Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas: My Place or Yours

This is a short article about Christmas.  

Well actually about who goes where at Christmas.

Although Christmas is of course a religious festival centered around Christianity, most people in the UK and our current home of Switzerland celebrate 'Christmas' regardless of religion.  The Celebration takes the form of actions which have nothing to do with Religion:

- Winding down at work
- Planning to spend Christmas with Family and/ or close Friends
- Eating and drinking more than normal
- Being more cheerful and positive than usual
- Buying Presents for yourself and others

But Who Goes Where?
What I'd like you to think about is who goes where at Christmas.

In the Following, You refers to your family unit as a collection.  For example for us it is Marcus and Agata.

You live at home with your Parents
You may be a young person who has not yet left home. If you are a teenager then it's usually a minimum contribution Christmas where after Christmas lunch you can at the first opportunity get back to your school friends via the Internet.   If you are over 30 then Christmas is a time when you wonder why you are still in this position and not in your own home. 

You Go back home to your Parents
As a young person you may have financial ties (notably bank of mum and dad) and emotional ties to your parents.   You may feel it is your duty to go home for Christmas even though it's going to be awkward.

The situation complicates immeasurably if you have a Partner in that if they come home, will you be allowed to sleep together!

You go back home to one Parent
Your parents may have split.  In this case you may still feel an obligation, but choosing one Parent over the other can lead to alienation.   Some therefore choose to see both parents over the period and even swap Christmas Day and New Years between split parents over subsequent years.  A horrible balancing act.

You stay at Home
You are quite happy to stay at home,  because home alone with each other, your family is the best combination.   Your parents and relatives can come over if they wish.

You go On Holiday
In order to avoid Parental squabbles you go as far away on a Holiday so there is 'no opportunity' to spend it with Parents.

Your Parents comes to You
This is where you actually have mindful parents who realise that you have taken over centre stage for family.   These are wonderful parents, often retired, and hence have more time come to you.   It might be a little awkward but the message is clear: Our family and our rules!  But please come and you will be welcome.

The Trump Cards

Grandparents unlike parents are acknowledged to have immobility as a given. So if your family as a whole wants to include them it can be done but might involve ferrying them to your house or if they are very wealthy going back to their large house in the country.  This is the home you will possibly inherit, so depending on your financial condition you may need to nice even if it does not come naturally.

The New Baby
As a trump card this means that you can't travel anywhere and everybody has to come to you and say what a wonderful beautiful and intelligent (etcetera) baby you have.

Third World - First World
Due to poor transport links and often pricing inequality (i.e. First world travelers get cheaper prices than 3rd world) if you live in the First world you might be expected to travel to the 3rd world.  You will have at best a socially rich Christmas but perhaps in very basic conditions that constantly remind you why you are living in the First world.

The Illness
If your parents are ill / frail then you have to make the effort to visit them.  Now although this could have been done at any time of the year, when both parties could have better planned for it, at Christmas there is a sort of override.

If you as a family unit are no longer financially or emotionally dependent on your parents then in the longer term you are invited to make the choice of what is best for your family unit, not what you are coerced into.

You only get one life to enjoy on this planet so live it legally and with conviction to make your immediate family unit first your number 1.