On Christmas

Newcastle Travel Blog

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Gingerbread Christmas
Christmas creates a vast complex network of expectations that bind family together. There are often unarticulated and usually impossible to fulfil, but they are still enforced, creating bonds of guilt. The religious usually have the worst of it, with an increased sense of importance for the occasion and the creation of a higher power to feel guilty towards, but even the secular create the strange shared unhappiness. People end up spending time not with their friends and closest loved ones, but often running around after the extended family. Of course this may include those truly dear to you, but it also includes those you are indifferent towards and even those you actively dislike. There is guilt about not keeping up with people you should have, last minute angst about whether the present is worthy, family traditions that must be followed even if nobody likes them. There are surges of joy and surges of concealed anger, and yet the entire fabricated network is towards those you are bound to by an accident of birth (sometimes with good luck, other times bad). Many Christmases I have hidden myself away from this morass, but now I find I can enjoy them if I just ignore the invisible bonds others try to tie around you, and just embrace those you willing choose to participate in.
dahling says:
Yes, we have this in Turkey as well and it used be here in Germany. I call my moms school friend aunt and she is closer than my "blood" aunt.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
Adrian_Liston says:
I do like that :) The Maori of New Zealand have a word that I love - whānau. It means "extended family", but the extension is to dear friends - the type of old family friends that you grow up calling aunty and uncle even though you are unrelated, and the type of deep friend that you feel a connection to even if you haven't seen them for years. It is a very nice concept.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
dahling says:
I think you would like Christmas here. Only close family. mom, dad, kids... and on the second or third day (we celebrate 24,25,26) at least we celebrate with close friends
Posted on: Feb 15, 2009
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Gingerbread Christmas
Gingerbread Christmas
Newcastle
photo by: Adrian_Liston