It's one day.
It's always the same. (Not like Passover or Rosh Hashana that change every year)
So why is there mass panic across the world?
I know I'm only referring to people in the middle-higher socio-economic groups who are grappling with the material aspect of Christmas - the gifts, wrapping, food, holidays, social get togethers etc.
The rest of the world, which is the majority will struggle no less just because it's Christmas.
All good cheer and happiness, until you try to find a parking spot at the local shops.
All best wishes and tenderness, until you really need someone to help you.
The reason for Christmas in the first place is so very lost amongst everything else. (And I say that with respect as a non-Christian)
Several bloggers have written better than I ever could about the need to catch up with everyone in your contact list (aka telephone directory) 'before Christmas' despite having caught up once all year. Each one made me laugh out loud at the ludicrously of it all. We have so few pre-xmas engagements in our diary and it was really getting me down til I decided to turn it around, and extend invitations into the NY (January and February) which people are happily accepting.
With no family with us, no guests, not celebrating Christmas in the religious sense (and being in Ireland, that's still rather odd, socially) it's easier to have a quiet one, and look forward to the NY.
The pull 'home' for a lot of people is ever strong at this time of year ... tho when you've lived away from home for a while it's fraught with anxiety. This article in the Irish Times made me smile and cry.
While we're part of the expat community and local one, it's not the same as being in Yokohama when 99.9% of the community either go home for Christmas or away on vacation. At least here, people are 'around' but busy.
I don't think I'll ever get used to not being back in Sydney for Xmas. The days are way too short; the weather is foul (unless of course it snows then it's perfect). A little bit of jealousy starts when you see pics of BBQ's and picnics, friends hanging out at other friends pools, wishing you were in the crowd at the Domain in Sydney for Carols; Sydney Harbour NYE Fireworks ...... and then of course the incredible Festival Of Sydney all thru January.
iI's our choice not to go back at this time of year and we think with good reason. - it's a realisation that everyone we'd love to catchup with and spend time with are busier than usual with end of year stuff BECAUSE it's Christmas, which is the reason we'd be there too.
It's also the main school holiday period in Australia - so many friends would actually be away, probably in Europe skiing, wishing for a white Christmas.
As wonderful as it would be for MissM to experience a Sydney Christmas - the beach, pools, Carols in the Domain, NYE on the Harbour, and just being surrounded by a gazillion family members, there's still something stopping us booking those tickets.
And what's with 'what do you want for Christmas' ?
I detest that question for so many reasons.
When MissM was asked by a friend 'what's on your wish list for Xmas' she replied, I don't have a wish list. I'm happy with whatever people might send me' aaaawwwwwww melting mother moment.
Not having a wish list does make it harder to know what she might like, however, in our house BIRTHDAYS are they one day of the year to be spoilt rotten.
If we all kept to the truth of Christmas, surely it's love, good will to all, and happiness not little Blue Boxes, and bags of goodies.
I tried to encourage our family to pool our money and make a donation to charity ...... most agreed, a few didn't simply because we live overseas they want to spoil us which is a lovely thought (but difficult when we cull so often)
So I keep telling myself, it's ONE DAY.
One day out of 365 days.
And concentrate on making it a memorable DAY of the year for MissM and G as I can with a delicious lunch that we prepare together, baking MrsS chocolate roulade she taught me in Yokohama, looking thru old Xmas/Chanukah photo albums, and Skyping with family and friends.
Best get going and wrap the presents for my two ...... and help Sydney family wrap the gifts they've sent as school finishes tomorrow