I always love this time of year. Some argue that the traditions are no longer meaningful, that they are suited to a different place and culture. Some even compare them to the rats and other pests that we unwittingly brought with us; seeing them as something to be exterminated so that we can prosper here. I disagree. I think Krismass has survived changes in place and time because it fulfils common needs in all of us.
It’s about getting together with loved ones, eating a lot of rich food and trading presents. Who can claim never to have needed any of these things? If there was ever any other meaning to Krismass, it’s lost. I could argue that we’ve made it our own tradition and moulded it to suit us by forgetting irrelevant bits.
The only problem I have with Krismass is the heat. It makes doing all those lovely traditions a lot harder. With each hour, tempers fray and loved ones look a little less lovely; as each sun clears the horizon, appetites wither a little more; and with each scalding gust of the wind everyone becomes a little less happy to swop presents graciously.
I don’t know why Krismass must be celebrated on the hottest day of the year, but I have some ideas. Maybe the celebration isn’t all about fun and eating well. Maybe it’s meant to be difficult – like a test of one’s patience and temper. Maybe it’s meant to show us how even the best things can require work. Maybe we’re meant to realise the fundamental similarity of all things under the right conditions. We’ll never know now, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?