We are just a few days away from another Christmas, and I am feeling happy. I always love Christmas. Once the first of December rolls around, I feel I can start celebrating without embarrassment, so I put up my little Christmas tree and some tinsel around the house, buy the first box of mince pies, and open the advent calendar. I eat one chocolate a day like you’re supposed to, of course. I’m a good boy.
Just doing these things – indeed, just thinking about Christmas – is enough to make me feel good. I can’t pinpoint one single aspect of the holiday: really, it’s a combination of lovely things. There’s the giving and receiving of gifts, and being allowed to overindulge a little on food without feeling guilty. There’s the whole family making an effort to do things together for a whole day. And there’s a sense of goodwill and unity that goes beyond your own household. I look forward to simply taking the dogs out on Christmas Day and saying “Merry Christmas” to everyone we meet.
I also wonder if the routine of Christmas appeals to the Asperger’s Syndrome side of my mind. Different members of my family alternate hosting Christmas from year to year, but there are still predictable rituals associated with the day: open presents in the morning once everybody’s up, receive other family members, eat Christmas dinner (always the same ingredients) in the early afternoon, and then just relax. It certainly feels comfortable in that way.
My general approach to a happy Christmas is to keep things simple; though one thing that can get a bit complicated is the shopping, which I always try to get out of the way early, sometimes before November is over. I tend to spend a lot of time overthinking what I’m going to get for my family and whether it’s something they’ll really enjoy, and ideas don’t always come easily. Granted, that’s not quite on the same level of difficulty as queuing for hours at Toys R’ Us to get a Thunderbirds Tracy Island playset, as my dad did for me once upon a time. (Thank you, Dad.) When I played the host and made Christmas dinner last year, that felt complicated too, until I was able to break it down into the different steps; I don’t think I’d have any problems doing it again, and I’ll be doing my best to help out with dinner this year.
The buildup to Christmas is fun too. I enjoy office Christmas parties; if we go out to a restaurant, I will always have the turkey option – nothing else will do for Christmas. Some years, I’ll go to a carol service, though the last one I attended had some annoying children running around, and almost caused me to miss the bus home as the singers kept carrying on just as they looked like they were bringing things to a close. I have a personal tradition of finding time to watch my four favourite Christmas films: Home Alone 1 and 2, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and the Patrick Stewart adaptation of A Christmas Carol. I usually save the latter till last, as the scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Present serve to remind me what Christmas is really about, first with the Cratchit family enjoying their goose and pudding, then with the spirit showing Ebenezer Scrooge how other people manage to take pleasure in each other’s company at Christmas, even if they’re stuck in a lighthouse or onboard a ship.
Wherever you are, I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Is there anything in particular you enjoy about Christmas? Let me know in the comments!