By Kelly McGarry
Do you remember when Christmas was once the most exciting time of year?
All you could think about was the beautiful lights all over town, the tree decorated with trinkets that clashed with each other, piles of presents awaiting you on Christmas morning and believing you would stay up and catch Santa as he slid down the chimney and ate the cookies you left for him.
Of course, there was the inconvenience of your grandparents giving you the ugliest jumper they could find and insisting you wear it all day.
Then you have to make nice with relatives who don’t like you and honestly don’t care if you like the hideous troll they gave you. (Apparently, all the ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’ Stores went up in flames that year.)
I remember asking my mum as a child, “don’t you love Christmas?” and being shell-shocked when she said it was “more trouble than it was worth.”
I decided to move on and figured, like most things adults said, it was over my head and I would never understand it.
However, once I hit the age of sixteen I understood completely. Putting my name on cards and presents I hadn’t purchased was no longer acceptable, I had to wash dishes after dinner and I was introduced to the joys of wrapping paper.
In many ways, Christmas has become a total nuisance, especially with the economic crisis devouring money like your dad secretly devoured the last mince pie before you woke on Christmas morning.
It’s the time when you wish you were unpopular so you wouldn’t have to spend your precious little cash on Homer Simpson socks for your neighbour who only talks to you to complain about your dog using his garden as a toilet.
Despite all this, I’ve found that as we grow older and finally give up hope of getting what we actually want for Christmas, you learn to find solace in things you missed as a child.
For example, it’s the only time of year when the pressures of being skinny are abolished and you’re expected to eat your own weight in turkey, potatoes, stuffing and desserts that have been pumped with twice the amount of sugar that any human should consume.
Maybe Christmas is not the magical event it once was when we were children, but it still holds some kind of magic for those involved.
This could be having all your family together or drinking so much Baileys you actually see elves dancing around the tree; it’s something we all have to endure but at least we can enjoy finding ways to ignore the seasonal stress and have fun.