Is the crescendo to Christmas getting ever louder with each passing year or is it just that as we age from childhood to adulthood, like the latest Pop music, events that have an element of excitement become less tolerable and therefore very different from ‘when we were young’?
From around Bonfire Night or to be less politically correct and trendy, Guy Fawkes Night, one of my sons activated his Countdown to Christmas app and was chomping at the bit every bedtime to tell me how many millions of seconds there were left until the Big Day. So it is little wonder that by the time the Big Day did arrive, he was surviving on the vapours of sleep and looked like he had received an early Christmas present from Father Christmas in the form of miniature sacks of coal that resembled his eyes!
But the day duly arrived and to exercise my damage limitation exercise, the stockings had been strategically placed in my sons’ bedrooms and the larger sacks downstairs with strict instructions that there were not to go down without parental attendance lest they should disturb the big man and turn him to stone. So far, these instructions have been adhered to quite successfully!
When bedtime eventually came round, after a helping of the Christmas Day Dr Who and a mixed assortment of cartoons recorded from the previous 2 days, both sons chorused it was the best Christmas Day ever. Given our somewhat depleted family numbers and lack of invited guests, I concluded that statement was pretty much based on their present stash rather than any feeling of goodwill towards men, women, children, dogs, budgies, etc.
My youngest said he wished Christmas happened every day and other than thinking to myself that is why I based one of my Adventures of Charlie stories on that wish, I reminded him about the vast quantities of food consumption and preparation that would have to happen.
However, it did get me thinking, OK it wouldn’t be right to have Christmas presents, huge amounts of food and drink and vast sums of money being spent everyday, but there is an element of Christmas that really could be repeated over and over with no cost to either your bank balance or your waistline and it is also a part that is sometimes a little neglected and I confess my guilt before you accuse me of not practicing what I preach.
I am of course talking about the ‘goodwill to all men’ bit; because whatever your faith or belief, there really is something that quivers quietly in the corner of your mind, something that says ‘come on, it’s only once a year, why not reach out and touch someone? Make a difference even if it’s just a very small one’.
And if you can do it on one day, then why not another and another? Maybe every day is too big an expectation but surely more than once a year.
So if you made the effort to phone an elderly relative or friend over Christmas or perhaps you sent your annual card to a friend you haven’t seen in years and the only reason you send it is because that’s what you’ve done for the last dozen years; why not phone that person again in the New Year and maybe again in February and why not fix a date when you could meet up or visit them?
Our world has shrunk and Social Media has meant we can now ‘speak’ to people we would never have thought about let alone imagined exchanging pleasantries, but for all our hi-tech and have it all now at the touch of a button life, there really is nothing like that old fashioned human contact, whether it’s a phone call, meeting for a coffee or dropping in for a chat and if you still insist on using technology, why not start using Skype? I never have, but I understand it’s a great way to stay in touch and actually see the person you are speaking to.
So I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas and that the spirit of Christmas may continue to live on and thrive as we hurtle into 2013.
My son has already started to work out how many billions of seconds there are until 25 December 2013 but I’m hopeful this will fade as the prospect of the interim birthday looms on the horizon.