Why I yet may find my love for Christmas

So this Christmas Day was spent at the Mother In Laws. My wife comes from a close family and so together like most years this is the venue for the annual dinner. Mix in two other brothers, two sisters, their partners, a Nanna, Granda and Nieces and Nephews it totalled fourteen of us.

I’m a naturally quiet person and will often keep to myself. A little chit chat here and there but I’ll inevitably wonder around each of the family individually over the course of the day. As an only child and as an adult I have always been used to my own company and still to this day am more than happy to sit in a room by myself than in the kitchen with a group of people.

The joy of Christmas fizzled out for me whilst quite young. I don’t recall what age I was when I realised where my presents came from however the yearly tradition with my mum became a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us to pick out my presents in advance.

Decorations weren’t hung and Christmas trees not up. The annual pint in the local pub with my dad (or soft drink whilst I was underage) and home again for Christmas Dinner was the tradition but that was it. Come 18 years old my mum and dad had split and my dad had no inclination for Christmas at all, even less as his health deteriorated. However the Dinner now cooked by myself and trip to the pub continued.

I met my now wife at the age of 23 and started to have Christmas at the in laws now and again rotating between them and my dad in London.

In Newcastle nothing has changed over the last 14 years. A close knit family who love the spirit of Christmas. Decorations and a large tree as standard, Early morning starts, Christmas dinner, Sharing of presents, Secret Santa gifts and a family picture make for a Great Christmas year in year out.

For me though as an only child, one who has always been closed off in feelings, one who is more than happy in his own company, at times probably a little bit of a loner who lost the love of Christmas a long time ago, the feeling of need to celebrate it, even to this day at this time of the year is one that I enjoy, but at the same time would easily bypass if given the choice.

I honestly think I get my happiness from seeing my wife smile and knowing she has had a great time and that she didn’t totally hate my choice of presents! Since being together she has tried to inspire and create a love for Christmas for ourselves despite knowing my lack of effort for it. Slowly it is working.

This year however, being in the company of this now four generation family today reminded me that the joy of Christmas is in the children. The innocence they offer and the sheer joy that they have.

I have watched my two nephews run around the house all day. Opening presents, eating and finding joy in the simplest of daft secret Santa items (being a Xmas light necklace mostly) as well as the millions of presents bought for them by everyone.

The interaction and attention they get all day having Uncles, Aunts and GrandMa’s play with them, throwing them in the air, chasing them in the house, bouncing on the bed and the giggles that follow. The tireless never ending energy that you see. The conversations that follow about highlights of the day. It’s all about the people this day is spent with, the memories created and the family uniting. Yes this can happen anytime of the year too, but Christmas seems to bring an atmosphere of happiness by default in this house.

While I may find little bits of it socially awkward, I look forward to next year and doing it all again. Not because of the adults and the older members of the family but because of the children. They remind me of a youth and time where dreams and beliefs were held. Before life and reality take hold at an older age. A time before I lost the love for Christmas..and maybe slowly year after year once I have my own children will be able to fall in love with it all over again.

There may yet be hope of that inner elf that will eventually show itself!

Have a very Merry Xmas from myself to you and may you enjoy the spirit and joy it brings!

Thanks for reading,
Aaron

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