I had an epiphany yesterday.
What if we all started to celebrate Christmas early this year?
I’m thinking we start now, and we all start making decorations, we get our homes filled with lights and colours, we start baking some goodies, we get the mistletoe up, and we start getting festive.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve even started watching cheesy Christmas movies, and I find myself soaking up all the warm and fuzzy, feel-good chemicals that come from a happy ending and a bit of love and romance.
I guess if I’d wanted crime, political intrigue, tales of lies and corruption, to be scared out of my mind, I’d just watch the news. I try to relax with something that actually makes me feel good. This just makes sense.
I should say, this is completely out of character for me. Christmas is usually a time of year I dread, and mostly avoid, except for doing something for charity and going down to Exmouth beach to watch the swim.
This year though, I’ve been inspired by a friend of mine Claire, who goes “all out” for Christmas and starts getting excited around September. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she spends all year looking forward to it. I think we all need a bit of that enthusiasm at the moment surely?
I remember being back in India and the Divali celebrations (the festival of lights) being so magical. All the light and colour brought joy, happiness and something really special each year. It was like Disneyland for all the family, and a feast for the eyes.
When I spoke to my class this morning, I asked them how it was back in the UK.
“Gloomy”, was the answer I got, almost unanimously.
So I tried to bring some colour and light to their day, but I knew it needed more.
I’m thinking making personalised stockings, gingerbread houses, tree decorations, and putting lights everywhere! What has happened to me?
I realise that I might be missing home, and all the things I used to avoid, I’m feeling oddly nostalgic about.
Walking around Dubrovnik the other day, I saw the lights going up on the Stradun, and I wondered who was going to be switching them on and whether I should go along. Then I had a longing to be in Topsham or Exeter with friends, drinking mulled wine, wearing furry boots, woolly hat and scarf, and feeling all romantic.
I guess that’s not going to happen this year for many of us, as we face quite a different kind of Christmas that we are perhaps used to.
In many ways, some of the pressure is taken away, expectations will be less, and I certainly hope that we realise that it’s not about the giving of presents, but more about presence. Maybe we start to see that “less is more” and that the making of the stocking is more important than the monetary value of the goods that go in it.
Maybe we will come to appreciate the value of human connection, of love, and of taking care of one other, and remember what Christmas is all about.
One thing is for sure. We could do with something to celebrate right now. An array of light and colour around us surely isn’t going to go amiss. And if all else fails, the movies are there to remind us that miracles can happen at Christmas.