Many people I know have little things they do each year to mark the Christmas season.
Around this time every year my Mum makes a Scottish sweet called tablet. It is kind of like a fudge but is much, much sweeter. In fact, it is so sweet that when you eat it your fillings begin to pulsate in your teeth and you feel this rush of warmth to your head. It is the biggest sugar rush I have ever experienced.
My Mum feels that Christmas is not Christmas without the agonising rush of tablet, raping and pillaging your arteries as it enters your bloodstream. And she is right.
My friend Jules makes mulled wine despite everyone’s protestations because her recipe calls for 99% wine and only 1% mulling. I feel flammable for about a week after drinking it. But Jules read about mulled wine in a book when she was a girl – the title of which has slipped into the mists of legend – and she feels Christmas is not Christmas without mulled wine. Even in 40 degree C heat. And she is right.
Another friend, Mel, has to buy a coffee and spend an hour or so looking at the window displays in David Jones. (David Jones is the much less grand equivalent of Macy’s or Harrods but their Christmas window displays are excellent). She has to stand there with all the kids and tourists getting jostled and elbowed so that she actually spills her coffee on the brand new shoes she has treated herself to for Christmas, but she feels Christmas is not Christmas without an hour spent looking at the David Jones windows. And she is right.
I like to sit by the Christmas tree in the dining room when everyone has gone to bed and just watch the lights flash and look at all the ornaments. I can see the lights reflected in the French doors that lead out to the garden, arcing in myriad colours like headlights on an expressway at night.
Sometimes when I am sitting with the Christmas tree I listen to Judy Garland singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. I love Judy Garland so much that I have considered the possibility that I have a gay man trapped somewhere inside my body. Or maybe even a drag queen. No one, but no one, sings Little Christmas like Judy.
It is nice to sit in the soft glow and ponder the winding down of another year. To think about what Christmas really means. The ghosts of several Christmases past sit with me. I can feel them. We sit like old men with blankets on our knees, dozing lightly.
That moment, that little Christmas moment is one I indulge in every year. I couldn’t do without it.
It feeds my spirit.
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the coloured lights casting neon lines on the floor. And sitting in the silence watching them.