Quantum Holidays

It’s Christmas Eve in my corner of the world, with tomorrow a day that many in my community – and across the world – celebrate as Christmas. Though its origins are Christian and Pagan, modern society seems to have done away with the religious significance of the date in favour of gift-giving, excessive consumption, and a celebration of loved ones. Some call this commercialisation; others, ‘Christmas spirit.’

However you may feel about it, two extra days off next week are a rare and welcome treat. Personally, I am looking forward to a rest after the pandemonium! But I don’t plan on looking at this future–or alternatives–too closely. I’m nervous that the moment I do, the hoped-for rest will cease to exist, like a quantum idea fluctuating in perpetuity until observed. Easy to predict, yet gone like it never was the moment its linked counterpart is noticed.

I read that Santa is nervous about that effect, too. After all, he could only reach every child in the world [who celebrates Christmas] in one night if he was quantum himself. The moment one observes Santa, of course, he stops being everywhere at once, and then how would all his gifts be delivered? Hence why all children are supposed to be asleep when he arrives…

'Death' from Terry Pratchett's Hogfather TV movie with a quote "It's supposed to be jolly, with mistletoe and holly..."
Death as The Hogfather in the 2006 TV movie

I both love and abhor the mythical figure of Santa Claus. I love how families seem to come together at this time of year to celebrate each other, and how Christmas has a magical quality centred around this impossible, red-robed figure. But as a parent, I am wary of the future point in which my children find out we lied about his existence all these years. What other lies might we have told? And I stand with Sir Terry Pratchett on the subject of strange men climbing into strangers’ houses. Suspicious and cynical perhaps – but Hogfather is one of my favourite novels, and I recommend anyone to read it.

Whatever the case, however you are spending the last week of the year, I hope that you encounter, achieve, and/or embrace all that you wish for. I hope you experience good health and great joy, or at least enjoy a quiet moment in your favourite place with your favourite people. I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season – whether celebrating or not. And I promise not to observe any aspect too closely. Just in case.


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