In a lot of places and in a lot of families Christmas is a really big deal. My family did the kinda-Xmas, the secular, the-other-kids-are-gonna-kick-the-shit-out-of-you Xmas. My mum, no matter how hard she had to work, made sure we felt special. Whether it be cooking a nice beef or turkey roast or hanging stockings, my mum always did something to make us feel like part of the crowd. And for that I am thankful. My mum's not the natural with kids, it just sort-of happened that way and she tried.
Christmas died for me when I was 13. The only person who ever showed me that she truly believed in me died on December 23rd, 1989. That was my grandmother and she was a tough war vet who would show you how to do anything and told me I could be anything. To this day, she may be the only person in existence who has truly loved me. She never said it, it was true.
Anywho, my granno had pancreatic cancer (that's why I have the free activity thingy in the sidebar) and knew she was going. My dad said he'd pick me up so I could go for a couple of days and say goodbye. He never showed up. Business or staff party or something. Anyways, she died before I could look her in the eyes and shake her hand the way she did with other respected folks and generally say goodbye.
It never mattered that she never purchased a gift for me for any occasion, her time, her honour that bled through, her presence was worth more money than man can make. Humble enough to make others think her simple, she was a magnificiently remarkable woman gone before the world would discover the heroic deeds that marked her life. But it wasn't her bullet scars or ingenuity that made her my hero. She was something different to me and I cannot describe it other than to say that this is the first time I've written about her outside of her chutney recipes and I feel better.
Maybe I won't feel the need to hate winter festivities of any kind anymore. There was never any Christ in my Christmas but there was always a something. A candle lit, a box opened, a kid smiling, or a bowl passed. And it's possible that I may not be as much of a miserable blockhead.
We can only hope :)