Friday, August 19, 2022

The Capsule Collective: And So This Is Christmas…

Let's be friends!

The books we're reading, the vibrators we're using, the rants we're having and more in our weekly EDM.

If you’re anything like us, time seems to have been entirely irrelevant in 2020. Is it going too quickly? Too slowly? Is it April still? Or 2022!? Who the heck even knows anymore.

Well, actually, according to the calendar, we’re now in late October. Which means it’s officially less than two months until Christmas. How does this make us feel?

Here, we have a chat about the upcoming Christmas season and how we’re feeling about it all. Because, today you’ll see we now have a little Christmas section here at Capsule. From now on, if you want a little Christmas magic sprinkled on your day, just hit Christmas on our homepage. We get that not everyone is going to be feeling particularly festive this year, so no, we won’t be all in-your-face about it, but we also think we deserve a little magic, kindness and connection this year – so when you need just that, you know where to come!

ALICE – It’s time to inject some magic

Ordinarily, if I spot an advent calendar in the supermarket during early October, I roll my eyes whilst something in my head screams COULD WE AT LEAST GET TO HALLOWEEN BEFORE THIS MADNESS STARTS PLEASE?!?

Normally, those rows of decorations popping up are a terrifying reminder that there isn’t much left of the year, which can easily throw me into a tailspin: Have I accomplished everything I needed to do this year? Why haven’t I organised a holiday? How am I going to fit everything in before the end of the year? Are Christmas deadlines at a weekly magazine finally going to be the death of me? Why is life going so quickly?!?!?!

Ahem.

But this year – in typical 2020 spirit – Christmas feels entirely different to any that’s gone before. This year, I couldn’t wait to see those candy canes and tinsel go on sale. This year I’m thrilled that the year is wrapping up. This year I have no plans and I simply couldn’t be happier about it.

Besides being quite thrilled by this reminder that the year is over – maybe I’ve watched too many cheesy movies with a Christmas miracle in the end – but, I’m also feeling a little flutter of excitement about having some magic injected into this hellish year.

See, once upon a time I was a complete Christmas maniac. Christmas would be a negotiation with whoever I was living with as to how early I could put up the tree. I collected decorations from different countries I visited and twice, in two different apartments, got told off for hanging lights in my windows (bah humbug, body corp!).

But slowly, my festive spirit faded away as times got faster and more stressful (oh, and an ex-boyfriend somehow ended up with my shoebox of those Christmas decorations). When I look back, I’ve spent the last 17 years working in magazines, where Christmas meant deadline hell, and nothing but the stats off (if you were lucky!) if you worked on a weekly deadline. It wasn’t particularly conducive to feeling festive and joyful.

I felt a glimmer return last year, as I was checking out of a hotel in Yosemite National Park in the US (yes, remember when we used to leave the country??), and by the counter was a rack of wooden Yosemite themed decorations. From somewhere inside me, that little Christmas spirit pipped and whispered, “Buy one!”. So I did, and it sat unwrapped in my storage alongside my Christmas tree, which I just didn’t find the time to put up last year (that, and the fact my tree is so ginormous that it would have taken up 40% of my living space).

But this year, my little Yosemite deer and Monterey otter are already out of storage and sitting in their tissue paper, ready to go. Yip, it might be a while until I get the chance to add to my new collection of decorations, but this year, I’m ready for a bit of magic.

EMMA – My magical tree and me

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart). No, wait, last Christmas, my flatmate Ed brought home the world’s most perfect real Christmas tree. It was like a movie Christmas tree, so perfect it looked fake. When it came to taking it down in January, the tree was too good to part with and still looked box fresh. This continued for a few weeks. We had a busy February, so the tree stayed. Then Covid-19 went from being a dull murmur to a loud roar and suddenly the tree couldn’t go anywhere.

Every night I would put on our Christmas lights. The tree went from being a sign of laziness, through to a festive saviour during that grim second lockdown, and now exists as a stubborn symbol for 2020.

Actual tree: not pictured

The tree remains. I type this sitting next to the tree. The tree will be here for Christmas 2020, come hell or high water. Yes, it no longer looks box fresh and the daytime light is not kind to its slightly thinner branches. But every night, the lights go on and the room is festive again. The tree will reach Christmas worse for wear for 2020 but – and this is an OBVIOUS METAPHOR, I know – who isn’t reaching Christmas in 2020 a little worse for wear?

