See, my family kind of celebrates Christmas differently. I don't mean culture wise, I just mean... We don't even have a Christmas tree anymore unless I put it up and take it down. Actually, thinking about it, I don't think we have one in the cupboard or wherever anymore. Not even a little novelty one. No tree. At all. We don't even have decorations for the house anymore. No tinsel, no banners, no lights, none of that wicked Snow In A Can spray stuff that I used all the time. Nothing. In my house, it almost looks like we don't celebrate Christmas.
I think maybe it's just because my brother and I have grown up, and we're no longer excited about putting the tree up and everything. Well, that goes for him. I love putting up the tree and all the effort of finding an even pattern of decorations, then untangling the lights. It's all so much fun and the perfect way to put me in the Christmas spirit. Maybe it has something to do with my grandparents. They don't have a tree either, or decorations, or anything Christmas related at all. Except for those bonbon things. That's as exciting as they get. I think that's were it steams from. Mother never had a tree or lights, so maybe she doesn't feel the direct desire to put one up every year. And now, that's what my Christmas' have become, too. What a shame.
Although, in saying that, I'm incredibly lucky to have a boyfriend who's family actually enjoys displays of Christmas spirit. This year I'm spending it with his family. Mine are all over the place this year so I don't really mind skipping them this time. Half in Queensland, half in Adelaide but hidden, and my brother will be wherever his stoned butt lands him. Plus, I've had 22 Christmas' with them, they can spare one. And in actual fact, I'm super super excited for Christmas for the very time that I can remember. There's all this anticipation of something new to me, and the excitement is unbearable. Thank goodness Christmas is soon. For the first time in my whole life, Christmas is an utter total surprise to me.
My father was not the spirit kind of man. Unless, of course, you were talking about cold spirit, then he was your go-to-man. He saw Christmas as a perfectly good marketed scam to take his money away from him. And while, to some that may seem like his not materialistic, let me reassure you that's not the case. He just liked money, and lots of it, all to himself. Every Christmas was routine, and it became extra "special" after my parents' divorced. When they were together, the presents they got us were no surprise because they asked us what we wanted. When they divorced, and the custody battle had begun, father's idea to win us over was to take us to the infamous Toys R' Us store and let us run wild. If I'm not mistaken, it cost him over a couple hundred dollars and he lost the custody battle anyway. That suddenly became my Christmas tradition - "pick out what you want, and I'll buy it for you."
My mother's side to Christmas was a lot different. We wrote a letter to Santa, expressing our wishes for what we wanted, and mother would take it and go shopping. The year after my parents' divorce was the year I got my Nintendo 64. For the first time ever, my mother and grandparents actually bought my brother and I an awesome present. And I played the living shit out of that console for years. Still would if I could find the damn bloody thing. Point being, mother's Christmas' were a little more on the surprising side of things, because, although we knew we'd get something off the Christmas wish list, we weren't exactly sure what it would be. And on top of that, we'd have to have Christmas lunch/dinner at my grandparent's house, as you do. Countless amounts of food, enough to feed an army, were aligned on the table for consumption. My grandparent's weren't very good with English, or shopping for that matter, so they'd just give us $50 in a card.
This year, on the other hand, is completely different. I'm spending with someone else's family, doing their Christmas traditions, celebrating it their way, and I'm totally down for that. We're doing Secret Santa this year too ! I'm so excited to see what everyone gets each other, although I still have my shopping to do. Buying a Secret Santa present for someone you don't know is rather difficult. I'll find something wicked of course, because I'm the ultimate at getting people presents. It's just what I do. And when the day comes to celebrate Christmas with my own children, they're going to get the best presents ever. Back on topic, I'm so excited to do something new and different this year. I really am. Genuinely excited and happy about Christmas. I'm spending it with a family who enjoys each other's company even though they get on each other's nerves. I get to be apart of something bigger than myself.
Presents don't make up the whole idea of Christmas either. Just putting it out there. I would much rather a Christmas dinner with family, than receive another $50 in a card. I like spending time with a family who gets along well. I like being able to talk about what's happened in the space of time that you haven't seen each other. I love the corny Christmas jokes that always arise when one's had too much to drink. I love the food and the weather, and how it only ever feels like Christmas when those two are together. I love the silly little flashing badges you see on every second shirt, and flashing earrings dangling from every woman's ears. I love how the shops decorate their stores with enormous decorations that hang from the ceiling. I love how jolly people are, and the excited faces of children who get to see Santa. I love the colours, the lights, the carols and songs, I love everything about it. I love how Christmas brings families together, even though they might not enjoy it.
I think it's time that I got back the true meaning of Christmas. Spending time with your loved ones and enjoying each other's company. It's not about how many presents you get, or the value of them, it's just about the time you share. I wish people would hand make cards instead, and get all crafty with their presents. I think things that are made with the heart have a value that money could never understand. Memories, giggles, full bellies, drunken "I love you" speeches, poorly aimed photos, kids who play with the boxes more than the actual present, little dress ups for everyone, the absolute reassuring feeling that you're not alone, ever - that's what Christmas should be about. And this year is the beginning of an overdue, and extremely welcomed, new tradition.