Every day of every month we are hyper focused on what's new -- from food to travel; cars to celebrities; technology and entertainment; to work and life trends...there is an obsessive, irresistible pull towards the future. We want to be immediately better, smarter, savvier by half past the New Year's ball drop.
All of the sudden everything is fresh and ripe with possibility at 12.02 am (albeit in the fog of a hangover). We can be thinner, smarter, richer this year...we can just feel it. We want to know what's trending on Twitter; who has the most Facebook followers; and what's the hottest new device that diehards will queue through the night for. Messages of 'new' surround us - new workouts, parenting tips, foods, ways to be, it's there right in front of us ready for the taking from January through November.
This year saw a mixed bag of Snapchat, Miley Cyrus gone bad, a baby called George, casting and recasting mummy porn, and a movie or two that made us cry. We marveled at New Yorkers fighting for 'cronuts' and whether Amazon's Bezos has lost his drone. The selfie came and went and came again and landed Cameron and Obama in hot water. Twitter floated and a few cents-worth Bitcoin bought some bloke a flat in Scandinavia. Crowdfunding went mad and Nigella went rogue. It's a swirl of 'can you believe it' 'did you hear that' and so on.
We are consumed in this fog of newness until just about the first of December. And then we do the time warp...
A warm and cosy place that is full of common knowingness and nods of agreement. Of familiar feelings and the usual frustrations. We latch onto the past and sit with it for a while. Newness comes but it's well vetted before becoming part of our holiday lexicon. We allow in Downtown Abbey but look suspiciously at anything that is more futuristic than past.
We get teary over Love Actually (...'I know, me too, I cry seeing families embrace at Heathrow') and laugh at Elf for the millionth time. We stuff ourselves with mince pie and drink too much of everything...again...and again. We fight, we love, we complain about the weather. We giggle at the lights in the city and roll our eyes at the drunken revelers. Pubs get festive and Oxford Street sparkles. The shopping centres have ice rinks and become jam packed with shoppers. Work do's turn cringe-worthy and hearts melt at the little angels in the school nativities.
It all comes too soon and the tree is decorated in the exact same way. The turkey is ordered the same day, we forget to send cards again, we queue up for sales for ourselves and forget to get Aunt Betsy a present. We hope for snow and get rain. We read about the good deeds and Christmas sorrow. We all get colds and bemoan the shortest day of the year.
Technology and change come at dizzying speed these days, but we can rely on this time of year to slow us down. We remember what's important and enjoy the pace of familiarity. Christmas is a reminder that what's old can be new again and again. Come technology and world change, there is nothing like the same old sights and sounds of Christmas Day.