What does Christmas mean to you? Is it a time to reflect and remember, a time to look forward and plan or a time – just to get over? The yuletide season has a habit of bringing out the best and worst in people. Families squashed together during the compulsory 25th celebration can soon start to conjure up and chew over every grievance of the previous year. The routines, rituals and traditions that each family builds up over Christmas can become a millstone if you’re not careful.
Celebrating Christmas in another country is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the best and worst bits of the Christmas that you’ve taken for granted for years. You have the perfect excuse to continue or to drop selected parts of your 12 days. It might be a cliché, but coming to live in Spain does tend to reinforce what’s most important. After all, it’s the family that matters most.
The crisis has brought people together here. You would not want it to happen this way, but this Christmas, in the middle of austerity, is riddled with generosity. Perhaps one of the main reasons that Spain is holding its head high through the difficulties it is facing is that families are grouping and re-grouping to help each other out. And we can use the term ‘family’ loosely. Generosity and aid are travelling further than the immediate family. Everyone here understands how difficult it is for those hit hard by the recession and villages and towns, as well as families, are rallying to help people out.
Austere Christmases are nothing new. Anyone brought up on a diet of Charles Dickens, knows how bleak it can be. At least we will have plenty of stories to tell of the Christmas of 2012 and how compassionate we really can be.
Merry Christmas to us all. God bless us, every one!