Christmas; portrayed by timeless Hollywood classics as an occasion for loved ones to exchange wrapped gifts and to fondle within the seemingly flawless snow that decorates the joyful landscape. Of course – just like the typically cliché explosions in every action film released – this is not an accurate representation of the Christmas that we all know and cherish. For my family, Christmas is a celebration of overcooked food and forced hours of conversation among anti-social siblings.
Let us look upon Christmas from the different perspectives of my awkward, yet festive, parents.
Dad: the man of the house aka. a young boy at heart who can’t wait to try out his only son’s newest gaming system once said son is in bed. Despite not being a child himself for a good thirty years now, there is no denying that dad enjoys the spirit of Christmas just as much as a toddler finally appreciating their presents. Sure, he may not believe in Father Christmas any longer and he now understands the financial struggles surrounded the holiday, but he gets to relieve the childhood joys each year with his four children. Whilst his three daughters unwrap their expensive presents (from iPads to a brand new bicycle) and as his son teases the family dog with wrapping paper, he forgets the money spent and the sleep he lost because he has supplied his family with yet another memorable Christmas day.
Mum: the unstoppable of cooking aka. a traditional woman with her own festive twists. Whilst some families allow their children to unwrap all their gifts from ‘Santa’ all in one, mum enforces the tradition that the presents spread out of the Christmas sacks be opened in the morning and the stocking presents are saved for the evening – once everyone is stuffed on Christmas turkey, of course. Now this may be a tradition adopted by other households, mum is a fan of another tradition the house has created throughout the years. Each year she will get her creative juices flowing and a piñata for the festive day will be created, bringing competition and laughter to the day when the surprise of new toys has died out.
Even though each Christmas is full of sibling squabbling, the burning of various vegetables, a bombsite of a living room and exhausted parents dealing with overly energetic children, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without its ups and downs.
So what if the gravy is too lumpy? Mum gave her day away to prepare a large meal especially for you.
So what if the TV is taken over by a new video game? You have different presents to satisfy you until next year.
So what if the homemade piñata wasn’t strong enough to hold up until you got your turn? At least your siblings share their winnings.
So what if you were woken up far too early? Dad was awake hours before, convincing his youngest daughter that 5am is too early for presents.
Christmas celebrations and traditions differ across the world. If you were to look into the homes of each family around the globe, you won’t find a single home that agrees on what the perfect Christmas is. Whilst some may believe the perfect Christmas is having a roof above their head and a hot meal for just one day, others might say that the perfect Christmas is bringing their family together in one place.
For me? The perfect Christmas is every Christmas. Ever year my mum will prepare the perfect roast and a filling buffet for the late evening, my dad will enthuse about our perfect presents as if he asked Father Christmas for them himself and my siblings and I will squabble over the smallest of things even though we have perfect parents who spoil us.
My perfect Christmas is one with my family and our quirky traditions. It isn’t about the presents we give, or the presents we receive, it’s about spending the time together with a hearty roast and a homemade piñata.