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A Christmas Account

By Alethea MacPhail

“There is something about Christmas that requires a rug rat. Little kids make Christmas fun. I wonder if could rent one for the holidays. When I was tiny we would by a real tree and stay up late drinking hot chocolate and finding just the right place for the special decorations. It seems like my parents gave up the magic when I figured out the Santa lie. Maybe I shouldn't have told them I knew where the presents really came from. It broke their hearts.

I bet they'd be divorced by now if I hadn't been born. I'm sure I was a huge disappointment. I'm not pretty or smart or athletic. I'm just like them- an ordinary drone dressed in secrets and lies. I can't believe we have to keep playacting till I graduate. It's a shame we just can't admit that we have failed at family living, sell the house, split up the money, and get on with our lives. Merry Christmas.”

 

So, it’s that time of year again. When our Dad sighs over the tree going up BEFORE the days of advent, someone eats too many Celebrations and has to tactically dodge out of Monopoly, and the cat gets stuck up the tree and can’t get down. As cliché as the adverts make it out to be, it is quite a magical time of year. So why have I chosen to start with the above quote?

Personally, I can’t help but feel that the magic dies as we get older and more cynical. When I was younger I believed in the man in the sky so much I would sit up waiting every year, eyes peeled for someone coming in my door to fill my pillowcase (yes, I had a pillow case. I was a special one) with presents. Now I know fine well just where those books I asked for came from, and no gifts ever come with labels saying “From Santa”.

Now, this isn’t to say the magic can’t come back, far from it in fact. There is a reason all my gifts are wrapped in paper covered in puns. It’s more that it’s a different kind of magic almost.

Around this time, I really regret being one of two grown up sisters that have parents who’ve almost given up on whatever magic is left. It broke my heart to hear my Dad say “Oh, yes, decorations, we’ll get round to that”. Whatever arguments you’ve had this year, or whatever grudges you may hold against someone, family is still family and friends are still friends. There isn’t a better time to reconcile with that person who annoyed you that one time.

So, in this vein, I feel we need to go back to roots and stick with home spun gifts and the like. Letters hold a place in peoples’ hearts, as do bad attempts as knitting and odd coloured jumpers. They remind us of when the hardest decision we had in life was deciding what socks to wear.

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