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 café 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.


Wrapping Up

In the final week before Christmas, I’ve finally decided to make an effort to make my flat look a little bit festive in the downstairs area (despite not really getting visitors nor actually being here for Christmas itself), write cards, and do my shopping for family gifts. It’s also the time for me to actually put my plans into action so I can travel across the country and see said people over the holidays.

Online-wise, preparations are underway to write up as much content for those of you who  read the blogs  whilst I’m on the move and future planning for projects and content in the new year – more of which I’ll announce soon.

For many of you I’m sure it’ll be much of the same craziness  and more – getting those last few presents wrapped, ensuring you know where you’re going or what time people will be arriving on the big day –  who to phone and who will call you. Some of you might even be doing Christmas,  Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa or [insert your celebration here]  online with family and friends across the world.

Whatever your plans,  it’s important not to lose sight of it all. Yes, the weather seems to be taking its toll,  your Menorah seems to be mysteriously a candle short,  the 200 lamp tree lights went out thanks to a mystery fitting  and despite trekking out and braving the crowds  you’re panicking because your son or daughter has changed their mind again about something they want Santa to bring. The important thing is ensuring you have your time with your family,  friends and significant others and if you’re religiously or culturally aligned,  you remember the values and cultures of this December season.

Also once everyone inevitably decides to drop into a food coma,  drunken stupor or just melt into watching the specials on TV ,  or you’re bored of spinning the dreidel,  don’t forget to sign on next week as I will be posting a Christmas Roast. Don’t worry,  it won’t be (too much)  of a Queen’s speech or Alternative  Christmas Message,  but just a more festive post and of course a follow up on New Year’s Day.

For now I wish you a all a Merry Christmas (or  Xmas is you prefer),  Happy Hanukkah for those celebrating from the 26th onwards and for those celebrating Kwanzaa  (also from the 26th onwards),  “Habari gani?” To the rest of you celebrating smaller celebrations I’m yet to learn of,  or perhaps something a little more personal this December,  Seasons Greetings to you, and I’ll speak to you all again soon.