Before my Nana died, every year we would wake up early, excited about the day. We would have a special breakfast at our house. Smell the pine from the Christmas Tree. and then dress up nice and go to my Nanas house where my Dads sister’s family and his brother would meet us and some of our Nana’s sisters would also meet us.
We would sit around her lounge room and play with our toys or run around her back yard with the cousins. We would eat an amazing roast dinner, hear the same drunken speech from Aunty Carmel (one of the greatest ladies ever), play backyard cricket with our quite unfit Dad and his unfit brother. Which meant we usually did better than they even tho our Uncle is an incredible sportsman. We would eat amazing christmas pudding with coins in it and be given $2 to replace the pennys (?).
Someone would do the dishes (usually not me for some reason) then we would pile back into the car and I don’t remember christmas night at all.
When Nana died, Christmas included a lot more salad, unless we went to visit our English uncle in Brisbane. He was an amazing cook. We would also add christmas morning mass to the day. (During which i would skip out and take photos of Brisbane on my film camera. We would exchange awkward gifts (my brother an I gave a poster that said ‘boys are stupid throw rocks at them’ to my well educated cousin…. she wasn’t sure what to think) then we would have the greatest mean ever, punctuated by amazing stories and passionate political discussions between the siblings and their wives and the doctor in the family, who is very funny. Then Mum and I flew home.
When our English uncle died and I moved away, Christmases took on a completely different shape. Sometimes we celebrated on the 5th for Dads birthday as I would want to celebrate it with the 100 people I lived with in Newcastle. One year we had it Christmas eve – the day my new niece got out of hospital. We shared an amazing meal around someone elses table. We laughed and enjoyed each others company.
Last year my sister took us out into the country side where we played croquet and read and did a puzzle together. It was wonderful and chilled and beautiful BECAUSE I have an amazing family and we enjoy hanging out and eating and laughing a lot.
And THAT is why Christmas is stupid for me.
Christmas is stupid because i hate impractical presents. I am not good at getting people presents, and I don’t understand why we would get each other presents for no apparent reason. Like “Well done, you showed up to the meal… heres a prize”.
Christmas is stupid because Jesus was not old enough to have a white beard, he didn’t bring us a bag of impractical presents for showing up and he definitely died naked and alone, with no reindeers. The gift he gave with his life was much bigger and useful than the book you read once, or the chocolate you give away or the weird humourous poster your cousins gave you.
Christmas is stupid because familial love should be EVERY day. Families should feast together every week and celebrate their love as much as possible. And some of us celebrate that feast over skype every saturday morning, whilst others of us have to do it through hand written letter, but it shouldn’t be just the 25th (or 24th if your a swede)
Christmas is stupid because this year i will celebrate it with relative strangers in a place the sun has forgotten for the time being. And although I am excited for snow and I love the people I live with, I miss my family and I miss my community back in Australia and tomorrow I will be reminded of that fact multiple times.
Christmas is stupid because traditions should be recreated and not held to just because of tradition. Traditions are shared by the people they are shared by, not imposed like the colonisation of a far off summer-heavy island in the middle of the ocean.
Christmas is stupid because Australian santa should always be wearing a singlet and shorts, and he will near a lot more sunscreen than Mrs Claus thinks.
Christmas is also stupid because as discussed above – IT SHOULD BE EVERY DAY!!
I love christmas. I love food and laughter and celebration and our lives should be a feast of thanksgiving and redemption.
So last night Christmas Eve was spent watching two of the Bourne movies with my Indian friend, eating stew, crocheting a hat and then i at at a table with two new friends talking about the churches involvement in politics and how we have this innate drive towards seeking black and white answers to things that may not be black and white. I haven’t had discussions of a similar nature of late, so it was strangely refreshing, especially at the end when friendship was assured.
Christmas means a lot of different things when christmas is a gathering of different sorts of people from different schools of thought.
Then I got onto skype with two thirds of my family. It was a revolving door of laughing, learning and loveliness. My mother taught me how to make shortbread, my father taught me how he was going to teach better, which linked in with things i’ve thinking about and he also showed me the greatest couch pillows ever. My brother talked about his travels a little bit, my sister sent me a book and made hilarious faces and movements at me from the background. (i wonder wear i get my cheekiness from). It was so beautiful to be able to chat and interact with my family and still laugh and love even from the other side of the world.
Christmas is being together, even when we aren’t.
I woke up this morning and set a fire and walked over to my friends house in my track pants to be given an amazing puppet called albert and sat in a kitchen whilst breakfast was being made. We talked about friends and family and foods and experiences. We skyped a new friend about his bands website and I got to skype the other third of my family in Sydney. It was hilarious and moving to be sitting with my sister and brother in law just talking about life and love and family. My brother in law was quietly finishing off his three advent calendars to save his children from stomach ache, the found where i live on a map and we talked about culture and how it effects the communities we live in.
Christmas is a dialogue between people about people.
Christmas is stupid if we don’t do it. Christmas is about people, about who we love and live with. Christmas looks different for everyone and if it doesn’t work, maybe create something new. My family had to create something new this year and I’m glad we did, because, i love them and i thoroughly enjoyed electronically being with them.
this afternoon i get to have Korean christmas dinner with a large group of new friends and its going to be AMAZING!!
also, my parents celebrate their 38th? anniversary soon. big shout out to them.