Matthew Munson: Goodbye Halloween, hello Christmas

Matthew and Bryan

Halloween is over. Long live Christmas. The first of November has come and gone, and most traces of Halloween have disappeared (aside from the occasional forlorn pumpkin outside the odd house). In its place are Christmas decorations, present suggestions, and huge tubs of chocolate. Many years ago, I lived in a flat opposite a Tesco, and remember watching the staff taking down the Halloween decorations on Halloween itself, to be replaced by the colourful ornaments they kept for the festive season.

Bryan and I did trick or treating this week. We have a philosophy that we only knock on doors where there’s obvious Halloween decorations, and everyone we spoke to was so lovely and friendly. Bryan was happy with his haul of sweets, and both of us were touched by the friendliness we encountered on the way round.

And now we’re in that in-between period – no longer Halloween and not close enough to Christmas to start feeling festive. We’re looking forward to welcoming Bryan’s siblings here to Thanet nearer the time, and that will add a lovely element of excitement to the Christmas period. Both of us are passionate about family time and family traditions over Christmas; Bryan and I always go to a panto together (and he’s still keen to go), and we spend Christmas Day & Boxing Day with my parents, with his siblings and us getting together either before or after the day itself. Those traditions are sacrosanct for us, and I’m glad of it; it’s important for both of us to treasure those moments.

When I was young, I remember Christmases at home with my mum and dad (obviously), as well as with my paternal grandparents. There was a lot of laughter when we played games (and at least one of my uncles cheated), and just savoured the opportunity to stop and relax. My grandparents passed away many years ago now, but you never lose the memories – and I’ve never lost the desire to pass those same happy memories down to my own son.

My university days are still young, but I’m finding my groove. I go in twice a week at the moment, and as I settle more into the lessons, I’m feeling a little bit more confident. My Friday class this week had a lot of free time to write and be creative, and I came away feeling really energised by the experience. Some people are excited by dancing (my son) or football or climbing mountains, but the thing that energises me the most is writing. I couldn’t imagine a world in which I wasn’t allowed to write. My course is giving me extra tools in my writing toolkit; there’s always room to grow – whether it’s reducing my dependency on semi-colons (only one in this entire column so far – I’m getting better), or just sharing experiences with fellow writers.

I genuinely don’t know where my writing career will take me – or how this degree will influence it. But I can see how it inspires me to try new things and be open to improving my writing style with fair-minded critiques from the lecturers and my peers. It’s a logistical challenge, trying to balance lessons with being a parent, working, and being a friend, but it’s worth doing. I like being able to share moments with Bryan as well. Whether or not he decides to go to university, I hope I can show him that learning doesn’t have to stop just because he’s left school.

That said, I have some homework to do now (first time I’ve said that in over twenty years). I’ve done some Christmas present shopping, and now I can settle down for an hour and do some creative writing before spending time with my brilliant son.

6 Comments

  1. Christmas doesn’t start until Advent. If the festival keeps moving earlier and earlier in the calendar, then the event itself will be rather meaningless.

    • RobertEdwards – what is your problem in life? You really must get out more. Still, a troll is a troll and a sad one at that!

  2. Must you be a curmudgeon about everything and stop venting your spleen at even the most innocent of targets? Have you ever considered taking a more positive look at life?

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