One of the great joys of living alone or, rather, without close relatively in close vicinity is that I do not have to care much about Christmas. I’ve cared about it less and less with each passing year. In a past life, before my mother decided that she’d sell up and move to Texas, I would, more often than not, spend Christmas with her. As her boyfriend and I get on about as well as Ayatollah Khameini and Benjamin Netanyahu, that has made any Christmas together a virtual impossibility.
I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer people are showing any real enthusiasm for the season. Fewer and fewer people exchange cards. For many, keeping up appearances is all. It’s about buying the right gift, the correct accessory even if finances are tight and stress levels unbearable. The rictus smiles and fake cheer, weaker and weaker each time, are simply depressing. I’ve come to content myself with watching documentaries that capture the true joy of the season — documentaries about the narcotics trade, drug cartels, social breakdown, urban decay, etc. The honesty of it warms the cockles.
I suspect that I will, in spite of myself, drag my carcass to an Anglican midnight service this year. It will be my last Christmas in Dorset. I’ve booked a one-way flight to San Francisco from Denmark. Who knows when I’ll be in Europe again, it will be at least two years, so I thought I’d visit the Vikings on my way out. I’m not entirely thrilled about going, but it seems necessary. It’s become clear that I’ll need to be physically present at work at least a few times a month. The nature of my position has its conveniences, but there are limits to what I can do from over 5000 miles away. It’s not as if I’ve found anything that replace my position.Now, it’s only a matter of making the most of it.