Wednesday, 15 December 2010


So, once again, the majority of the British population (indeed, most of the world) is supposedly approaching a time of festivity, joy and happiness. Christmas. It's true that Christmas generally does bring with it fun memories and gifts and other pleasant occurrences, but the Christmas period as a whole can be rather stressful.

There are hundreds of Christmas cards to be written (to people who already know that you care about them without a card that simply says what you will say to them in person anyway), presents to be wrapped, having been bought first (which is actually easier said than done, because I haven't found time to go shopping yet, and Christmas Day, scarily, is just over a week away!), annual updates to be sent to distant relatives (with whom this is the only contact, in the entire year), homes to be cleaned and tidied in case of visitors, and much, much more.

Not forgetting the fact that the Christmas cake has to be made, the mince pies sprinkled with extra sugar, the marzipan rolled and cut into delightful shapes, and the mulled wine mulled.

But on top of this, for those of us who have to go to school for approximately 40 weeks of the year, and especially for those of us who are nearing the end of our compulsory education, there is homework to be done, coursework to be completed, and exams to be prepared for. Science revision, in my case, is not what I'm most looking forward to about Christmas.

Add onto all of this any extra-curriculum activities which need preparation, such as finding sheet music, practicing accompaniments for various school choirs and musicals, and along with that, consider any additional hobbies, such as piano practice (for a grade 8 exam in the next term) and violin/viola practice (for a grade 8 exam in the forseeable future), and you have a large list of things which need to be done.

I have lists, written on post-it notes, stuck to my cupboards, in the hope that by the end of the Christmas holidays, everything on them will have been crossed out. It's a long shot, but it's worth a try.

My point, at long last, is this: Are 'holidays' really holidays? Yes, we have a break from school, but my view on the upcoming Christmas holidays is that they are a chance to catch up with sleep, work, and music practice; a chance to get on the ball with everything; a chance to maybe even get ahead of the game. It's not a holiday, not for me! And I don't think that there is anyone, anyone at all, who will have these two weeks as one long holiday. Everybody will be catching up on sleep / working / catching up on things that they don't usually have the opportunity or time to do.

Don't get me wrong - I am by no means complaining about the Christmas holidays. I shall enjoy them immensely, and will not be at all willing to go back to school at the end of them.

I'm simply considering the terminology. The irony of it..