Christmas Day is arrogant and lazy.
Christmas Day is arrogant and lazy - all the preceding days do the actual graft. It will be mid-December for me, perhaps earlier for you, when the year raises its head, looks around, and nods in quiet recognition that now Christmas is approaching, some cheer and goodwill ought to be spread. These humble, dogged days now get to work and inflate us full of Christmassy delight. A gentle incense is released and the temperature drops to a comfortable degree, we gather more closely around one another, in pubs and living rooms, high-rise blocks or gardens sprawling. This is when you can acutely feel whatever it is that you associate with this time of year, warmth or chill, depth or lightness. This is a slowly building ecstasy that gathers pace as we work towards the day itself - a boulder rolling down a gentle slope, finger pushed and slow at first, but hulking mass soon speeds up well. It is the 21st or the 22nd when I am at the apex of my delight, when the practical chores are still to be done, but I am covered by a splendid and delicious cloak of Christmas, warming me and insulating me against all else. The days do not so much pass from this point but mulch and melt into each other, each another indulgent and gooey treat fresh from the oven right up until Christmas Eve. The day itself then, Christmas Day, is free to coast on the efforts of its forebears, all preparation concluded, all the work (apart from the washing up) nearly done. I distrust this Day, judging it to not really have earned the respect with which it treats itself, as if it is the one who has done all the work, rather than the clustered, humble days before it. But then I remember that this is what they wanted, what they were working for and towards. They were as an army of helpers launching a swan-shaped boat into a lake. While the boat itself is smug and serene, gliding splendidly through the water, the helpers wipe their hands and look quiet and proud at one another, their work, unrecognised but unmistakable, done for another year.
Made it to the day down under - Merry Christmas!