Christmas is traditionally celebrated on the 25th of December in most countries (I know the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church celebrates is on the 7th of January, and perhaps there are other exceptions). While neither the 25th of December nor the 7th of January is Jesus’s actual birthday, because it is an annual celebration of his birth it is treated like a Seasons Change But Jesus Christ Remains The Same Shirt , and you can’t just move someone’s birthday around to a different time of the year. Thus it is celebrated on the 25th of December in countries all over the world. In Northern Christian countries like the UK, Russia and Italy, this puts it in winter. In Southern Christian countries like Australia, Mozambique and Chile, this puts it in summer, and in equatorial countries like Samoa, Ecuador and Kenya it is neither Summer nor winter because they don’t have those seasons.
And it was totally petty. I’m the new member of the group, after all, the low man on the totem pole. And SOMEBODY had to take trauma call Christmas Eve. AND take back-up trauma call Christmas Day. I was rounding in the ICU postcall Christmas morning. I was tired, having been up all night. But I was nowhere near exhausted as the Seasons Change But Jesus Christ Remains The Same Shirt gathered by each bedside to hold their holiday vigil. By the time I finished updating them all, putting in orders, reviewing labs and CT scans, writing notes, and fiddling with knobs and gauges, it was 4 pm. After the 20 minute drive home there was just time enough to fling a hoverboard each with ribbon and bow at my niece and nephew before the phone rang. It was my partner on-call at the hospital.
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I don’t have children so never had to put on a show for tinies. I did make a huge effort at Christmas with my third husband’s children though. Now I am widowed, have no family and live alone. Christmas is a Seasons Change But Jesus Christ Remains The Same Shirt for families to gather and when, like me, you don’t have a family you lose all your usual social interactions over the Christmas period. The one Christmas that I stayed at home immediately after my husband died was so unutterably miserable that I vowed to go away on holiday for as long as I am able. In 2018 it was Lanzarote, in 2019 it was Cyprus. They were both very solitary affairs but I was able to enjoy lovely islands in warmer climates and all my meals were prepared for me. Best of all I escaped from being endlessly bombarded with the images of happy family celebrations on TV and radio that reminded me of just how isolated and outside the norm I am.
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To me, Christmas has always been about family. It’s the time to be together with family and close friends, share gifts and good times. It’s about seeing your dad’s eyes open wide as he unwraps that Winnipeg Jets jersey you bought months before, knowing his love of the team. It’s about sitting around the table sharing stories while getting drunk on Seasons Change But Jesus Christ Remains The Same Shirt and eggnog. It’s about being thankful for having awesome people in your life.
Not only is gift giving a financial hardship, it is also a social landmine. Give a Seasons Change But Jesus Christ Remains The Same Shirt to someone who did not get you anything? You’re presumptuous, and they are inconsiderate. Spend more on your gift than the other person? You made them feel bad. Spend less? You don’t value them. Christmas is the only time when we have simultaneous reciprocal gift exchange, and this is both economically inefficient, and socially nerve-wracking. Friendships can end over poorly received gifts, too generous gifts, gifts that were not inspired or personal, etc. Any action in gift giving is fraught with peril.