For this month’s topic, we will be discussing what the holidays mean to us. Some of us have a religious perspective on Christmas, while some of us see Christmas as a celebration of family. For this prompt, we will be exploring how the holidays are celebrated around the world using various pop culture media. We will also describe what the holidays mean to us. Happy Holidays! – OWLS TeamOWLS prompt for December – Be sure to follow the tour with Fred next and if you missed it check out Jack’s post as the previous stop on the tour.
Christmas: The time of terrible music, tacky decorations, and a bunch of hypocrisy about peace on earth meanwhile has anyone watched the news recently? Me at my most cynical, or at least I thought it was cynical until I saw the news story about people being crushed in a pre-Christmas sale rush at a department store. Seriously, was there anything in that store worth being crushed for? Not to mention almost all the media has these beautiful snowy stories with people drinking hot drinks and curling up in front of fires. Meanwhile all I see is dust and dirt and I’m just hoping the flies don’t swarm us while trying to eat Christmas lunch or that nobody faints from heat. Honestly, there’s a lot about the ‘holiday’ season that I dislike. That said, I look forward to December every year for one simple reason and that is its the one time of year where I get to catch up with the majority of people I need to see because we’re all on holiday at the same time for once.
While some years I do use the break to travel and see a bit more of the world, the majority of my Christmas holidays are spent driving around the dusty state of Queensland catching up with family and friends. The only problem becomes who I actually spend Christmas with. I remember one year I had breakfast with one family, drove four hours up the coast to have lunch somewhere else and with another part of the family and then we went to another relative’s house in that town for dinner. I was a little on the sick side from too much food and driving and well and truly over Christmas anything by the end of that day. Yet it is still a fond memory of seeing family and getting to be there together.
For me, distance is a very real barrier physically to seeing people. Whether they be my relatives who live many hours away and are scattered about or my friends who are literally all over the state as work and family moves them around losing touch is a very real possibility. Sure social media and the like make it easy to talk but there’s a lot not said in that form of communication. That makes Christmas a time for me to reconnect and spend time with people. So the limited holiday is divided between driving days and days spent with this group of friends or this part of the family trying to check in on as many as possible. It ends up being a tiring couple of weeks and yet the sense of a renewed connection and closeness for the following year makes it all worth while.
Okay, there’s also some shopping involved in this pilgrimage. There would be more except that the crowds more or less keep me out of the shops, but it is one of the few times of year I’m near an actual physical shop that sells things and that is actually kind of exciting. Mail order is all well and good but it doesn’t beat picking stuff out in a shop.
Now you might have been wondering what all the Kimi ni Todoke images have been doing given I haven’t mentioned the anime. There is one simple reason I connected with the Christmas episode of Kimi ni Todoke. Sure it is still set in the snow and is about a high school romance that is dragged out to epic proportions due to poor communication however Sawako faces a very real conflict when her class organise a Christmas part but her family are already preparing for their family Christmas gathering. Sawako wants to go with her friends but can’t bring herself to ask for permission because she also wants to be with her family and see them happy.
Whichever choice she makes will leave her feeling either sad or guilty and so she stays silent and does her best to put on a cheerful smile. As I listened this year to people planning their holidays I saw this conflict come up again and again. Partners struggling to figure out which relatives to see on the day and who they would see before or after Christmas. Compromises where they spend Christmas with this family and see the other family for New Year’s. Those who just couldn’t travel and see people this year either because of poor health or other obligations having to ‘apologise’ for missing the gatherings.
The thing is, Christmas brings people a lot of joy but it also comes with that sense of guilt. I think the important thing to remember is that the day itself isn’t as important as the connection. Maybe I can only see you on the 22nd or 23rd or maybe it will be the 27th before I can get to your place, but I won’t feel guilty. I still get to see you and spend a day with you. For me Christmas isn’t about the 25th or the tinsel or anything else. It is about reconnecting with those I love.
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