It seems that while there is the potential for so much grace and giving in the Christmas season, I find too that there is also the potential for loss. Loss of sanity, loss of perspective, loss of common sense (“I don’t care that it’s 50% off, the kids do NOT need another game console/stuffed animal/designer jeans/ugly Uggs…”) And, of course, the loss of my waistline.
If I lived far away from the shopping malls and the general Christmas frenzy, how would I celebrate the season? If someone peeled away the mass marketing, the shopping, and the incessant risk of personal bankruptcy, what would a Happy Christmas look like?
Family & Friends: I would want to make merry with my family and friends, to have time to reconnect with everyone in a calm, relaxed manner. We would visit each other, gather round warm hearths, and catch up. We would sing off-key renditions of Christmas carols, go outside and throw snowballs, and make snow angels. We would toast the sunrise and then stumble home to our warm down-covered beds.
Food: Certain foods, not eaten at any other time of year, are just required. These are foods basted in tradition. My husband’s family’s Swedish coffee bread -rich, delicately flavoured with cardamon – December without this staple is now unacceptable. A roast with Yorkshire pudding is divine. And, dammit, Brussels sprouts – just once a year. Candy canes -normal peppermint candycanes. There’s no hope for my waistline.
Christmas Cheer: No, not booze although there’s nothing quite like a cup of mulled wine on Christmas Eve while watching night fall (around 3 pm here in Canada). I am partial to fresh cedar boughs and sparkling faerie lights.
Music: I was raised on traditional Christmas music and now that I’m old and stodgy, it’s what I crave at this time of year. No Paul McCartney drivel (sorry, Sir Paul,but really…),no Grandma getting run over by a reindeer…and I’m sorry Dad – no Handel’s Messiah. Give me old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon with a dash of Celtic Christmas carols. No more, no less.
So, I’ve sat for a good 10 minutes and cannot come up with any more absolute requirements for a happy Christmas. I need very little, as it turns out – time with family & friends, rich food, cedar boughs, and some nice songs sung by all. According to Madison Avenue advertising, it doesn’t sound like much but it’s everything.
So make your Christmas,Hanukkah, or Whatever Else You Choose to Celebrate Happy, Happy. Don’t let the Happy get lost.