It’s Tacky, OTT, A Consumer’s Wonderland, But Here’s Why Columnist Lauren Sams Loves Christmas Anyway
When my husband and I first started dating, he thought I was being ironic when I told him how much I loved Christmas. He assumed it was a bit of a joke when I wore my Juicy Couture “Santa Baby” jacket (looking back, I’m keen to tell him it was a joke: wearing a hot pink velour jacket – emblazoned with the words “Santa Baby” or not – in the middle of summer is, I now realise, entirely ridiculous). And he definitely thought I was kidding when I said I had a Christmas playlist on my iPod (it was 2007; iPods and Juicy Couture were still Things).
But none of it was a joke. I adore Christmas. I love that it marks the close of one year and beckons the start of another. I love that my family all converge in the one spot and stay there all day (though I do concede that for some people, this is utter hell). But mainly I love Christmas because it’s the one time of year you can be completely and unashamedly over-the-top and corny and, well, deliriously happy, and nobody questions it.
Nobody, of course, except my husband.
To him, Christmas is an excuse for retailers to jack up prices and sell us things we don’t need (velour jackets, for one). It’s a waste – of time, of food, of wrapping paper. When I ask him, in mid-November, what he wants for Christmas, he invariably replies, “Nothing. None of us need anything.”
All of that is true, of course – Christmas is a bit wasteful (OK, a lot) and yes, we are so lucky and I have everything I could ever need (except for maybe a Mansur Gavriel bag, that would be really nice). But to me, that’s not what Christmas is about.
Christmas is about traditions, which are even more important when you become a parent. It’s about hanging your stockings on December 24 (a date that’s even more special to me now, as it’s my eldest daughter’s birthday). It’s about setting aside the first Sunday of December to open a bottle of bubbles and decorate the tree. It’s about waiting to see Santa. It’s about sending a letter to the North Pole (particularly if you’re not sure of your status, present-wise). It’s about eating ham sandwiches until Australia Day, and swearing that next year, all you’re doing is oysters and prawns and a store-bought pudding (but knowing, deep down, that it wouldn’t really be Christmas unless you started soaking the fruit for your pud in October). It’s about waking up before the sun on Christmas morning, and the beautiful agony of waiting to open your presents. It’s about eating too much, feeling grateful for stretchy waistbands, and then saying yes when someone opens a box of Favourites. It’s about celebrating.
Now that we have two little girls, my husband is less reticent about Christmas. He loves that we take them to see Santa, and that the eldest one knows all the words to Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas album. As a family, we’re building traditions – pizza and wine on Christmas Eve with our best friends, a glass of bubbles with our coffee on Christmas morning, and always buying presents for children who might not get them otherwise.
I get that not everyone is a Christmas superfan like me. It’s unreasonable to think that everyone would have a favourite Christmas movie, carol and pop song (respectively: A Mom for Christmas, O Come All Ye Faithful and Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses). But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Christmas for what it is: the chance to come together and understand how lucky you are. Because at their heart, that’s what all of those traditions are: little ways to remind ourselves of the things we have.
Merry Christmas to you – and may your day be merry and bright… and completely velour-tracksuit-free.
Words: Lauren Sams | Image: Grace Alyssa Kyo