The Secret of a Merry Christmas

After a month of festive food programmes, fairy lights and glossy perfume ads Christmas is finally here. According to collective fantasy we should pass the day in a booze-haze, flinging mince pies into our faces while the Queen mumbles on the telly. Every sentient being knows there is a chasm between Christmas Fact and Christmas Fiction, though, even for those of us fortunate enough to be spending the day in a warm house, with pleasant company and plenty to eat.

Family tension, memories of loss, or disappointment can tarnish holiday cheer, if we let them. It is vital to remember, as Ursula LeGuin said:

Love is not a thing that happens to us. It’s a thing we do…. It’s not an experience. It’s a way of relating.

If we expect love and happiness to wait on us we’ll always be disappointed. The secret to happiness at Christmas, or any day, is to make love an active choice, not a passive sentiment.