It’s not really been about Christmas Day, for me; the whole December 25th of it all has, for decades, felt more and more like an anti-climax than an exciting end to the holiday season, with me mostly wishing that everything could go on for just a little while longer, if only…!
I wasn’t always like this, of course; as a kid, Christmas Day was everything — a bonanza of gifts and goodwill that was worth the countdown, with all the ingredients, from early morning toast and tea while unwrapping your presents to sitting down with the rest of the family for roast beef, roast potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings (and the crackers, the paper hats, and the bad jokes), combining to make something that felt truly special, something worth waiting an entire year for.
When that changed, I’m not entirely sure. The season has always been important to me, but at some point Christmas Day itself faded more and more in any internal ranking of what I loved about it. It was only one day, after all, and the day when the anticipation ended, the Yuletide fever broke. Why look forward to that?
Perhaps it’s that I stopped really getting excited about getting presents. (Now, giving them, that’s another story; I love giving gifts, especially at this time of year.) Perhaps it’s that I moved away from family, and didn’t get to go home each year — something even more impossible since the death of my parents, and the sale of my childhood home, the latter meaning that it’s literally impossible to return there. It could even be that I spent many Christmas Days lacking something that I didn’t realize…!
(Occasionally, I think back to The Worst Christmas Ever, a few years back — a day spent cleaning someone else’s house to prepare for a visit from people I didn’t really care for, with any notion of it being Christmas Day being marked by exhortations to work harder to make other people’s lives better. It was a cartoonishly Cinderella-like experience, and a sign something had to change in my life. Thankfully, many things did.)
All of which is to say: Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, Happy Holidays, to those who don’t. But this one day is not really the focus of things, not at all.