This week’s Friday Five is a free-throw about Christmas! So I’m going to do my best to say five interesting things about that holiday in the next few paragraphs.

  1. Your first Christmas alone can be hell. Mine was. A cheap bottle of Japanese heated periodically through the day, and a lot of long-distance calls, made up my remedy. Really, this is one time that nobody should have to spend alone, and yet, somehow, I think everyone should have this experience once in his or her life, just the same.
  2. Christmas all year round is a crazy idea. Really, it is. You see a lot of rhetoric about this in the newspapers, in the movies, and so on, but it’s so absolutely ridiculous. We could never have Christmas everyday of the year, and anyway, what would that mean? I think it’d be better if we were all just generally willing to make a stronger effort to be compassionate, respectful, and giving people.
  3. Christmas is all about people. This year I didn’t spend Christmas with my own family, but I was with another family and it was very good. It wasn’t very good because of the tree, or the (good) food we shared, but just because I was with good people. I’ve had this experience before, spending Christmas with nice, or somewhat-less-than-nice, people… it always determines the quality of that specific Christmas.
  4. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. It’s too hectic and pressured… too much expectation regarding going to mass, or visiting people, or giving presents, or acting pleased with presents that really don’t suit one, or trying to post things in the mail, or whatever. It’s all really far too hectic in my opinion. Far preferable is a day like Labour Day, when one needn’t work or do much of anything, or else any one of the Korean holidays, provided I am invited to someone’s house and get to make song pyeon (sweet rice cake snacks) or other fun stuff.
  5. I haven’t seen my whole family together for Christmas for the last 3 years. The last time we were all together was in 2000. The year after, I came back for my sister’s wedding in November, and therefore couldn’t afford to go back for Christmas; then, in 2001, I came back for Christmas and saw everyone save Annie, who’d gone to the bush of Venezuela just before my arrival; the Christmas of 2002 I spent jaunting about in Thailand with my then-girlfriend (the awful trip quite possibly being one of the reasons we split up); and the Christmas of 2003 I have spent with my friends Ritu and John and Koko here in Gurgaon… basically, in Delhi. I’m basically thinking Christmas 2004, I shall spend in Canada, perhaps followed by a jaunt through Eastern Canada to see the people I miss who live (or will be living there) and some of the USA to meet my friends (Adam, Marvin, Julia, and their various Sturdy Helpmeets) in Texas and good old Vera in San Francisco, if possible, in the new year… Good lord, that’s the New Year of 2005 I am talking about, so maybe not. And of course it all depends on finances…

Christmas is a lot like life, I find; it can be wonderful, and it can also be a total hell. Whether it is sometimes has to do with what you choose to do with it, but also sometimes this is determined by circumstances beyond one’s own control. However, I know now that one can make a choice to do one’s best to make sure it is not hell, and one finds it is actually a lot better than one thought it might be. Just like life, I suppose. This is a good thing. Christmas would be wonderful if it were a day when teleportation machines were available and free, and we could have enough hours to spend time with each of the people we miss and want to see again… but the tech is just not up to speed. And perhaps if we had this tech we’d miss out on the slow, quiet joys of being with the people we are with.

Merry Belated Christmas, everyone.

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