The year I fell in love with Christmas

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As I stand in the light of the flashing tree, mulled wine in hand and the box of Celebrations in the corner staring me down, I start to realise that actually, I don’t hate Christmas too much.

Boxes on boxes of decorations used to send shivers up my spine, but this year I was disappointed when I arrived home and found my family had already dressed the Christmas tree and put up the lights outside our house. “It is mid-December Caitlin,” my Dad said.

Luckily, this year I’m not so much of a grinch, even though I might start to look a bit green after eating too much chocolate. It started when I found myself watching those hallmark Christmas films on the TV just out of curiosity and felt a warm space in my heart (No, it wasn’t the chocolate).

Everyone has their favourites, Elf, Home Alone, or even Die Hard; although, if your favourite festive film is Die Hard, you probably aren’t very festive at all. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation reminds me of laughing around the TV and the Snowman makes everyone a bit weepy on Christmas Day. Let’s not even begin on the Christmas adverts that march their way onto TV at the start of November. Even though they’re the same year in, year out, they never get old. Maybe it’s because we can only watch them together at Christmas.

This year, though, is the year I’ve felt everyone get older. Christmas begins to mean less about Santa coming on his merry way and of more about a good excuse to spend time with the family, especially when it starts to become limited. In the past year, I’ve seen more than a few members of my family pass away or receive bad news. Knowing that anything could be coming around the corner makes enjoying the time together slightly easier.

Getting together means cooking up a big feast in the form of a roast dinner. It’s no joke at Christmas; cooking for the dinner which is an average 957 calories may as well be a military operation in the family. We’ve had turkey, duck, chicken and many other meats, but at the end of the day all of its gone. Desserts for days and a cheese board to finish, the food is just an excuse for everyone to indulge silently with each other. When thinking about it, it’s not the dinner that’s the biggest problem on my stomach as the 300 million mince pies eaten over the festive season by the UK. Snacks and cravings are my weakness. It is Christmas after all.

Concerning Christmas presents, I was asked whether I preferred to give gifts or receive them. I hate running around to get my presents, and I envy those that have it done months in advance, so giving is only satisfying when you know they’re going to love it. I like to receive them but it’s quite awkward when you have everyone staring you down.

Another thing I will keep my grumpiness on is Christmas cards. This isn’t just a Christmas exclusive though, all greetings cards are stupid. They only get thrown away once the day is over and you have to spend five hours writing out from family to family. 45% of all greeting cards that are sent are Christmas related, but how many of these are that meaningful? The record for the highest amount of Christmas cards sent by one person in a year is 62,824 cards. I’m sure that one person put a heartfelt message into every single one of them.

These negatives are things I can disregard. Card-sending and gift-giving isn’t too painful when you’re surrounded by people you love. It’s a season of stress and panic, but it makes it worth it when your family surround a massive Christmas turkey like an annual festive cult.

This year, I’ve seen Christmas as less of an energy-wasting event and more of a time to celebrate the people around you. No, gift-giving is not the best part, neither is the decorating or the movies. Although those things are great, my favourite part of Christmas is everyone sitting around the Christmas table and making sure that every person gets a hat out of the cracker- even when you’ve won twice.

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