You can probably tell from all of the posts lately that I'm sort of obsessed by what the British call "Crimbo." Frankly, WHY WOULDN'T YOU BE? My iTunes Holiday Hitz playlist is in heavy rotation, my Cadbury advent calendar is up-to-date, the Irishman and I procured a lovely tree from his local convenience store, I am half-way through designing my yearly holiday cards, all of the streets have their holiday lights up, and the amount of delicious food in the shops is mouthwatering. I am reverting back to a child-like state of excitement, even though there are no presents coming my way this year, which makes me even more sincerely joyful; there are always the cynics that think December is just one wasted month of commercialism, but I really truly believe that there is something absolutely wonderful about a population gathered in happiness and harmony through lovely pine-scented rooms, cookies, and, at least in England, Christmas crackers.
Yes there is religious symbolism, yes Heebs don't believe in the coming of Christ, but you know what? It's all about a tiny thing called Hope. I was at the pub on Friday when the World Cup draw took place; when England and USA were matched together into the first heat, I said to my companions that I would have to get an Obama "Hope" t-shirt to wear during the games. And that sentiment is exactly what Christmas is all about - it's having the opportunity, at the end of 11.75 months of despair and drudgery and the onset of nastily cold weather, having something that buoys the spirits and gives everyone a renewed sense of optimism and joy for the upcoming year. So while you fight the crowds on the sidewalks and in mall parking lots, grumble about the price of milk, and complain about frozen toes, remember that the twinkly lights really do sparkle.