THE rush to relax and the pressure to plan a perfect day, Christmas is always doomed for failure.
A roast meal on a scorching day and spending beyond your means, there’s irreconcilable contradictions almost everywhere you look on December 25.
There’s lots of meanings and intentions which are all pulling in opposite directions adding to the tension as the month winds up, but it’s also a culmination of the year.
The year’s achievements and losses are brought to the fore and it be a task .
A Christmas song by Paul Kelly, which doesn’t feature egregious gravy recipes starts: “It’s been a hard, hard year, pushing shit uphill, but shit happens all the time”.
Just when it happens at Christmas time, it means more, because it’s one day in 365 which demands perfection like no other.
From car-parking nightmares to navigating through pandemonium in the bustling aisles, it can be far from smooth-sailing before docking in the safe harbour of Christmas Day.
But it’s in between, and around, the fits of gluttony and faux-opulence, where there’s moments to treasure in the festive season.
It’s particularly the dates either side of December 25 where the magic usually resides.
Christmas Eve, as a young child, is the most restless and enchanting time, shaking presents listening for clues and defying the need for sleep.
As an adult, Boxing Day is truly where it’s at.
A true holiday with no pressure, where all worries can be postponed for at least a day or two.
This is when the tidal wave of comfort and joy finally breaks, after weeks and months of building.
Torn wrapping paper on the floor, picking at cold, roasted leftovers straight from the fridge (an underappreciated delicacy), cricket on, with Bill Lawry calling, and away from the commotion of Christmas Day, letting your mother know she did a good job.
Every day of the year.
The treasured moments on the day itself glimmer at first and become brighter as time passes.
It’s the time spent with family around the dinner table, laughing heartily, wearing crepe-paper crowns that’s most valuable.
If you’re going to be generous in the coming days, splash out and be lavish with your time, your laughter and your affection and let people know they’re important every day of the year.