Let’s face it, the entire globe is in agreement that 2016 has been a monumental disaster. On a personal level, it hasn’t been much better. Don’t get me wrong, there has been moments of exceptional brilliance scattered between the chaos, but on the whole – well – I’ve seen better years. I don’t like to admit it, but it’s left me in a little bit of a 2016 end of year slump. One that Christmas can’t even pull me out of.
That’s unfamiliar for me, because for twenty-five years now I have been undeniably in love with Christmas. Maybe for the first couple of years of my life I was a blob who didn’t really understand what was going on, but I’m sure I still giggled at the tinsel. As a kid I successfully hunted for every single present I had, yet still ran down the stairs at 4am on Christmas morning to open them. Now I’m older I’m fairly certain there are few people in my (not quite grown up yet) age bracket who adore Christmas in the same way that I do. I’ve made my own advent calendar, I write my own Christmas songs, and I wrap presents like they’re going to be displayed in Tate Modern. It’s not just because I have a predisposition for sparkly lights and too much food (although I do enjoy both of those in abundance) but because I have the excitable demeanour that Christmas is designed for.
Or at least I did.
At the moment (in case you couldn’t gather it from my ill attempt at a Grinch reference in the title) my ordinary zeal is more than a little bit lost. It means I’m struggling to properly embrace the festivities. Even ramming customarily festive mince pies down my throat hasn’t helped me to believe that it’s the season to be jolly; it’s just made me believe that it’s the season to admit that mince pies are actually quite vile. (Don’t even get me started on mulled wine.)
Luckily, there is hope. And it comes in the form of mind-numbingly beautiful tradition.
Because tradition provides an opportunity to get lost in familiarity. In tradition I can do the same things I’ve always done, to the point where I can almost become part of all those memories – momentarily falling ignorant to everything that is happening in the present tense. In tradition I can forget that it’s even 2016 at all.
So that’s why this year, for me at least, Christmas tradition is paramount. I don’t want change, I don’t want new. I want old. I want traditional.
It means I’m going to repeat the same songs everybody is already sick of, and watch the same films we’ve seen every year, and indulge in a personal tradition of eating my body weight in chocolate before 7am (only to then turn my nose up at the turkey, while complaining that it’s a dry horrible meat which tastes like protein anyway.) I’m going to do it because as much as 2016 has tried to screw us over, I actually have a lot to be grateful for.
I recognise that, so I’m going celebrate it. (Or at least I’m going to try to.)
(And if all else fails I’ll turn to a spectacularly festive girl, Rebecca. She’s a 7ft-tree-owning, reindeer-earring-wearing, Christmas-jumper-obsessed, super fan of Christmas. Honestly, candy canes and mistletoe form part of her DNA. If she can’t sort me out; nobody can.)