Christmas, what did you learn? Whilst thousands of families unwrapped popular presents: Bluetooth karaoke microphones (my ears still haven’t recovered), cookbooks (to add weight to the Jamie Oliver shelf in the kitchen), and enough indulgence bathing sets to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. However, what was said to be tearing families apart this Christmas?
This years hot present, that caused Jezza Kyle style repercussions, was the genealogy DNA testing kit. Sold as a way to find out your heritage, hundreds of eager ancestry enthusiasts are sending away their cheek swabs, hoping that they are descended from some illustrious family tree. Dreams of royal connections and celebrity lineage now filling the nightly mind wanderings and fuelling fantasies. However, there is always another side to the coin. Dark secrets are also revealed of family betrayals and evil twists of fate which have altered destinies. In a recent BBC News article, a family was featured with the specific problem of paternity. Ageing siblings finding out that after 50 years of growing together, that they do in fact have different fathers. This devastating news has rocked their world and opened up a Pandora’s box of questions. What was seen as a fun gift, has turned into a life changing scenario – for all the wrong reasons.
But really, what is family anyway? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing the importance of our blood lined brood, but I’m rather reflecting on what really matters. Christmas always bring controversy and problems, when you spend close confined periods of time with your nearest and dearest. So, who needs DNA tests to cause ructions?
The above news story was in my Christmas Quiz of the Year! A quiz I’ve long since created to keep the family peace. This annual occurrence keeps them alert after mountains of food and the equivalent of an air hostesses drinks trolley of alcohol. Along with family facts and questions linked to top news stories of 2018, I also got them to make various numerical guesses including the amount of kilometres I’ve ran this year. It causes arguments, yes, but it also causes much hilarity and stops the day ending in everyone in an indulgence induced coma. And when there’s twelve around the table, stuffing their faces like they’ve starved for the past 365 days…if I don’t keep them alert and active, I’ll be calling for the ambucopter to airlift their drowsy distended bodies from our little house.
Move to Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and thereafter and it is apparent that I’ve spent a wonderful amount of time with my friends. Friends, who are quite simply my family. You see, as much as I love them all, we also can have arguments and hilarity in equal measures. They might not be part of my genealogy bloodline but they all hold a special place in my heart. This year brought with it a new tradition to rival the quiz- The Inaugural Boxing Day Jog and Dip. This involved a North Sea paddle to blow those food and drink overhangs from Christmas Day away! Followed by brunch, vodka, games and a roaring fire…more overhangs.
Maybe my above tales make you think how lucky I am. After all, I have beautiful family and friends who I love in equal measure. We’ve had fun and a full house (notice how little I refer to all those presents we so desperately bought). So you’d be right…But don’t be deceived. There’s been many moments of worry, over tiredness, stretched purse strings and pursed lips where I’ve had to bite my tongue to keep the peace. It’s been hard work and only today did I collapse onto the sofa and sleep for an hour solid (that never happens). I’m now panicking about all the things I haven’t done, all the people I haven’t spoken to (sorry) and the upcoming workload of 2019. I can’t help asking myself, is it all worth it?
What present is tearing families apart then? Not DNA testing but our anxieties of having the perfect Christmas. Therefore, my present to you is that I’m going to share my philosophy with you, and it’s as simple as this:
It’s only one day. The only important items you require aren’t the ubiquitous Christmas paraphernalia but spending it with the ones you love. Fun costs nothing!
Making memories is the name of the game. Carry that with you into 2019 and you’ll have a belter of a year!