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 Р3.30am, 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 cr̬me 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.


Susan at Stony River said...

Oh boy, the *best* part of Christmas I think; we get to shed our everyday selves for a while and be a kid again... a kid who can drink rum punch and stay up as late as he wants! LOL It's magic.

For me it's in the decorating; I send everyone out Christmas shopping one day, and have the house to myself (rare now that Himself is laid off) and can decorate it full of all my favourite ornaments and family memories -- and then I can even enjoy it for a while, just me in what is only *my* house for a few blissful hours, before they all come home to wreck it. It's all downhill for me from there LOL

I hope you have joyful moments in plenty this Christmas Ken! Happy holidays!

Jim Murdoch said...

No, I get it. One of the things I always found myself doing on Christmas Day in my teens was wandering the streets which were always especially empty. I liked the aloneness I felt. I didn't feel lonely although I did feel apart which I felt every other day but Xmas always brought that feeling to a head so I'd go out looking for inspiration but I have to say I can't rememebr ever finding any. I guess my muse was away visiting her family. Maybe that's when I stopped believing in her.

Have a happy time, Ken, alone or not.

hope said...

Time is a gift we can only give ourselves...and it means pulling back for a moment to savor it alone. I know. I'm doing that right now before all the merry breaks loose. :)

Here's wishing you and the ones you love the best Christmas ever and a peaceful New Year!

Rachel Fox said...

I just had a series of insular moments out walking the dog - Xmas Eve, everyone else doing something Xmassy, huge grey clouds, patchy icy snow, just me and small dog wandering along. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Ken - Merry Christmas to you as well. I loved the nintendo memory. My kids got a Wii a few years ago and we stayed up half the night becoming golf pros. My work too lets me have a little cocoon of inactivity near the end of the year. Have a great 2010.

Laura Brown said...

Just wanted to drop in to say Merry Christmas before it is all over for you already. Funny time zones!

Merry Christmas! Season's Greetings!

Elisabeth said...

For me now on Christmas Day morning before the rush begins, two minutes of insularity before I have to help my husband truss up the turkey. What better way than to spend it reflecting on your blog post among others. I too love the fact of being able to stop and be quiet, but for us this doesn't happen until the end pf today and then the holiday begins.

Enjoy your quiet time.

Gargantua said...

I agree with you Ken, that Christmas is insular. The bustle of the office quietens. Most folks take vacation time during Christmas - not me. I love being in the office when there is no one else around.

Laura said...

I did something like that this year. My Christmas gifts were a pair of warm socks (which are great cause my old in house socks died - too many holes) and two boes of chocolates. On Friday after my brother and his girlfriend dropped me off at home after the Christmas party and big family breakfast gathering, I played computer games for hours. I played until I was actually getting sick (or at least full) of chocolates. But they were good and it was just how I like spending a family holiday. I give time to the family yet I really like the afterwards time to myself.

Unknown said...

I hope you had a good Christmas, Ken. And honestly, whatever holiday memories are favorites, are good ones. No guilt or analysis required. :)

Canucklehead said...

Big Zelda fan here! Anyway, I hope your holiday season was/is once again insular and all the best in 2010. CHEERS!

Anonymous said...

I Love the holidays and all the parties, decorations and festivities and fun they bring. I especially like how are family approaches Christmas because we celebrate the whole month of December. My job kind of winds down for the last couple weeks and I can relax with my husband and step daughter. But this year was different. My mom passed away on the 20th I flew 'home' and was away from my Christmas of choice. However because we have good 'spirit' my brothers and sisters and I rallied and we made for a good time.
when I returned after my mother's funeral, then we celebrated with the earthly gifts and the physical gift of being together was all the more precious.