For the first time in my almost-50-years of life, Christmas 2016 brought me a gift of food, that is, the classic “Christmas Gift Basket” that is sort of a traditional thing hereabout as a “family gift”.
I mean, I usually get books, music, maybe a scarf or a pair of mittens.
But a food basket?
In this case, it was my uncle, that hit me and my brother with a huge selection of fine traditional Italian treats that will cover all our needs for the New Year’s Eve four-course dinner with assorted associated extras. And then we’ll recycle the basket, and use it for our laundry.
And it was not the only gift of food we received: there’s a metal box full of home-made cookies that’s been keeping us happy at tea time for days, now. And then we’ll recycle the metal box to store paid bills.
Which gives me a good starting point for a somewhat more serious reflection on this Christmas in particular, and maybe more general things.
The point is, just like Journey used to sing, we must be good to ourselves.
In the last two weeks I’ve been reading lots of posts on blogs and on various social media, about people tired of Christmas, about the festivity being boring and hateful and devoted to consumerism and what not.
And while I think that a lot of these people are posers trying to act cynical and blasé, I do know a lot of people for whom the Christmas days will be heavy.
And this is the reason why we should try and be good to ourself: slow down, share some food. There is no simpler and powerful sign of friendship than sharing food – something we tend to forget. And yet, we grew up as a species in bands of hunters, in which we watched each others back, and we collaborated and shared food we had a very hard time catching.
And yes, I do find rather boring both religious fanatics complaining about pagan festivals and consumerism and schoolyard cynics complaining about religious festivals and consumerism.
Granted, a lot of people are being obsessed by things right now.
But maybe it has not be like that.
Maybe it’s enough to take the opportunity offered by the season’s festivities, and let go for a while. Sit back, relax, have some fun.
Be good to ourselves, and those around us.
So this is my wish for you, ladies and gentlemen out there: that you find today time to stop, relax and unwind, and that you have somebody to share your dinner with.
And even if you are sitting alone in a dark room, try and make it special.
Eat a piece of chocolate, brew some good coffee or tea, set yourself up a nice dinner.
Be good to yourself.
(and yes, Clare, I know this is not a traditional Christmas tune – but, you know… 😉 )