Thinking, as I do, about why I like Christmas, I tend to come up with the same answers that most people do. You know the ones, I won’t harp on about them.
Perhaps one reason that I like Christmas is a little out of the ordinary, I’m not sure. It’s best described in the title of the post. ‘Insular’.
Christmas insulates me from the real world for a short time and I love it for that reason. The type of work I do just… stops until the New Year and my world closes in upon itself to become almost entirely about family and rest and bad TV and good books.
Through the year, the world and I are in pretty close contact pretty much all of the time. The insulating quality of this mid-winter holiday is a welcome break from all of that. Apart from some family and friend gatherings in the early moments of the holiday, it’s a quiet reclusive time and it’s enormous good fun.
One of my favourite memories of this type of Christmas insulation is quite a recent one – I would guess seven or eight years ago. The boys had got a Nintendo Gamecube for Christmas and it was a big hit. I was unimpressed with the games Santa had brought so I did some research and went out and bought 'Legend of Zelda, The Wind Waker' – for the boys, of course. Then I sat up all night playing it.
And this is my memory – 3.30am, fire dying in the grate, lights low, couch pulled up close to the television, large box of Roses to hand, playing the game. My wife and boys tucked up safe and warm in bed and my only two concerns in the world a) How to swing that little adventurer boy across the hold of the pirate ship and b) whether to have an orange or a strawberry crème next.
It probably reveals more about me than I normally do in writing but the insular moment I experienced that night remains very special to me.
It may seem odd or even a bit psychopathic to cite a memory such as this as a favourite. Where are the family moments, the revelry, the companionship? I have those too. But this one has a special place.
Happy Christmas to you all.
I wish you an insular moment to treasure.