It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for me personally. From now until January 1, I actively participate in the trend of seasonal relationships.
This time every year, I emerge from my romantic hibernation, lumbering toward the sweet smelling pic-a-nic basket of sexual opportunity. You see, bar the meaningful relationship that has a tendency to hit you when you are least prepared, the other eleven months of the year, I am resistant to casual relationships. The reasons why are simple: you get to know someone, have a series of moments and then say goodbye. For better or worse, there seems to be a lack of occasion to it. A failed relationship in March feels the same as it does in September. However, the same situation in December feels different. Like losing the lotto by one number. You still didn’t win but you’d already started counting the money.
This Christmas season marks the fourth year of my holiday tradition, and I suppose you may ask, as do my friends, why do you do it? Well, nosey, the reason is simple: I’m just keen on OPC. Other People’s Christmases. The whole thing; the different tree; the kids I don’t know running on instinctual excitement; the clingy, distant relatives who look the same, who seemingly all work the same job; the mother of whoever I’m dating at the time, subtextually pressing me for long-term plans.
But the main thing is to see, to fill my curiosity, how the people next door do it.
It’s not without its faults, but memories are memories.
As an example, last year I entered into a Christmas union, and found myself at a Roman Catholic service held in a distant, aged-care facility where the Pastor/Reverend giving the service was the father of my partner. My then-partner, I should say. He himself didn’t seem that religious but being the son of a minister he had his own charm which separated him from the rest of the flock, before and since. Anyway, as seasonal mirth surrounded the table, I learned that the uber-religious enjoyed small talk and casual boozery as much as those resistant to it. The fact that it was Jesus’ birthday was a means to get smashed for both sides of the crucifix. Soon thereafter, the small talk deepened somewhat, when I was pressed what my favourite hymn was. My mind shot instantly to the Christmas tunes I knew and, quite certain none of the twelve apostles was named “Buble”, I quickly changed topic.
But Christmas lunch was grand, we ate the ham that symbolised the baby Jesus.
A failed relationship in March feels the same as it does in September. However, the same situation in December feels different… I’m just keen on OPC. Other People’s Christmases.
It could be seen as me using people but I feel confident enough to say that guilt doesn’t enter into it. Christmas is a material holiday, it’s all about the act of giving, and frankly, I get out of it as much as they do. The family tradition in my family is a lack of tradition. We wake, eat at my mum’s, then it’s off to the ornately organised smorgasbord. Festive noise takes a solid backseat to the regimented order of the festivities. I love my family but before I start my own tradition, I’d like to cherry pick the best parts from the festivities of others.
I’ve learned a lot from the relatives I’ll never meet again: the experiences which so freely enter conversation, seemly only at this time of the year; the darkest secrets of my beau; the mistakes they’ve made. They are keen to share the experience.
I ask you, who is at risk here? Who is being wronged? The idea of romantic love, perhaps, but that only exists in fiction (China, you’re ruining it for everybody – Ed).
To those who think my yuletide cheer is as plastic as the gift cards I hand out, a Merry Ho-Ho to you and yours…might bump into you on the big day.