There are some years that strip you right back to basics and hell if this hasn’t been one of them. If you are reading this, you are alive and that is worth celebrating as we reach the final gasps of a year that has tested all of us.

It is not going to be a perfect Christmas. Loved ones are scattered across the world. Some of them are sick. Some of them are lonely. This year has been an emotional marathon but WE MADE IT. This year, when we gather round with the friends and family and loved ones we are able to see, we will all be that much more grateful that we were able to see them, be in the same room together (touching ALL the wood around me) and hug each other. Because none of that was possible for huge stretches of this year and we all got through it together.

I’ve never felt more tied to my bubble, my community and my country than I do in 2020. New Zealand, I love you. I can’t wait to see you on the beaches. Let’s all just keep using our tracker app as obsessively as we can to make sure we can all get the break we deserve. Santa, if you’re listening, all I really want is for Dr Bloomfield and Jacinda Ardern to get a summer holiday. Let’s make sure that happens.

NICKY – I enjoy being grumpy about Christmas

A lot of people are saying they can’t wait for 2020 to end already but I’m pretty sure this crap is not winding up on December 31st. Better that we focus on Christmas than New Year’s, which is currently set to be even more anticlimactic than usual. 

I love looking forward to Christmas. I like it more than actual Christmas. Actual Christmas sometimes makes me feel sad because in the end it’s just a day and it’s usually raining.

All the planning and the shopping and the watching of hopeful movies set in snowy places is finished. Those weeks of anticipation have led up to a heavy meal, some paper hats and a bunch of poorly chosen items that will be half price by tomorrow.

I enjoy being grumpy about it, particularly in front of my husband, who is still like a child about Christmas.

He grew up in England where his family truly would gather around a crackling fire to open their stockings and eat homemade fudge out of crystal bowls.

He has a better attitude to Christmas than mine. I see his happiness and, in the spirit of giving, I try to find small ways to spoil it.

But not this year, friends. This year I am going to love the shit out of Christmas. And I am going to be grateful. Because in amongst all of the nonsense we’ve been through in 2020, this has been a year of gratitude. Gratitude for the health of the people we love. Gratitude for having a roof over our heads and food to eat. Gratitude for being in a country that banded together like never before.

In many ways this whole year has had something of the Christmas spirit about it. Not the celebration or the over indulgence. I’m not saying it’s been buck’s fizz at breakfast and brandy snaps at 4pm. I mean that there has been a lot of taking stock, feeling lucky, looking out for others and telling people that we love them. That’s the kind of ‘joy to the world’ we need right now. 

KELLY – Another year over… a new dating game just begun?

I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love it – the excuse to drink a lot of bubbles, the parties, catching up with friends and family, ham. Mmmm, ham.

But usually, there’s no getting around the fact that Christmas is another life marker, and it usually goes like this.

*Goes to family house, sees family*

Everyone – “So, Kelly – got yourself a nice boy yet?”

*Heads straight for Mum and Dad’s liquor cabinet and finds 20-year-old bottle of Midori. Drinks Midori. Thinks to self, at least it’s festive Christmas green.*

I don’t mind, really – in fact I think the fact it’s now a recurring joke in the family is actually quite funny. A yuletide tradition, if you will, at my expense. And after the events of this year, I feel like Christmas 2020 will actually be void of the usual light stab of pain that comes with being reminded of my romantic ‘failings’.

This year’s Christmas will simply be a celebration of getting the hell through – and it’s a shared, momentous achievement that we can all be proud of.

So, I’m determined to squeeze every last festive drop out of these holidays. I’m going to get a tree for my TINY little apartment. (I only had a 10cm tabletop one last year, and while it did feature Jacinda Ardern’s face on the top as a kind of odd political angel which was pretty choice, I think this year I might step it up to full sized).

Buckets of bubbles. Fairy lights. Many social occasions that will fill up my calendar and make me buy new shoes. A hunt for a new pavlova recipe that won’t offend my dad (he’s a traditionalist, although he did like the dark chocolate and berry situation I made last year).

If there was ever a time to have that ‘perfect’ Christmas, because, damn, we all deserve a day to sit back, eat some great food, have a laugh with our whānau and celebrate the good things in life.

And when you’re kicking back with a cold one on Christmas Day, if you’re doing so in Aotearoa, you have more reasons than almost anyone else in the world to celebrate.

Meri kirihimete!

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