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.