Christmas is a time for celebration. A respite from the tedium imposed by the burden of yuletide preparation and frantic work commitments. To revel in the annual festive traditions of Turkey, novelty jumpers, the jingle of bells, Die Hard, consumerism, saccharine John Lewis adverts, alcoholism, stockings, suspenders and all the trimmings commonly associated with this contorted religious festival. Christmas, until you reach that inevitable point of cynicism in your life, is the most magical time of year. A gleeful beguilement that is only rejuvenated by the mercurial derangement of your own children. Only through the vicarious delirium of children can you even hope to evoke that same sense of wonder you experienced as a child. But you’re also reminded of just how fortunate you are to have your family there to remind you of how great this time of year can be.
I have always been somewhat withdrawn, favouring the hospitality of my own inimitable company. Even when I’m coerced into social situations I can exchange pleasantries and engage in inane chit chat for short periods, before my limited interest wanes. Nothing gives me as much pleasure as the mere prospect of having time, as well as my home to myself. But the possibility of spending Christmas on my own is a depressing notion. Though there is a critical distinction between being alone and being lonely, Christmas presents a unique convergence of the two. And it’s in realising that being surrounded by your family, at a time of year notorious for inflicting such crippling despondency, is offset by their presence.
Most people take for granted just how fortunate their lives are. They find themselves aggrieved by mild irritants and asinine concerns, rather than appreciate what they have. Me, I have no such obstructions. I know how fortunate I am to have found anyone that can tolerate my misanthropic proclivities the way my partner does. I don’t want to refer to our meeting as providence, because that would imply that we had no control over our meeting. But there was such a coincidental set of circumstances that ultimately introduced us to one another that it does seem almost destined. Though I won’t go into details, it is staggering to me the unique set of circumstances that culminated in our paths overlapping. People will tell you that this kind of preordained convergence doesn’t happen every day. But it does. It’s just that some people lack the perception to see it. Which does make our daughter a rather miraculous creation. And I take great comfort in that.
As I sit here, gut swelling from the excessive consumption of stuffing, chocolate and beer. A generic Christmas movie reaching it’s final, saccharine conclusion, surrounded by warmth of my family, I reflect on where I could be and realise that though life is rarely perfect, it could be a whole lot worse.