The Christmas decorations hang in the street and adorn the statuesque Gallery and City Hall I can see across the road. The supermarkets sport puddings and treats. Communal anticipation has begun.
Christmas can be a joyous family time, a holy festival, a cause for anxiety or a commercial necessity. Often it is a mixture of several of those. It is, regardless of the feelings attached, anticipated for a long time before its arrival.
That anticipation reminds me of childhood. Christmas was an important period – gifts, school holidays, summer. Easter and chocolate marked another portion of the year and one’s birthday was the third big event.
The last of those came with the added benefit of becoming a year older and the anticipation associated with that was acute – so much so, one would count down (’54 days until my birthday!’ or ‘I’m six and THREE-QUARTERS!’). The best thing was when Mum rounded up – for convenience and to give more useful information, I now realise – placing you a year ahead of the strict numbers. You were unofficially grown up before your time!
Anticipation can bring forward and extend the joy. Anticipation can drag out the concerns. Anticipation can be shared, or a secret. Excessive anticipation can even take the edge off the main event. Whatever the case, for our special times, the anticipation reminds us to prepare.
So I’m off to prepare – just a small element but certainly part of the picture. The decorations have possibly got me moving. Anticipation has commenced.