Christmas for me, as an only child, was always great. Every year (it seems) we’d go to Pleasant Point near Timaru. We’d get up at the crack of dawn so that we could load the trailer – custom-made by Dad. We’d set off in the dark and arrive at Caroline Bay where we’d eat chicken before moving inland where we’d set up the tent and I’d explore with the friends who turned up each year. On New Year’s Eve there’d be a concert in the camping ground where I’d dance (my usual turn) and others would sing, dance, play instruments. I’d always get a new pair of shorts and top for Xmas and sometimes some shortie pyjamas and a brunch coat. (Think 50s and 60s). Mum and I would go in tandem to the ablution block first thing in the morning and in the evening after swimming and walking the golf course, we’d cook a kind of communal dinner. The birds sang. The air was warm. The sun shone. It’s a magical thing to sleep in a tent and hear the magpies in the morning.
Each Christmas has its charm. Here I am in England with friend Max after arriving from India (a week later than planned) to snow and ice. Last year I swam in the sea at Castor Bay and had a lovely dinner with friends in Auckland.
Twice I have had larger Xmas events at my place and twice it has been stonkingly hot.
One year a friend and I went to Tolaga Bay the week before Xmas. A fabulous thing to do. Another year a friend and I had a simple lunch then dozed at my place. This year nephew George and I plan a dvd fest and pizza (he hopes).
So why, now, do I resent and dislike Xmas so much? Why do I loong to hide away? Pretend it isn’t happening?
It is, I believe, the consumerism. The packaging. The expectations. The carols. (Go to New World, they don’t play carols). The hype.
And somehow, this year, the awareness of hypocrisy and shame as the Western world seems set on anti Muslim sentiment.
Really. How can we celebrate our families and friends when so many are so destitute and so many bombs are dropped? How can we celebrate this when the environment is so hard done by and we add more plastic? Crap? And unnecessary gifts?
I like the idea of friendship. Sharing. But. Simple Christmas is for me. Avoiding malls and anywhere where children may be screaming. It’s a time to be internal. And to think about good friends.