Moore: Christchurch Christmas is special

JOHNNY MOORE
Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013

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Johnny Moore

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OPINION: I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

I ate so much that I needed a mid-afternoon sleep to aid digestion and allow for evening ham eating.

This year I've been wondering if there are any grown-ups in the world that look cool in a Christmas cracker party hat or if it is just a conspiracy to make us all look as silly as each other?

Christmas is my favourite day of the year.

Whether you like it or not, the city all but shuts down for a day and everyone spends some quiet time. In the hectic world we live in, time to slow down can only be a good thing.

I know as well as being a happy time it is also a sad time. Christmas is a chance to think of people that were around on previous Christmases but aren't now.

But that time spent thinking of the departed is really important and if it takes Christmas to give people that contemplative time then that's great.

I tell you, Christians were really onto something with this Christmas gig. A chance to stop, break bread with family and friends, take stock of the year and look forward into the coming year.

This year we learned Kiwis are becoming less religious. While I think this is a good thing, I hope we don't get caught up in all the commercial trappings of Christmas and forget the best Christian and pagan bits.

For me as an atheist I chose to appropriate the best bits of Christmas (ham) and discount the bits that don't apply to me (virgin birth, non-ham etc.).

It wasn't so long ago in Christchurch that only a couple of service stations were open on Christmas Day and that was it. Even plant shops didn't bother fighting that one. Now, I fear, we are headed toward more-and-more stores being open on Christmas day.

I miss the absolute citywide closedown. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a breath from the rampant beast that is consumerism.

There's such a frenzy of shopping up to that day that surely we can handle one day without purchasing junk we don't need. You can always stock up on ham beforehand to get you through the day.

But even if the citywide shutdown doesn't survive, the best bits of the Christchurch Christmas tradition does.

Christchurch is a city that a lot of people move away from. Off into the big wide world to make something of themselves. But every Christmas some of them come home to see their mums and dads.

The city gets flooded with former residents catching up with old friends and the days leading up to Christmas are a time to rekindle friendships and spend time with loved ones.

Then they all go anywhere else but Christchurch for New Year's.

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As a kid, Christmas for me was all about presents. Nowadays it is the presence of all these retuning folk that makes the day special. That and the ham.

Happy holidays everyone.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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