Choose the Christmas You Want
2020 and 2021 will be remembered as the years when we were kept apart from those who we value and want to spend time with. I believe that we can create an end to 2021 which will be one that we recall because we had a great time with those we love. I would like to offer some thoughts that we could use to set up a wonderful time at Christmas.
December is a common time for us to come together. The last 12 months we have been kept apart by Government policy quite intentionally. This has happened around the western world. Although it was done in the name of health, it is profoundly anti-health.
We've been locked in our houses. We're not allowed to meet and do any of the things we enjoy.
So we're going to make an effort this December to come together with our friends and family. I want to help everyone have a happy time by finding the neutral areas that we can all enjoy. An essential part of the international government policy is to fan points of conflict. We are going to resist that and find the areas of shared experience.
When we come together it is often over food. The invitation to join a table and "break bread" has a long tradition. In many cultures being asked into the home to share the table and its plenty is one of the significant signs of intimacy. The shared meal is central to Catholic liturgy.
That's actually a very significant moment. Friendship is enriched when you invite people to break bread.
Our Family can be either a blood connection or those we invite into our heart and hearth. However, the family that we have, blood and choice, is often a family of shared experience. And so it is coming together and remembering all those experiences good and bad that often create a great deal of laughs.
That's how we come together and share experience. Those shared stories really unite us when we remember the time that a cousin ran through a glass door and cut themselves to ribbons. And the whole of Christmas was suddenly about that event.
When we look at cultures with oral traditions, the stories over meals are central to the passing on of not just family but also community and national traditions. The Aboriginal's dreaming and story lines happen around fires and meals. They have a lot to teach us about the value of the time together with shared narrative and food.
We have these milestone events that occur that are often great points of reminiscing and enjoyment. And so the shared experience can be the meal you're sitting at. We want to create these concepts of memories that are meaningful and relevant. Another element of long term memories is an emotion. Great food with memorable flavours will act to cement the memory. It seems that our traditions are based on our physiology.
If we want to make a lasting memory adding a sensory experience will ensure that the memory is not just fleeting, but lasting. That's how the brain works, but they also create points of coming together for enjoyment. So we share something and often a great way to celebrate is a nice meal. Christmas is marked by everyone wanting to contribute.
An old New Zealand saying is "ladies a plate and gents a crate". Not very upmarket, but I know that many genuine memories were made at such family events. Everyone gets to contribute. There is great satisfaction in being part of the production. Appreciating others' contribution and seeing others enjoy the fare that you bring.
Everyone has an involvement and no one's left doing all the work.
The other thing that we'll often find when we sit down is that we can share common interests. They're these touch points that we each have. They are the thing that we go to first, you know, the magazine you pick up first, the YouTube channel you subscribe to will reveal what it is that you have as a personal interest. One of the things that deepens the relationships with others is to discover that you share a common interest.
To your delight, someone in your circle actually has a common interest you didn't know about. A wide ranging discussion will lead to discovering the unknown. A more offbeat interest, like they're into Japanese anime or another subculture, will lead to a deep friendship as you connect over an interest that only a few will be able to appreciate.
We may have an interest that we feel is a little weird to announce everywhere we go. So finding those common points often creates much closer connection, and that's what makes getting together worthwhile. We want to meet on a connect. We want to collect solidly on points that are meaningful to us and find out more about each other so that we can create a healthy relationship with our friends and family, where we're enjoying them for all the reasons that we can love them. And we can love them with all their flaws as well.
That's part of the challenge!
So for Christmas, 4 things to think about: sharing food, sharing experience, learning about each other to discover that there's often a common touch point that you know about, and just to know that the family that we choose or we're born with is the important reference point. If you can't really stay in contact with those people on good terms, it's not really boding well for the rest of your life. We've got to be able to agree to disagree on things. And remember that there's so much more that we share that is rich and meaningful that binds us.
And despite what we're being encouraged to do, to divide and conquer, we're going to defeat that message by coming together with heartfelt affection for each other and enjoy a wonderful December and start the 2022 year on a really good footing, feeling good about where we're going as community and family. So I'll look forward to you enjoying a super healthy year in 2022.