Whether it is elbowing your way through the hordes of raging gift-shoppers, facing end-of-year madness at work, or wondering how you're going to survive the family get-together with your sanity relatively (excuse the pun) in tact, it's all too easy, at the end of what for many of us has been a rather long and trying year, to see the upcoming festive season as just another mountain to climb.
But think back.
When you were seven, each morning of the summer holidays presented itself to your barefooted self like a freshly unwrapped treat, bright with colour and possibility.
For some, it would’ve started with a road trip. The car packed at dawn, a padkos of hardboiled eggs and cooked chicken drumsticks nestling in the cooler box with the sodas. Maybe there were shiny new buckets and spades in playtime colours slotted into the boot alongside suitcases stuffed with shorts and swimming cozzies. There might’ve been mini wars on the backseat, I-spy games, and a whole lot of dreaming, all the way down to the sea.
After a few days, you’d be used to the gritty feeling of sand in the seat of your swimming costume and chilly water on your sunbaked toes. The fruity juice dripping from your ice-lolly would make everything sticky, but it didn’t matter, you could just wash it off with a swim in the sea.
Or maybe there were festivities at home, with hordes of extended family arriving in an explosion of laughter, tuppers of home cooked food and promising-looking gifts. You might’ve been swung up in the air by uncles, hugged by aunties, spoiled rotten by Granny and Grandpa, or ran around yelling and giggling amid a rowdy pack of cousins, getting under the feet of the grownups in the kitchen who were trying to prepare the salads for the upcoming feast.
Whatever your end-of-year holiday experiences might’ve been when you were young, there was always delight to be found. Whether it was an icy pink slice of watermelon eaten on a sunny patch of grass, or long, delicious dinners enjoyed with family under the bushveldt stars, it was the simple things that made it all so special.
So this year, perhaps we should get a little bit retro-festive (and no, this is not a suggestion to dress up in a bad eighties outfit in Christmas colours)...
How about we should approach this time the same way that we did when we were seven? This festive season, let's allow ourselves to be enchanted by the little things. After all, they're the ones we will remember long after the season has passed.