While there are plenty of ‘regular’ ways of doing the festive period, there’s no reason why we can’t invent new traditions. Here’s a few I especially like.
The Christmas Eve muster. This was a feature of my teenage, and hosted by a friend, who would round up lots of people for a big present exchange. A good evening with friends, a dash of alcohol, plenty of chocolate and much merriment, to be followed by walking home late at night. Being teens, gifts were far more about cunning and insight than about spending lots of money, and I loved that about it.
The Christmas Pie. I grew up vegetarian, back when that wasn’t at all fashionable. “But what do you have on Christmas day?” was a question that came up a lot. My Gran used to make a huge mushroom pie, thick crust, lots of egg, lots of mushrooms… being around while she made it was part of childhood Christmas. This year, having reverted to being vegetarian, I’m making the huge festive eggpie. It’s not the same as hers. I can imagine her at my shoulder saying things like “well, I’d never have put that in it!” I also love the Christmas puddings – made mine back in November. Great Grandmother apparently used to boil hers in the copper boiler used for doing the washing!
The Boxing Day walk. Which should for best effect involve a pub and a pint of beer. With all the snow this year, it promises to be much fun indeed.
There’s no need to conform to any of the ‘normal’ ways of doing this… no need to eat large amounts of dead creature if that doesn’t appeal to you, no need to be drunk, or eat yourself sick. There’s no reason to spend the day flopped in front of the television, or to shop yourself into near insolvency. Christmas is a good excuse to spend time with people you like, doing things you enjoy. It’s also a time that brings tensions to the fore, digs up old grief and can bring out the absolute worst in people. We can choose what we do to each other at this time of year, as at all others.
In the past, Christmas has been a time of stress, anxiety and misery for me. This is the first one in a long time that I’ve actively looked forward to.