Last time I felt truly ready for Christmas was probably when I was about six, mainly because at that time I did not prepare for it, it just came, and it was lovely. Santa always brought the presents I had asked for, as if he knew me exactly as well as, let’s say, my parents, and the weather was always perfect, even if it rained. It almost always did as a matter of fact, but I was not bothered, the disappointment of not having a white Christmas came into my life only once I learned English and thus became informed that people used to know them.
However, as I grew older, Christmas became embroiled in all sorts of unnecessary stress, beginning with the daunting task of learning a poem for the children’s programme at church and decades later culminating in nigh nervous breakdowns in some hideously crowded shop while realizing, with one day to go, that my friends have simply gotten all the presents a human mind can conceive and whatever I gift them from now on will always be subpar disappointments, because who needs the thirteenth pair of reindeer socks and a cheese grater?
This year though life had other plans for me, much as I objected to them, and we had to undertake the complicated task of moving our stuff (or perhaps there is a better name for it, as George Carlin aptly explained) three streets down into a new apartment. This put me in a kind of paroxysmal state which other people probably only experience when taking some seriously mind altering drugs or during a rapture, so I fear to envisage what would become of me if I had to move my stuff three countries down or something. This all meant that any Christmas stress became temporarily irrelevant, as I was focused on packing every little trinket I own-relevant or not- into boxes (unpacking is left for January), and by the time I finally found myself in the new place, Christmas was around the corner.
All that could be fit in under the guise of preparations was a quick raid to the two main Christmas markets in Budapest- the classical one on Vörösmarty square and the recently very hyped one in front of Saint Stephen’s, with a quick taster of the mulled wines (Divino still makes a pretty fine one) and some sparse shopping, say in Zara Home as we need to decorate the new flat and the likes, but would someone tell me why are their quilts so expensive?!
Luckily, it was snowing, though by the evening, as usual in Budapest’s central areas, the flakes became ever slushier. I then realized that I would not be able to work any magic on the shots I’d taken, because our computer is still locked up in some of the boxes, but by now I’d just learned to let go, so here they are, in all their un(re)touched glory, and gradually shakier as the mulled wine kicked in. And with them I’m wishing everyone who chances upon this blog for any odd reason a wonderful, relaxed and hassle-free holiday season.