In Germany we celebrate Christmas one day ahead of the British and Americans so allow me to formulate some soppy thoughts for the festive season already today on the 24th!
When you get older and grumpier one can say Christmas is just a massive waste of time: Cheesy as hell music on the radio, the pressure to purchase even more stuff and Santa has been invented by Coca Cola anyway. But when you strip away all the religious stuff and consumerist hocus pocus then to me Christmas is about wrapping up the year (no pun intended) and coming together with friends and family to chill.
It’s getting cold and dark, so getting together somewhere cosy and well lit makes total sense to me. Dragging a real pine tree into all of this at the cost of it’s life not so much but hey, I just assume the Pagans knew what they were doing!
Yet, even more classic than the Chistmas turkey is the Christmas family feud. When different generations, points of view and lifestyles collide at the dinner table, shit can hit the fan!
So why is it so hard to keep to keep the peace? I guess apart from the obvious issue of having different people forced to co-exists in the same space for a whole evening I feel it has a lot to do with expectations and needs.
SHIT IS GETTING DEEP NOW!
It’s easy to avoid issues when you are apart from each other, but hard when being face to face. Every little annoying gesture or comment can trigger Defcon 5 at any given moment,
So here are some things I feel help to keep things chilly chill this Christmas :
1. Do check the technique
Someone is always the host and expects that the guests respect the rules of the house. Yet as a guest you are used to your own rhythm, and it can piss you off to have to adapt to the groove of someone else. Yet peace lies in the compromise: The host needs to mentally prepare that their guests want to feel at ease and might have their own requirements to be able to relax, yet the guests should respect they are entering the realm of someone who has his own groove going on.
Basically: Don’t smoke a blunt at the dinner table, yet your parents should allow you to put on some Cypress Hill when the family unwraps the presents!
2. Don‘t bring the Ruckus
Every family has their quarrels. Parents, Siblings and extended family can easily clash over minutiae: Everyone has an opinion of how the other could/should change their job, relationship or lifestyle. As annoying as this is, normally this uninvited feedback comes from a place of love and care. Parents want to see their kids safe and secure, of cause they would lean towards a more conservative approach regarding life. That’s why your Dad hates the fact you want to go to art school instead of becoming a solicitor or something similar boring.
So to keep the peace it’s important to dial down passive aggressive comments, unsolicited feedback and open judgment.
Just because you are pissed off that you didn’t loose any weight this year there is no need to tell someone else they got fatter and should go easy on the Christmas chocolates, alright?
Ultimately any concern should be about the happiness of a friend or family member. So instead of diving into questions about current jobs and relationships, one should focus more on another question: “Are you happy?”
If the answer is yes, who cares about the details. Just because you feel the urge to earn crazy money on Wallstreet and drive a Porsche it doesn’t mean your cousin who is working as a lumberjack in Canada simply MUST get his act together and get into the banking business. He might be actually happier than you, with more free time and fresh air!
3. Don’t give shit Christmas presents!
The most common mistake people make with presents is that they gift things they like themselves, and not actually caring what the person they gift to wants to have.
Don’t be that asshole that gives a loved one ugly jumpers in the wrong size or passive aggressive shit like a treadmill or diet books! And don’t try to beat them at their own game: If your nephew is a sneaker head, don’t buy a pair of shoes in the local mall YOU would like to wear. Respect the fact you have no idea what you are doing and step away from making any hasty decisions. Just because it kinda looks like a Yeezy doesn’t mean it’s a Yeezy!
Another festive classic is to re-gift stuff that got gifted to you and you don’t need anymore. People WILL know what you are trying to pull here!
To get some stuff that’s so far removed from any interest you actually have is one of the biggest insults one can make. Better come clean and say: “Dude I actually don’t care about you. So I didn’t bother getting you anything.” That’s more forgivable than gifting a tennis racket to someone who just broke both of his arms!
So on that note do I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday or Awesome Tree day! Don’t fuck it up… for Chrissakes!