Christmas Eve is upon us! You know what that means… only about 36 hours until the Boxing Day sales lunacy begins, and hot cross buns go on sale.
I was one of those “whoops I forgot something” shoppers who ventured out this morning to pick up another bottle of pesto, a different shape of pasta, bread rolls and additional chocolate (the last item being the only one not connected to Christmas feasting).
As I wandered back past the supermarket, I said hello to a lovely older gent who caught my eye. I don’t think it was Santa, but he did tell me, with a glint in his eye, that he was recently awarded an OBE.
With impeccable timing, he then announced it was for being Over Bloody Eighty.
Gosh I want to be like that when I’m OBE. Twinkle in my eye, witty line at the ready. And great legs!
I told him all I’d managed was an OBF, and I was pleasantly relieved when he picked forty not fifty.
That kind of interaction typifies what Christmas can be for us once the thrill of writing letters to Santa and counting down sleeps passes us by.
I always try to balance the frustration I feel when people seasonally lose their ability to navigate car parks, with smiling at people, letting a person with less items than I have in my basket go ahead of me at the check-out, or stopping for a quick chat and a laugh with a twinkle-eyed octogenarian.
Two days ago, as I stopped for a coffee in David Jones, I decided to pay for the coffee of the next person to sit down. I can’t remember precisely how the lady I made the offer to described it – impressive, or something like that, but the thing is, it isn’t really.
It was just a cappuccino and a yoyo biscuit.
And it wasn’t “random”, it was deliberate. Can we retire “random acts of kindness” please, and make them every day acts?
We can forget how simple it is to be kind, especially if we let all the shoulds of the “most wonderful time of the year” overwhelm us.
Isn’t that kind of backwards?
Isn’t Christmas about stopping to chat with a fellow traveller – goodwill to all style?
Isn’t it about togetherness with those we love, and those knowing, phew, we made it through another year glances we exchange?
I think it is.
I don’t know a single family where anyone storms away from Christmas lunch because there were only three side dishes, or just ham and prawns, and not ham, prawns and turkey, or the cranberry sauce was store bought.
If anyone in your family does these things, please have them contact me for a much needed arse whipping seasonal adjustment.
This Christmas, I know people who are nursing recent and raw bereavements, and not-so-recent but still raw grief.
I know people who won’t be with the one they thought they would wake up beside every Christmas morning.
I know parents navigating tricky shared custody issues, and those for whom the idea of family togetherness is enough to have them booking last minute tickets to Hawaii.
I also know people filled with Christmas joy, celebrating as families for the first time, beloved babes in arms.
There are those who will be seeing loved ones they miss like crazy all year long, and then there are all the in between folks, busy making salads tonight, chopping spuds and basting hams, checking on the pav and wrapping gifts at midnight after everyone’s in bed.
Wherever you are on the spectrum, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, even if Christmas isn’t your jam.
I want to wish you the sweetness of fond memories of past Christmas mornings with loved ones gone too soon.
I wish you strength as you “keep calm and Christmas on” in front of the kids.
I wish you friends who will text you, and say, I’m thinking of you babe, and who will bring you leftover pav on Boxing Day.
I wish you joy as you enjoy (or endure) the obligations that tomorrow brings. It’s just a few hours, and if it’s too much, I wish you the strength to remove yourself from anything that isn’t good for your soul.
I wish you quiet moments, and signs that they’re still with you, and yep, I even wish you great presents.
That’s allowed, right?
Merry Christmas my friends.
PS Please rock, paper, scissors for designated driver duties before anyone picks up a glass in celebration, and take your time on the roads.