The Decembertide Roast 2016

Well,  we’ve finally made it here after a long and challenging year. The first Decembertide Roast and it’s on a big day itself!

Speaking of big,  looking back on the year we’ve certainly had big events occur both in real life and online affecting people across the world and challenging thinking for the future ahead.

With all this in the back of my mind,  I’m thankful this December time for one constant in my life that hasn’t changed –  family. We all have ‘family’  in different forms,  be it the one we’re born into,  the one were fostered or adopted into, our closest friends we can call brothers and sisters,  our fraternal or sororal relations or even our respective religious congregations.

Whilst my biological family is spread out all over the country,  Christmas is a time when we all get in touch and come together to wish season’s greetings to each other and to eat and drink and laugh too much.  It’s also a good excuse for a quick catch up to find out how everybody is doing on the occasion we’ve not spoken in a while.

For friendship,  Christmas can also be a good time with many of us in different places since leaving school and taking advantage of either my birthday on the summer and almost certainly my oldest friend Richard Dooley‘s birthday to enjoy a Christmas catch up.

When you look towards the other large  holiday that begins from today (thanks for the correction!), Hanukkah and Kwanzaa that begins tomorrow,  the theme of family is also crucial,  with celebrations happening daily that should always be experienced with the ones we love.

I realise though that not everybody has the same privilege of this (for sake of a better term)  ‘on tap’ and at this time of year,  we should always extend the hand of friendship.

If you have close family and friends you can keep in touch with,  regardless of your religious or non religious holiday, this time of the year is about spending it with them in some capacity, be it just a phone call, a Skype session or inviting them around for Christmas day (or just tea or you prefer). It’s often easy to forget,  particularly in our high speed 24 hour modern lifestyles and worth social media taking centre stage is easy to make an excuse that you’ll tag them in a post and say Happy Hanukkah/Christmas/Other holiday  and thinking that’ll do or just asking “Habari gani? ” and hoping somebody will reply to your tweet.  But as the priest in my mother and her partner’s Catholic Church said this morning in the Christmas Day sermon,  we sometimes need to simply stop to appreciate and to reflect.

Those we call our family are out closest connections. These are the people who will love you unconditionally and will morally  be the people that are always be there when nobody else is, so perhaps use this time of year to celebrate and cultivate those connections.

If you know somebody who might be spending Christmas alone this year,  why not invite them around for a bit. If you’re not quite comfortable inviting them into your home, then meet somewhere neutral like a cafĂ© or a park. I’ve done part of Christmas alone before and whilst you get that Home Alone feeling for the morning, it really does suck later on. Nobody should have to deal with it if they didn’t choose to.

If you wish you could take an alternative route and  volunteer over Christmas and help make a complete stranger’s Christmas. Organisations and groups such as soup kitchens,  shelters The Salvation Army and religious organisations will all be out working on the big day and over the period to help those in need.  You never know you might just help yourself with that fuzzy feeling too.

Whatever your plans this year,  I really hope everybody has a wonderful and peaceful time this year full of love laughter cheer and celebration.

So Merry Christmas,  Xmas and  Happy Hanukkah and Habari gani for tomorrow, Seasons Greetings to all who’s celebrations I’m yet to learn of  and I wish you all a splendid Decembertide.