Hallelujah! After 25 days of opening cardboard windows for a piece of milk chocolate, of running around frantically searching for present after present (seriously, I really think ‘Christmas Shopping’ should be considered a competitive sport in its own right at the Winter Olympics!) and imitating Shane MacGowan’s part in ‘Fairytale of New York’ in as drunk a fashion as possible, the big day has finally arrived. Christmas, a day where drinking excess amounts of champagne and eating large amounts of chocolate are, well, highly encouraged! Despite the stress and anxiety that precedes this day, it all works out for the best when everything builds up into one, heart-warming day of relaxation and the first of two ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ specials. GET IN! Whilst I feel that the novelty of my birthday wears off after a while, Christmas still remains as big, as camp and as cuddly as I remember. Why? It’s tradition. With birthdays, you just celebrate over and over again the day you were conceived! Yet, with Christmas? Well, we’re celebrating quite a lot of things simultaneously. My heart goes out to religions such as Judaism and Buddhism who don’t celebrate this day, you’re missing out on a cracking night. Regardless, I really wish to capture the true meaning of Christmas in this article because I’m sure you’re as sick to death of people posting pictures of their half-eaten Christmas dinners onto Facebook as I am! Though, coming from a sort-of Catholic family, I want to show you why Christmas is ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ as well as the aftermath of the Coca Cola mascot distributing goodies into our living rooms. Let’s festive this blog up!
Ahhhhh tradition. Personally, I like to see the idea of tradition as being like each person’s taste to a brussel sprout – subjective. To some, they taste like baby cabbages and in fact go down quite the treat, *mmmmmm*. To others? Well… my friend has a hate for brussel sprouts, I’ll quote him when I say that ‘they taste like dried farts wrapped in a deceptive coat of green’. Two very different answers there! It’s just the same with tradition, particularly Christmas tradition. If I were to ask five different people what their Christmas tradition was, I’d quite possibly get five different answers. Unless they were the five remaining members of my family, that is! Tradition may be different from family to family, but it remains the same from generation to generation , a bit like an iPhone. Once you gain it, you only ever so slightly tweak it, or else it wouldn’t be called tradition! In one way or another, we want to create the perfect Christmas, again. It’s something we say year on year, a tradition. This phrase wants to run through our heads at night time as we sleep for the Boxing Day Sales:
That was the best Christmas ever…
Christmas may have become commercialised; though, let’s face it, it wouldn’t feel the same without leaving mince pies and carrots beside the fireplace at midnight, waiting in anticipation as St. Nick/my Dad eats the mince pies and the reindeer/the bin eats the carrots. What makes Christmas are just the little pieces of tradition that go along with it. Opening presents at as early a time as possible (not quite to the liking of the rest of the family), watching Home Alone, a Christmas film that has quite likely been watched umpteen times before Christmas; stuffing our faces with Christmas dinner and the occasional selection box, watching the Queen’s Speech and a host of other Christmas specials (*ahem*, Doctor Who)… I really could go on till about New Year’s Day with the rest of that list! We make Christmas our own Christmas with the little things which make up our own tradition.
Yet, that’s just one side of this chocolate coin covered in golden tin foil.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS! Whilst it may be Coca Cola’s time to shine as they sent their mascot all across the globe last night, it is in fact the day where God’s mascot was sent to us in the form of a young, vulnerable child on Earth. That’s the only casual blasphemy in this post, I swear! The Greatest Story Ever Told is a tradition in itself, a story we’ve been told since we were little kids. Heck, you might have even been in a nativity play in primary school (Me? A shepherd, clearly the best of the three)! Though, unlike the festive tradition we all know and love, this one remains the same for every single person. In no story will you find Jesus being born at the local NHS hospital, or Mary and Joseph asking if they can stay the night at a local ‘Premier Inn’ – oh no, sir/madame, the Christmas story is just as you remember it. Christmas came from this story. In fact, it is this story, Christmas even has ‘Christ’ in it, that must count for something!
The sad truth is, it isn’t as captured as its commercialised counterpart is. We captured the spirit of that Christmas a long time ago. Being a good Catholic, I attended/played violin in this morning’s Christmas mass, an event which I struggled to recollect as *shuffles collar nervously* I haven’t been to one in a long time. After a bit of the old praying and consuming Jesus’ body and blood, as you do, the priest told us a little story. Last night, he was visited by a man with news and a story to tell. Before you panic, it wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, he would have just marched straight through the door without question if it was! Instead, it was a man dressed as a Santa and… didn’t fulfill that stereotype we’ve all grown to know. Sure, he had the boots, the suit and the facial hair, but… he wasn’t all that jolly! He was saddened as he saw that people were beginning to lose the true meaning of Christmas. The priest agreed, wondering if the man had any tricks up his sleeve to recreate the message. He didn’t exactly have anything up his sleeve BUT, he did have presents in his big old sack to get his point across. What would the man in red be without them? From the bag, he pulled out three gits which I’m certain you’ll have seen before.
- Present – whilst we might see this as a PS3 or a new pair of Converse, this Santa believed that whilst it represents our generosity to others, it also represents that Jesus was God’s gift to the world to save the world from sin. Yet Santa puts coal in our stockings when we’ve been naughty? Some people, eh…
- Holly Branch – a rare species in the festive kingdom that is our household on the 25th of December. It may not be so obvious, but the leaves on this can be quite painful if you ever decide to prod them! This spiky leaf represents the crown of thorns that J-man in time will wear on the cross, whilst the berries represent the blood that he will shed for us. *Yuck*, I know, this wasn’t his most pleasant of gifts!
- Christmas Lights – more often than not, this is a source of nibbling for my cat rather than a source of light for the tree! The heat emitted presents the warmth to last us through winter, whilst the light presents how Jesus was the light of the world, to guide us all. I think we’ll make that Strike 3? GET ON YOUR SLEIGH, SANTA, J-MAN HAS WON CHRISTMAS!
Personally, I feel that we can appreciate both of the traditions of Christmas. Without either of them, there wouldn’t even be the Christmas we have today! What’s important is that we remember its true meaning – to share with others, to appreciate how lucky we are for what we have and that whilst Christmas may end tonight? We’ll be scoffing on those selection boxes for many, many months to come. Have a Merry Christmas everyone! This post is my present to you – for technical reasons I couldn’t wrap it, I’ll work on that…