What does Christmas mean to you? Removing all cynicism and safely out of the measured glare of your peer group, what does Christmas really mean to you?

I respect your right to apathy in regards to the season. It DOES start earlier every year. The music IS crap, and getting around IS a pain.

It’s easy to be jaded by the xmas season, easier in equal proportionate to how much you loved it as a child. By the time you hit your teens, the veneer of magic and wonder is wearing off, in your mid twenties the consumerism cracks through the cheer and by the time you pass your mid thirties you’re “decking the halls” out of obligation rather than celebration.

As a child, I lived with my grandparents, it was Italian and Polish household. Christmas for me centred around the evening of December 24th, a lot like it does here in Spain, where I live now.

Nona would spend the whole day preparing food, the smell of seafood would overwhelm the house …to this day eating shellfish takes me back to my childhood.

Granddad would supervise the seating, bringing chairs and garden furniture into the house to seat the whole family, before turning to supervise the alcohol as people started to arrive. His goal? No glass should stay empty… that’s where I developed my relationship with alcohol.

I loved watching the threadbare tree start to drown under wrapped boxes as relatives arrived for dinner. Our small livingroom/dining room would be so full of life that night. Laughter, arguments, the relentless clanking of cutlery on plate and glass on glass… that’s what family sounds like to me.

After the food my granddad would play Santa Clause and divvy up the gifts around the family, the highlight of the evening for all of us at the kids table. A lot of my favourite gifts came in the form of hand-me-downs from my older cousins. My first computer was a cast off from my uncle, a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K… objectively it was shit, but when I used it for the first time I felt like I could hack the world… like the possibilities were endless …in a nutshell that nicely sums up how I felt about Christmas.

I think we all struggle with change. We shouldn’t, after all the only thing ever remains constant is that everything changes, always. For me, like us all, Christmas evolved. Traditions rise and fall like empires, if you hold onto them too tightly you get dragged down with them.

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