Saturday, 26 January 2013

Christmas and New Year


I've not done a blog post since last year! (Okay, in just over a month really, but the year separation is a bit more dramatic).

I've had a blog post like this in my head for a little while now, and didn't actually get around to starting it earlier in the year, so while it feels a little bit overdue, then it being my first blog post of the year I'm gonna indulge a bit ;)

Christmas. A time for presents, gifts, late night, last minute shopping, the playing of Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" aggressively in every bloody shop and on every bloody radio station up and down the country...of Christmas films on telly and in cinemas, Christmas Specials, and more...

Christmas sort of snuck up on us this time around, didn't it? I thought it was just me (I'd been away in Kenya during October/November and had consequently missed Halloween, which I suppose is the holiday in between that takes you through to Christmas), but it didn't really feel like Christmas as early as normal.

Here's a little picture I took on the Southbank back in December :)
I dislike the idea that gets batted around this time of year that Christmas has 'lost it's meaning'. That we've become too obsessed with presents and gifts and all that stuff that we don't think with regard to what Christmas is all about (whether religious or not).
My personal belief is that at it's core, Christmas is about spending time with the people you love and cherish, and beyond that  the decorations, the trees, the music, the shopping, the snow (if we're bloody lucky), and actually, though people complain about the whole thing being commercialised, I think that it does become part of the charm.

What worried me though, regardless of the fact that most people seemed to be feeling the same, was that this lack of anticipation and excitement as the day drew ever closer was that I had become disillusioned with Christmas - not through any particular reasoning, but I just wasn't feeling it the way I normally do.

But as a matter of fact, in the end, this Christmas just gone was in some ways one of the most Christmassy of Christmasses I've ever experienced. (You can tell it was from the amount of times and variations of the word 'Christmas' I used in that last sentence...)

I had an absolutely amazing birthday (8 days before Christmas), culminating in a meal with some of my best-loved school mates:

For a birthday, a day spent like that is ideal. For a time so close to Christmas, it fits perfectly :')

On the family front, we spent Christmas Eve together with my Granny, Christmas Day having a lovely lunch in West Sussex with all manner of relatives, later that week we had drinks with the cousins, and finally spent New Year's Eve with my Aunt, Uncle, and other Grannie :)

I also experienced something on Christmas Day that I hadn't really before. On Christmas Eve, Example tweeted something about receiving hundreds of texts from people who don't otherwise text you on Christmas Day. Sure enough, on Christmas Day, I had dozens of texts and messages from people who I hadn't heard from in a while, or don't hear from very often, wishing me a Merry Christmas. I too, decided to get in on doing the same. It's a bit of a generational thing I guess, but it gave a great feeling of togetherness and being around people you love in spirit, even if you're not with them on the day.

Finally though, I did something a bit new on New Year's Day.
In the very early hours of the morning, I began sending messages out to people to wish them a Happy New Year - I've occasionally done this if I'm already in online conversation with someone as the clock strikes twelve, but just before going to bed, with some people who I saw in the little side bar on facebook, I decided to wish them a Happy New Year, and to thank them for the year I'd had.

2012 was a pretty great year for me. It was a time of a fair few things coming to an end, of course - a lot of 'end of an era' sort of stuff to do with school, but it was also the beginning of new things. I forged new friendships, and strengthened existing ones that had been there for years, or simply a short time.

So, at about 2:00 in the morning, I thanked some of these friends for all they do and have done for me. It just felt good.
I'm a sentimental and loving person in general, and so I like an excuse to express how I feel about people, but conflicting with that is a feeling of needing an occasion so that it's not just out of the blue, and I have to say, if you want to be thankful to people, Christmas and New Year is as good a time as any.

Really, it's a lovely thing to do at any time, but my advice to you would be this: when New Year comes around again, let some people know how much you appreciate them. Tell them how much you care and love them.

Despite the fact that some people say 'humbug' to Christmas being centered around presents in some peoples eyes, I'm not sure that's such a bad thing.

Because the pleasure I have felt from giving out presents this year - physical, or just in my thanks, is all worth it just for the reaction and the smiles on peoples faces, that make you feel amazing.

Happy New Year