The day the Christmas magic died

For Aunt Harriet, Christmas Day was magic. The happy squeals of the children as they ripped open their presents, the contented sighs of the adults after the Christmas dinner, and the happy family banter through the rest of the day. She looked forward to it for months.

This year, however, had been different. One of her favourite grandsons had married a Muslim who thought Christmas was typical of Western decadence and wanted no part in it. Albert, Harriet’s brother, had discovered how eggnog handily concealed large helpings of rum, and his loud snoring in the corner for most of the day had been embarrassing. The growing young men in the family, meanwhile, had vacuumed up everything edible by 2:00 pm on Christmas Day and disappeared off downstairs for the rest of the day to play video games.

It hadn’t been Christmas like those memorable Christmases of old with the whole family together opening presents, singing carols round the piano, eagerly anticipating the Christmas meal and playing board games together into the evening hours. This year no one had been interested in doing anything together. Some of the family were so tired they slept in ’til Noon. The kids in the family had opened all their presents before breakfast and were bored and irritable by 11:00 am. The much anticipated Christmas meal had been a quiet affair with everybody wolfing down the pile of food in record time, no one coming up with anything interesting to talk about, and the men escaping the clean-up afterwards by “putting on a movie for the kids,” they said. The cat, meanwhile, had swallowed a turkey bone and spent the day under the sofa making dreadful noises trying to cough it up.

All that planning, the anticipation, and the time and money Harriet had spent trying to make Christmas special, and for what, pray tell? Christmas was supposed to be about being together as family, but Harriet overheard two of her children talking about going on vacation over the Christmas break next year to escape the “Chris-mess” as one of them had called it. And was Christmas really “about the kids” anymore when the delight of opening presents had only lasted half an hour, and the toys lay in a heap for the rest of the day, untouched?

The whole day had been a terrible disappointment. The old traditions had grown stale, the younger generations in the family were so different, and the adults needed TV and video games more than each other.

For Harriet it was the day the Christmas magic died.


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