Glad Tidings: A Joie-Ful Christmas

I often look around at Christmas time (or to be as politically correct as possible, the holiday season) and wonder just why I love it so much. I mean, it doesn’t have a whole lot going for it: it’s cold, it’s usually grey, everyone’s bubbly and annoying, and my house gets packed with family and I usually have to end up sleeping on a couch – not the pull-out one. So really, why is Christmas all it’s stacked up to be?

First of all: the cold could be worse. I’m from Vancouver. We don’t really experience cold or snow. It’s a lot of rain, which makes the day worse than it already would be. Everyone being bubbly and annoying leads to frustration in most cases. The angry shoving when someone gets in the way of your shopping cart as you walk through Costco buying your Christmas crackers. The angry honk as you desperately try to get out of the parking lot at the mall because the only place they have that one perfect gift for your dad is at the store an hour’s drive away and you totally don’t want to tackle that in this stupid weather. The angry glare as you see someone picking up the last box from the store an hour away and you realised you just wasted your whole damn day finding that one perfect gift. The angry yell as you get back to your house, only to find your mom already bought the goddamn perfect gift for your father, and you now have no clue what to buy him so you end up buying a tie. Or a screwdriver.

As for the family in my house, that’s a blessing and a curse. Seeing family after so long is always fun. You catch up on old times, find out exactly what they’ve failed at in the past two years, and you get made fun of by your cousins for having yet another girlfriend. As long as your dad and your mom’s sister don’t get in a fight, this should be a good couple of days. But you know what they say. Family is like fish – it starts to stink after three days. So by the time December 28th rolls around, they had better be the hell out of there, because you don’t want to share your beer and champagne on New Years Eve. And just for the record, I actually find our actual pull-out couch kind of comfortable. The normal couch, however, is the upholstered equivalent of a nice hunk of rock.

So once again, why do I love Christmas so much? It’s an over-commercialised, over-hyped, misunderstood holiday that a vast majority of my friends hate. The only reason they love it is because they see their high school friends, a group of people that I, personally, have slowly lost contact with over the past three years. If anything, the only thing that makes me reluctant to return to BC is the fact that I won’t have as many friends as I do here.

I think I love Christmas for the same reasons I hate it. I love it for the desperate, last-minute, over-priced gifts. I love it for the turkey, and the Brussel sprouts pan-fried in bacon, the stuffing, the potatoes. I love it for the genuine excitement that I still feel opening presents, even if it’s my uncle who wrapped it in a not-big-enough newspaper or one of those skinny gift bags meant for wine. I love it for the drinking, the hugs, the laughing, the frustration. I love it for the music, even though I have considered driving to Michael Bublé’s house by the time the radio stations and my friend have stopped playing his album ad nauseam.

I don’t even mind the anger, because it makes me laugh when people get so serious about it all. As soon as I feel that seriousness setting in, I ask my mom to buy my dad something good and I’ll pay her back. Or I just forget to buy them presents (sorry, Mom and Dad. I actually bought you presents. I love you guys).

I guess you could say I love the day more than the time of year. I love the end of December 24th (which is when my family eats cheese fondue and tourtierre) and all of December 25th, which starts with French toast casserole, opening presents, and someone making a copious amount of lattés. I love the end of the day: turkey and everything that should go with it, including some loud bangs and fun little paper hats, which lately haven’t been coloured. That’s okay, though, because they still don’t fit my head. All in all, I will love Christmas no matter what. Just don’t get in my way at Costco. You will experience a whole new world of Christmas pain.

Alec Lajoie

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