After a quite dreary interlude between the summer and winter, known commonly as autumn, winter is able to flourish and wreak havoc in full gusto. The mornings grow ever colder and colder and eventually, sometime just before December, when you wake up freezing even with your duvet fully sheltering you, you come to the realisation that Winter is upon you. Although our bodies may freeze, Winter is the one time of year our hearts collectively thaw: we stop giving one another labels and we all become human, united under the one idea of Christmas. I’m certain you all saw this coming, I’m a child after all. In my eyes, as it is with every child, Christmas and winter are synonymous with one another. Despite the fact Winter runs through January and February both months are second only to autumn in terms of dreariness (you might be getting the sense I don’t really like Autumn now). Therefore let’s leave dreary February and January to their miserable selves for now and discuss the best month of the year: December.
December is defined by the birth of Christ (and my birthday, you can decide which is more important). However, religion is dying out in England: thus Christmas moves further away from Christianity with every passing year. Instead, it focuses on presents as well as the coming of big, jolly St Nick down the chimney. Even with all the Christmas stories and movies that discuss the importance of giving and the “Christmas spirit” (the best such story of course being the Muppets’ Christmas Carol), it feels as though children are becoming entitled and demanding: presents are becoming not a generous offer of kindness but instead an expected, yearly measurement of love. It may be hypocritical for me to talk about people 4 or 5 years younger than me as “children” but I believe it is those 4 or 5 years that make the difference. After all, for me those 4 or 5 years were the times in which I still believed in St Nick. At first I was angry at my parents for having lied to me, although I never confronted them about it. Now though, I am thankful for my parents as they kept the world unexplainable and magic for me, just long enough so that I still suspect there is some supernatural in the world.
Still on the subject of December, I must talk about the weather. December and winter take what Autumn tried to do and actually succeed. Winter does it so well that it is able to turn the orange, wet leaves that autumn left discarded around England to become brown, frostbitten packages of joy that patiently wait to be stamped upon so they can deliver that all-important crunch sound to whomever had the fortune of crushing them. Reminisce over the best winter you ever had, and the sting of your cheeks as the cold gnaws away at you. Remember the rush of blood around your body as it fights to maintain your survival against the biting cold. Remind yourself of the smell of cold air that creeps its way up your nostril and into your brain giving you a previously unobtainable high on life. For me, this weather provides the only time I feel truly alive. Every other season blends together, but Winter provides a sharpness that feels as though the entire world is in HD.
Before we move on to January and February, I have to discuss the final important aspect of December. In fact, I have to discuss the most critical moment of the entire year: New Year’s Eve. Much like the climax of a book, we have one moment in which all of our accomplishments for the year culminate at one point and define who we are in that moment. We place a proverbial full stop on the year with a massive party and a very late night. I still remember every New Year’s Eve party from the last 7 years, from the murder mystery night when I became the murderer and gave it away too early, to the calm evenings watching Disney movies with my sister, and I remember them with great nostalgia.
Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve gives way to January and February. They’re like the ugly sisters of the world. You wish you could hide them from the world and lock them up in a cupboard but unfortunately they have this annoying habit known as existing. They are a long slog full of practice exams and a lack of joy in sight except the small ‘holiday’ of Valentine’s day (that ironically brings with it nothing but sadness and loneliness for those unfortunate singletons). You’re starting to get it aren’t you? January and February hold no good memories for anyone I’ve ever met and despite my sister being born in February, I stand by the lack of good memories in those months. Therefore, in the spirit of those muppets and their Christmas Carol, I will honour December in the past, the present and the future.