Joy to the world, it’s the most wonderful time of the year again.
Time of shoving people around with shopping trolleys to get the fattest turkey, breaking your neck to have the most twinkly bloody roof in the whole neighbourhood, wiping away tears when chopping onions at 4 am to give out a better Christmas dinner than Aunt Myrtle last year.
We all listen to Christmas songs and watch Christmas films, convinced that they truly reflect our lives. Kissing under the mistletoe, dancing merrily, sitting in front of the fire place and playing Scrabble with the whole family; finding love, falling in love, getting another chance at love, with love and Christmas all around us.
Yet, if someone had decided to capture us on screen, we would have been a horrid extravaganza of Grinches and Scrooges, bizarrely put together by Tim Burton.
The truth is that most us are so busy ‘having’ Christmas, we ruin it by forgetting what it actually means. We abandon Kevin God knows where and throw ourselves into the tornado of buying, spending, bragging and trying to be perfect, when Christmas is the complete opposite of that.
You only get it once a year for a reason, and no, I’m not talking about a ‘so you can whip up and even better pudding’ kind of reason. It should be the time for celebrating love with people in your life that are happy and healthy and deeply care for you. It’s about enjoying the little things, not obsessing over meaningless crap.
Think, how incredibly lucky you are to be able to buy that turkey. To have an oven you can roast it in. To have a house you can decorate and a family you can cook for. Some people don’t get any of this.
Only now I truly understand the meaning of an old, Polish tradition, when you leave a spare plate at your festive table. Not to show off that great deal you got at John Lewis, but to have a place for someone, who might need it that night.
It might sound like I am trying to play a Good Samaritan in this, but it’s all true.
Christmas is not a competition, but a season of appreciating what you have. When I moved out of home and came back for my first Christmas break, I found pleasure, not toil, in decorating the tree. I baked a cake for a couple living next door and watched how much happiness a small gesture, simple ‘Merry Christmas!’ and a smile can bring. I got drunk on mulled wine with my Grandma at 11 am on a market square and cherished every second of laugher I had with her.
Once it got to opening presents, I looked up from under the tree and saw – faces flushed with wine and bliss, smiling at me and each other with love from above those plates licked clean. And I didn’t have to unwrap those boxes anymore.
I already got my gift.