When I was a child in Ireland, neighbours would sometimes ask my parents "how did you get over the Christmas?" I found it strange that anyone would consider that you needed to "get over" Christmas. For me, it went by too fast after all that big build up! As an adult, I begin to understand what it means. All that hype with tinsel, holly and Christmas recipes, plus the stress of finding the right gift for your loved ones! And then all the family near and far have to be visited or invited to dinner and you have to remember that Aunt Mary does not approve of cousin Betty's lifestyle/political views so it is essential to the peace that you keep them apart. And the kids are restless and quarrelsome because of all the late nights and excitement over the past few days. No wonder many people heave a sigh of relief when it's all over. I guess every year we vow not to get carried away and then find that we are caught up in the bustle before we know it.
I spent a lazy Christmas with my son and daughter-in-law. Long country walks with the dogs, too much to eat, pleasant company. It was most enjoyable. At home I attended a few Christmas carol events and of course there were the usual Christmas get-togethers with community groups. All very enjoyable. I have one Christmas movie that I always watch, Christmas Angel, the 2009 film for television. It is absolute kitsch! But I still cry over it and enjoy every heart-warming, tear-soaked minute.
Now it is nearly New Year, time to open the new calendar. The English writer Charles Lamb once wrote about feeling a bit melancholy at New Year "I am not one to greet the coming, speed the parting guest." Sometimes I think I know how he feels. Of course, we are not stepping from one dimension to another, we are merely turning to a fresh month and year, but all the same there is a little sadness in leaving what we knew of 2016. But I'm getting sentimental. Time to finish off that glass of mulled wine and the few remaining mince pies.