It seems I barely found time to count down, let alone realize Christmas was upon us until it was Christmas Eve, and we were still scraping around for presents. Last minute Christmas shopping in the UK is not as frightening as in the US. Salesclerks are reasonably friendly, and fellow shoppers are rushed but not too much to forget their manners when they knock into you with oversized bags.
And now Christmas is slowly drawing to a close, for some sooner than for others. As a few of us nestled into lunch feast and wine induced food comas, the remaining baked long-awaited gingerbread cake for post-Christmas munching tomorrow.
Christmas here is an elaborate affair of canapés, crackers, crowns, and Christmas pudding. Before the commencement of Christmas Eve dinner, we popped our Christmas crackers, collected cheap prizes, and recited the sadly lame jokes concealed within.
On go the crowns and in pours the wine, free flowing. By the time the Christmas pudding rolls around – in warm and ice cream varieties – we are undeniably stuffed and inebriated. It’s hard to remember sometimes why everyone got together in the first place. Presents, though a nicety, are not of the utmost importance. At the end of the day, regardless how silly we nosh and imbibe, we always recall we are in good company. And that is the true meaning of Christmas. Not the sweetness of the pudding or amount of presents we receive, but those we share the celebrations with, no matter how elaborate or simple they are.