Christmas. The other, much dirtier ‘C’ word.
For many of us, it’s a time of year to get really excited about; Cosy fires, festive drinks, a haze of gluttony and food comas, carols, drinky-poos and of course, presents and Christmas day with your family all around you.
For others, those very same things can induce dread so debilitating it can cause a hernia. Aside from the fact that high-street stores can start off with festive window displays and carols as soon as Halloween is over (what about bonfire night? At least give some recovery time, please?!?!?) Christmas can be a financial strain for some, who tumble into a spiral of over commitment and debts in order to fulfill the happiness and gift giving quota that society seems to demand of us these days.
I’m the first to coo over beautifully arranged Instagram photos of the PERFECTLY wrapped gifts, luxury brand gift bags, and impossibly beautiful living room Christmas trees. But in the back of my head there’s a tiny voice that scoffs and says, ‘well that’s all well and good if you want to sell off a kindey AND don’t have a day job. Or children. Or cats….’.
Christmas has become a commercial frenzy. We all know this. I thought I would list my top favourite things about this time of year that I cherish, that don’t really cost a penny, alongside the things I wish didn’t matter, and would banish.
That feeling I get in the back of my throat when I hear Nat King Cole or Ella Fitzgerald croon out a big band classic Christmas song. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. I can’t help myself from welling up!
Gifts from Santa? NO! As a parent, you can still maintain the magic of Christmas and the legend of Ol’ Saint Nick, but still take credit for the gifts you spent hours in shops picking out (and hours at work to pay for them). Kids are bound to get a little present-crazy when Christmas morning comes, but it’s important for them to understand WHO they came from and HOW they came to be there – through hard work and through kindness and thought.
Family traditions and rituals around Christmas time are the things money can’t buy. Whether it’s getting everyone together in early December to put up the tree with carols on in the background, or whether it’s going carol singing in your local church. Do you make sure you all sit around the table to breakfast together? Keep them. Trust me, they matter the most, especially when loved ones move away, or pass on.
Shops selling to us as early as October. I know it’s because people start their shopping that early, but if believes about how tall a gift pile needs to be weren’t perpetuated by marketing ploys, we’d all consider gifts by their merit and not their quantity. I can’t stand the “that’ll do” outlook some people have, but then I can’t blame them either. They’re conditioned to feel stressed.
Snow! It falls so rarely around this time of year. Get wrapped up and get out there and make a snow man.
Cheesy Christmas movies are all about the Christmas spirit – being with your family, all warm and loved when it’s so cold outside.
you have to spend as much on gift wrap as the present itself, right? WRONG! my top tip – everytime you get a gift bag, keep it, and reuse it next time you had out a gift. Buy your cards and wrap on sale in Jan for the year after, taking all the stress away when you realise you don’t have any, and also dramatically reducing your spend.
Do you have pet hates at Christmas? What are your treasured Christmas traditions? Leave me a comment below!