Monday, 22 December 2014

Why Do I Have to Wait?

Oh my gosh. Can it really be or am I trapped in an endless dream, unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality? As hard as it might be to believe, it is real - just shockingly so.

If truth be told, can you think of a more exciting time than the week in which Christmas falls, which officially kick starts the festivities and puts a bit more magic into our lives? Maybe your birthday (until you reach your late 20s) might compete in a similar league, yet Christmas is an exception to every single rule ever created: its specialness can neither be denied nor lessened when it approaches the end of December every year. As soon as December (and my nightly gorging on the Advent Calender) commences, I am seized by a childlike excitement that would have been expected of me several years ago - and still has a hold over me to this day. From our behaviour to our pre-feast diets, Christmas breaks tradition, which is the greatest thing about it!

Anyway, I'm thrilled to bits over the nearing arrival of the Greatest Day of the Year, which I'll only have to wait for another three days - like an itch, I'm deeply struggling to ignore its presence and cannot seem to find anything else to distract me for the time being. Oh well, I suppose this is where festive films - hence the term 'turkey' in relation to the million and one flops to have graced our screens at this time of year - and over-played anthems terrorize the nation in the run-up to Christmas, giving us something both to moan and smile about until we finally get our hands on the presents and carve the succulent turkey.

However, the week before Christmas is usually my favourite time of the holidays because the excitement has reached fever pitch, and couldn't possibly get higher than it already is! I love anticipating Christmas because you are flooded with ecstatic emotions that put a spring into your step and perhaps make you a little bit nicer than usual (though, for Santa believers, it could be a final push to receiving their coveted iPhones and Xbox Ones), which reminds me of how refreshing Christmas truly is.

At the same time, the days before Christmas are often the most frantic ones that you'll ever experience, which you become aware of as you get older when you are given more responsibilities and expected to help your family. Since 2011, I've been given the task of pulling sprouts off a stick before peeling on them which, as several packets are used at a time, literally takes me an entire afternoon to complete. Typically, I don't mind offering some assistance in relation to the Christmas dinner because I cherish each mouthful (and am free to brag about preparing the sprouts when scoffing them during the Christmas meal), but it sometimes winds me up when my brother manages to be let off from doing chores - upon moving house, our kitchen is literally the size of two bedrooms, so there is always space to help out!

And, if you're a girl, you become more conscious than ever about your appearance: from plucking your eyebrows to washing every slick of grease from your locks, you will resort to anything in order to look like a Hollywood-perfect version of yourself. Boys may sweep these actions aside, but their main issues are getting rid of the stubble on their faces (especially if there is a likely chance of kissing under the mistletoe) - there is an expectation that girls live up to a glamorous persona which, if we result in failure, can expose us to criticism. Who, in their right mind, wishes to be criticised for their appearance on Christmas Day? No one.

Yet I want to look my best because that empowers me - looking good certainly has a positive effect on your emotions, which I definitely cannot deny! Still, effort is essential if you wish to wake up feeling like a queen on Christmas morning, but one quick glimpse in mirror confirms one thing: trying your best is always worth a bit of hard work.

Luckily, I won't have to fully experience the highs and lows of planning Christmas for several years yet which, from my family's perspective, fills me with relief. As a little girl, I could never have imagined the amount of work that my parents put into buying my presents (most of which were surprises, which required even more planning), along with decorating the house, preparing the Christmas dinner and the general stuff attached with the season. Now I'm older, I realise that, in order to maintain your sanity, a bit of help should be given by those surrounding you - unless you are the Queen of Plans, Christmas is literally impossible to plan without some assistance! My jobs may not be overly major, but they still help; whilst preparing a wrinkly-skinned turkey on Christmas Eve, who honestly has time to prepare millions and millions of unpeeled sprouts? Well, every little helps. Literally.

On the other hand, there are happier moments than stressful ones at Christmas and, if you have an undeniable penchant for cooking, you will feel right at home when baking batches of gingerbread men and sausage rolls. Christmas is billed as a family event which, as soon as the turkey has been cooked (at approx. half eleven on the night of Christmas Eve) and all the presents have been wrapped, you can truly begin to appreciate. After surviving a manic, yet deeply fulfilling year, I couldn't be happier at the prospect of spending Christmas with my family and four cats - well, with two new additions to the family, there ought to be plenty to celebrate!

In the meantime, you will have no doubt as to where to find me: pulling giant-sized sprouts from a solid green stick in the kitchen. I guess that is my day planned...

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