DP Photo Challenge: Anticipation, take 2

Wrapped Christmas presents. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Christmas and anticipation seem to go together.

And I don’t mean the anticipation of boundless joy and togetherness portrayed in popular culture’s ubiquitous imagery of shiny children beaming over shiny gifts, or huge happy families gathered around tables laden with food.

I’m thinking instead of how that imagery, which equates Christmas joy with rampant spending and over-consumption, also serves to heighten — for many of us — the anticipation of loneliness, isolation, inadequacy, fear.

In Auckland (and many other places), people are queuing all night outside the City Mission in the hope of a food parcel and perhaps a donated gift for their children. (Stuff, Dec 16 2016)

Police and Women’s Refuge say that incidents of family violence will rise over the Christmas period, and that only a small proportion will actually be reported (NZ Herald, 10 Dec 2016).

Those who have extended family can turn to newspapers and websites for advice on “how to survive the family Christmas” (Stuff, Dec 10 2016) — some consolation perhaps for  those already struggling with loneliness and social isolation.

In my little family, we have developed and evolved our own Christmas rituals and coping strategies. Yet I still feel anxiety that as the principal architect of our family’s social structure, I will somehow get it wrong and engender disappointment rather than joy.

And as much as I want to create something special for those I love, I am eagerly anticipating Boxing Day, when I can just relax and read my book.

This is a contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme this week is anticipation.


8 thoughts on “DP Photo Challenge: Anticipation, take 2

  1. hear, hear – bring on the boxing day!

    one of my former bosses in Denver, Kyle, always talked about how some holidays just suck, but you can withdraw completely or you are a putz. ha so we find balance, and like you said – that line with creating something special while also having wisdom.

    and you caught me with this post…. in a good way!

    I saw your nicely wrapped gifts (cool hint of lights back there too) and then read “anticipation of boundless joy”
    and so I was curious to keep reading – expecting maybe to hear your love of this or that – and then
    the spending and consuming part – and the loneliness for many.
    great points Sue…
    and I think what i see a lot of is “disappointment” and “pressure” – where people put unrealistic expectations on what should be happening or what should be bought…
    or they are just disappointed that maybe every day life doesn’t feel magical (even with tons of stuff) …


  2. Su, I couldn’t agree more. Last year I had over twenty people for Christmas dinner. The turkey was so heavy it hurt my back to lift it out and baste it. I used paper plates last year and my brother complained about it. Of course he didn’t have to wash the dishes after. This year we’ve had an early Christmas dinner for twelve and on Christmas day there will be another dinner for 14. I will be so glad when this is all over. Forget the presents. I know that there are a lot of people suffering and may not have family or a place to share a meal with loved ones, but I am so looking forward to Boxing Day to put my feet up.


  3. Su, I can always count on you to express so eloquently how I feel. This time you captured it with “I still feel anxiety that as the principal architect of our family’s social structure, I will somehow get it wrong and engender disappointment rather than joy.” We put so much pressure on ourselves.

    As much as I look forward to Christmas and our gathering, I too will breath a sigh of relief for the quiet and calm that comes on Boxing Day.

    Merry Christmas Su!

    Liked by 1 person

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