They say Christmas is a time of reflection.
“We’re being modest this year” my mother told me a couple of months back. It was the established rule that we were only buying a couple of practical presents for one another. As such, gifts were going to be practical things which we actually needed; frivolous “Christmas crap” was off the list.
With my Mother leaving her job and myself having to survive “by my pen” for several months in London doing freelance work before landing another full time role, money has not been flowing this year.
As such, a less material Christmas was decided upon.
As it turns out though, it’s been wonderful. It really is a truth universally acknowledged that a few well thought-out gifts trump a lot of pointless presents. Not to mention coming home to lovely food and warm family is its own gift, particularly after such a turbulent year. The safety which comes with home is its own priceless gift.
When I awoke on Christmas morning, I sent the a text message to three people. Friends who I have made in the past year. Quite simply, it thanked them for being there for me, for supporting and putting up with me over the past year, and for showing me a level of acceptance and love I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have.
2 of those people I’ve known less than a year, and one for just over.
But this morning I realised that, in truth, those 3 people are the true gifts this year.
If all I had received this year under our Christmas tree was a book and a pen, I would still have counted myself lucky beyond my wildest expectations. Friends who are there for you, who aren’t constantly trying to get one-up on you, are valuable beyond belief. All three have become incredibly special to me, and I hope I can be the same to them.
I never had many friends growing up. In the boarding school environment there was more animosity than support; more hurt than help. I sort of hardened myself to the idea of surviving on my own. The knowledge that I don’t have to, that there are people there who support and love you for no other reason than simply being yourself, is the best present I could ever have had.
There’s something immensely protecting about both family and friends. This past year has taught me the power of money, which it is ridiculous to deny, but it’s also taught me that companionship is a currency much purer.
If Christmas is a time for thanks, then for these three men I’m sincerely thankful.
As I move into the new year with a new job, new house and new London life, I simply reflect on how lucky I am to do it with them looking out for me.