It is Christmas Eve 2015. I measure time in birthdays and Christmases. In my case that ends up being exactly six months apart. Birthdays happen in the summer for me. Christmas is the apex of winter. Actually, it comes just a few days after the winter solstice which marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere but I still think of it as the height of the winter season.
My mother’s birthday was on the winter solstice. She got a rough deal because of that as a child. Everyone always gave her a combined birthday and Christmas present. My brother and father and I were always sure to make the distinction when we celebrated her birthday though. It must have colored her perception of the year though, I’m sure. She didn’t have two milestones six months apart to divide her years neatly in two like I did. Consequently it may have never occurred to her to divide the year up in that fashion.
Memories of Christmas are mixed for me. Lately they have been less joyous than they were when I was young. I think this is because it has become a time of year where there are exceptional demands on the finances and money is always in short supply.
In late January or early February I get my annual bonus at work. It is dependent on stock performance the previous year but our stock has been performing well so dependably that I have come to depend on it.
Then, a few weeks later, there’s income tax return. I had one unpleasant brush with the IRS after which I made sure that I always pay more than I am going to owe so that I always get a substantial return. This is also something upon which I have come to depend.
I have been making an effort to change my perception of Christmas to more of a time of cherishing family and reflecting upon the good things that have happened in the year that we are wrapping up. It is easier said than done but I am stubborn and so I have hope of achieving this goal.