending for the whole Christmas season. And I wonder if that’s a bad thing.

We do it, essentially, to avoid hurting people’s feelings and keeping the peace. We don’t want to be the ones who ruined Christmas, so we grit our teeth and pretend all is well.

Yet instead of wondering why we do it at Christmas, I wonder why we don’t do it all year round. The thing with pretending is this: the longer you do it, the more it becomes your reality.

Maybe if we pretended more often to appreciate family and enjoy being with them, we would soon find we don’t need to pretend any more. If we pretended more often to not care about our material possessions, like wine glasses and carpet, we might find our priorities changing.  We just might find that our pretence turns into honesty and surely that can only be beneficial to us, our families, and our communities.

Maybe we can take a leaf out of the book of a certain baby born over 2000 years ago. Babies are nothing if not honest. And this particular baby was pretending to be nothing other than who He was.

9 thoughts on “I love Christmas.

    • As with everything, there is a balance 🙂 Sometimes, you just gotta do, what you just gotta do and go with what is right for you. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Stacy, full of joy and laughter.

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  1. I have croaked out a Thank You for some of the most icky of Christmas gifts. But now that I read your blog, I think I should be grateful for all gifts. Even that stupid, three-sizes too large nightshirt with the ugly monkey on it. My d-in-law is considerate enough that she asks me what I really want. Even my 6 y.o. grandson took his own money and went to the school store and bought gifts for everyone in the family. I don’t care what he gives me, I’ll LOVE IT! I think my most special gift, every year, is the ability to spend time with those I care about most…my son, his beautiful wife and my best friend, my two grandsons. Do not care if the turkey is dry or the beans are limp or the potatoes are lumpy. My family – they are the best gifts ever. Thanks also to God for sharing his most precious gift.

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    • You are so right, Karen – family is the best gift ever 🙂 Your little six year old grandson sounds like a complete sweetie who is obviously being parented to be a thoughtful, generous person. Don’t they say that the measure of your parenting can be found in your grandchildren? Sounds like you did a great job of raising that boy of yours 🙂

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      • I like to think that my son had a good upbringing (part by me), and I know my grandsons are getting a heapin’ helpin’ of good stuff. They have awesome parents and a fabulous MoMo.

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  2. We’re having a stripped down Christmas this year. We don’t have children, but in the past we always had a houseful. In many ways, I built our house, and particularly our guesthouse, for Christmas (well, that and Independance Day here in the US). These were the holidays when we filled every bed and cot (we have ten nieces and nephews). It was always utter chaos, with much breakage and spillage. This year my sister-in-law moved quite far away (with five of the kids), and two others are in far-flung universities. The other kids are high school age, with girlfriends and boyfriends and other places to go. It’s very quiet here this week (we live in a summer cottage community, and it’s winter). I suspect I’ll be feeling it’s too quiet this weekend, and missing the spillage and breakage and chaos. Everyone still experiencing it, do me a favor: Enjoy it. Merry Christmas, Susannah!

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    • Oh I do love a big Christmas, so I can totally relate to your feelings that it may just be too quiet this time. Still, there is plenty to be said for a quiet (more civilised!) affair for you and your wife. If I know you at all, you will still enjoy the weekend 🙂 Have a wonderful Christmas, Vaughn!

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