Today is Saturday the 31st of March. Last weekend I went home for a classic Unwin Family Christmas. To many this would make no sense at all. Others would think we have a family feud with Jesus, born one week and crucified the next. But the simple answer is that we’re the Unwins and we don’t do things normally around here.
We have had a spring/summer Christmas maybe 4 or 5 times, all because we liked to get the Somerset side of up and have a meal together and enjoy each-others company, exchange gifts and make a nice day of it. Everyone we meet when we would go out to places like Stratford to have our “Christmas” outings would get into the spirit of it as much as we would. And that goes even for this year when we had it in March rather than January.
I headed into work to pick up a few things, wearing a rather full backpack that was straining at the zip. Emma on reception asked what I was doing.
“Oh, just going home for Christmas”.
“Sorry?” She looked like I’d just shat on her chips. I explained what we were doing and why, and suddenly her face lit up. “Would you like some crackers? We’ve got loads upstairs!” I nodded, and about a minute later was handed a carrier bag full to the brim with Christmas crackers and sent on my merry way.
And that’s generally how everyone treats it. They see it as something odd, but with a spark of magic and heart. My mum regaled us over Christmas dinner of the story about ‘the woman in Debenhams’ who loved the idea and wanted to do everything she could to make it as special as possible for us. She even went so far as to declare her love for the idea and announced she would be stealing it.
I reckon we should sue.
The day itself can’t be completely like Christmas, obviously. We can’t afford the Queen to record an address for us not to watch, although to get the same TV feel we could have just switched on Gold or Dave and would have got the same feel. The food is overall the same but cheaper, and the presents are too. The only difficulty is getting hold of Christmas cards, which is why we’ve started stocking up on Boxing day and that way have got a card for every occasion at about 1/5th of the price. It’s grand. And this year we very nearly got snow.
But above all it just resonates that the real point of Christmas isn’t the gifts or the booze, although the booze always helps, but it’s the people. We hade three families there this year, The Unwin core, my brother’s family, and my fiancé’s mum and dad, all crammed in one room, laughing and chatting and enjoying each-others company. It was our biggest unChristmas yet and, although missing a past constant figure in my dear departed Grandmother, it felt the most homely.
I would heartily recommend delaying your Christmas. Or just get your families together more. Or at least the ones you like.