There are some things about Christmas that I love and hate. I feel it is very over rated and filled with fleeting sentiments which descend in December for a few days, then are gone again, like a cloud across the sun. Maybe its the commercial aspect of the season that turns it into stress or the forced jollity and social gatherings that would never take place otherwise turn it from pleasant into unpleasant.
Before I'm considered a complete Scrooge, I have to state that there are good aspects of the season too. The ancient winter solstice gives people time to relax a little and reflect on the year that's past and what is to come in the future. Gatherings of families are rarer, as people are scatted to the wind these days in all corners or the world and Christmas is more often spent on the telephone or on some computer video messaging program rather than in person.
The lights that accompany the season brighten dark winter nights and roads and gardens look deserted and so dark again when they are taken down in early January.
My season has been quiet as most years are, but more so this year as I scaled back Christmas. And the thing that I noticed most of all is that I enjoyed the scaleback. No big indoor tree, no masses of decorations all over the house, no huge turkey with a month's worth of leftovers, no fruitcake. Oh all the traditional food was there, but just not in quantities enough to feed an army. For once, I don't feel as if I've eaten too much at any point. Chocolate consumption has been minimal and I have a bottle of Madeira that hasn't even been cracked open yet.
I went to a Christmas party on Christmas Eve and people watched as I sipped my wine. I watched and thought how child-like adults become at Christmas, with behaviours that we would not tolerate in children. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and tongues in adults. Children simply are born without any social restraints and have no need to imbibe to return to any previous form of behaviour.
I do not deny people their pleasure or celebration of a season that may or may not have any Christian religious significance, however, I think if I could let it pass by without my participation, I would not miss it much. However, it is rather difficult to do that, as the world pulls you along with it into the season, whether you go willingly or unwillingly.