Born in the middle of the year, in the middle of the month, I am a Gemini in the true sense of the word.
Geminis are closely associated with being two-faced (I suppose that's why some people abbreviate my star sign to the latter syllable; I prefer being just a gem).
I prefer to think I have a dual personality which explains why I simultaneously love and hate the festive season.
What I hate is the way the time of year has become commercialised, with shops displaying Christmas trees two months in advance and others shoving pamphlets in your face from every direction at every intersection to advertise their "unbeatable offers and discounts."
I also hate the long queues of people who show true meaning of the term "silly season" by leaving all their shopping until the very last minute, while I, with my single shopping basket, wait in a line from the Cape to Cairo to pay for my three items.
Worst of all, I hate the fact that some people abuse the festiveness and lose all sense, resulting in the violation of scores of women and children - which has necessitated the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against the abuse of women and children.
On the other hand, as with all things in life, Christmas is what you make of it. Without removing any of the biblical significance, I choose to see Christmas as a time of forgiveness and peace.
Which may explain my recent bonding sessions with my family. For reasons not necessary to go into, my mother and I have not been on speaking terms for most of this year. I was reared by my grandmother, so we have never really had a mother-daughter bond.
But, during the course of the last two months, there has been a change. Not only are we speaking, she also calls me "just to find out how you are," something I've been longing for for quite some time.
Also, my brother has been clean for a while now and is back home. I have decided not to keep track of his status because I've realised that recovery from substance abuse is a long and winding road. So instead of reminding him and myself of his sobriety, I choose to instead support him as far as I can and to enjoy every moment with him. The small steps to building a bond with my mother, and strengthening the bond with my brother, make me feel that we are progressing from The Three Stooges to The Three Musketeers.
In retrospect I know now that, although we may not be the best of friends or have the greatest relationships, we are always in our parents' thoughts. As my mom likes to remind me, she carried me under her heart for nine months and will continue carrying me in her heart till the day she dies.
So in conclusion, what I love about this Christmas is the fact that, for the first time in four years, I'm going to spend it with my family - my mother, my brother and me.