Christmas in the Country(ish)

Although this year has been a difficult one (for oh so many reasons that I’m not even going to try to describe) Christmas has always had the power to pull these dark times back from the brink for me (for about a week, and then everything terrible returns, obviously). I wanted to take a minute to put out a little Christmas message to everyone out there.

Now I know, I know… Terrible things are still happening. The world never lets up and there are people around the world suffering. For the sake of this post, please forgive my narrow field of reference and First World privilege. Were I to wallow in the suffering of the world, there would never be a reason to smile or write or laugh.

I hope for world peace, but for now I will settle for three days off from retail.

This year sees me at the home of my in-laws, in the sunny city of Oxford (well it isn’t sunny right now, but perhaps the sun is off for Christmas too). There is just something about Oxford at Christmas… I think it’s the age of the buildings. That’s definitely a part of it. I think the other reason that it feels so festive is the concentration of churches in the middle of the city. If you imagine that each of the Oxford colleges has a chapel and that there are also a bunch of churches of different denominations that have no connection to the University, you start to understand how many we are talking about. I’m not a religious man, but the concentration of Christianity in this city means that there are so many decorations, carollers and events happening that even the staunchest Scrooge would want to sing about Good King Wenceslas. I even went to Midnight Mass a couple of years back. That was a weird experience. Lovely and festive, but weird. (Update: I’m going again this year, because why the hell not?) Also, Christmas here is helped by the fact that my father-in-law makes homemade mince pies that are awesome.

So, in summary, I want to say a huge Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy Hanukkah/Joyous Yule/Happy Festivus to anyone and everyone. I’m in Oxford and it’s lovely. I hope that wherever you are is lovely too.

Let us all give 2016 a great big middle finger and rock into 2017 swinging.

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