I love the strict formulas we follow at this time of year.
Pre-Christmas we dutifully rack up triple figures on indecent amounts of food that we wouldn’t normally eat and pack our cupboards with enough alcohol to intoxicate an entire county.
We watch repeats of Christmas specials, play board games and dance badly while sloshing our favourite drink over the floor.
There are things you can absolutely rely on – Christmas tree lights will blow, you will run out of something essential when the shops have shut (no matter how many lists you made) and someone will eat all of the best chocolates and then inconsiderately leave the wrappers in the tin.
It is that one time of year when all normal rules of social convention go zooming out the window as if caught up on Rudolph’s reins.
Drinking alcohol before lunch? Check.
Consuming double your own weight in food? No problem.
Snoring and dribbling unconsciously for hours in front of your entire family? Perfectly acceptable – expected even.
Come January 1 we nurse our hangovers and once again embark on a gruelling detox of no alcohol, no chocolate and well, practically no food – partly because we have no money left and partly because it seems like a good idea after all that indulgence.
But, aside from all the crazy traditions and day-time drinking, I love this time of year because after the madness of Christmas when everything slows down a little, it feels like a good time to reflect on the year – what went right and what could have been done differently.
This time of year is about loving and giving. It’s also about understanding and forgiveness. These are qualities we would like to teach our children, yet sometimes forgiveness is one of the hardest gifts to give. When someone you care about hurts you, it can be difficult to comprehend how they could let it happen.
But forgiving means accepting that people don’t always get things right. It means understanding that people can only do the best that they can with what they have at the time. It means accepting that they, like all of us, have their faults.
I won’t start reeling off philosophical quotes here. The reality is that forgiving is essential for our own sakes.
If you refuse to forgive, then you are the one who carries the weight – you lug the anger and resentment around with you.
So I am going to spend some time today thinking about how I can let go of anything that went wrong last year, and how I can make changes for the future.
So whether you were very well behaved in 2012 or you fully deserved that lump of coal in your stocking, I wish you all a happy 2013 and a year filled with luck, love and laughs. Move onwards and upwards, live and learn but don’t let mistakes define you.
Oops, I said I wouldn’t write anything philosophical, didn’t I?