God knows I’ve never encouraged an “open door” ethos at the best of times but there is something about Christmas which makes me want to bolt and triple lock the front door with even more fervour than I do on the other 364 days of the year.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not being curmudgeonly just for the heaven of it – it’s just that there is something about Christmas which makes me want to “shut up shop” socially and just hibernate with my loved ones in the back of the cave... a nice roaring fire on the go, presents around the tree and good food all around. Peace and goodwill to everyone else undoubtedly and very generously... but preferably over there away from me and mine and no I don’t want to come out wassailing or drop in on people for a Christmas drink or (even worse) be dropped in on by guests that I have to crowbar out of the front door several hours later several hundred mince pies the poorer.
Am I being unreasonable? Inhumane? Has the spirit of Christmas turned white at the sight of my soul and fled across the county border in search of a host more warm and receptive?
Possibly. But I believe I am motivated by the best of reasons. A desire to savour my family in a fashion unadulterated by even the most feather light of touches from the outside world.
I mean, I have to deal with the world for every other day of the year and the world has to deal with me. Isn’t a break for us both at Christmas the ideal Christmas gift?
And it’s not like I’m wishing anyone ill. Sure, there are a few people who deserve to have their Christmas puddings laced with semtex and their Christmas stockings lined with poison tipped barbed wire but... not at Christmas, eh? Tis the season to be jolly. Peace and goodwill to all men, etc. Plenty of time in the New Year for pre-emptive strikes.
For now I just want to listen to the sounds of little hands ripping wrapping paper and the “Wows” and cries of “Oh I’ve always wanted this” as my wife opens her new frying pan and matching non-stick oven gloves (only joking, dear) and know that my defensive walls and moat aren’t being misconstrued by the other members of my species with whom I share this wonderful planet.
Cos I love you all. I really do.
And so what can I add but - God bless you all and hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!
And please don’t step on the front lawn. It’s mined.