No sooner has the August bank holiday weekend gone then shops start creeping in their Christmas ranges. Then from mid November onwards you cannot move for Christmas products everywhere you look. Every magazine has Christmas supplements or pull outs. There are tins of sweets stacked ten high, four columns wide. Yards of Jaffa cakes, though quite how they symbolise Christmas I have no idea.
What I am noticing more and more though is this feeling that if you don’t have your tree up by now you are some kind of failure. Or Scrooge. That you some how must hate Christmas if you aren’t wrapping everything in your house with tinsel.
Well I am just putting it out there that you are not.
That is okay to say “This is December, it is not Christmas”. You don;’t have to apologise for not having your tree up yet. For not feeling festive. It doesn’t mean you wont be when the calendar reaches the 25th, it just means you aren’t right now. As I’m not.
I don’t know why Christmas has to be a whole month, and can’t just be contained a bit more into the third and fourth week of December. I get that kids are excited and that if you have small ones it is all about the nativity and which shelf the Elf spent the night on, but I am just drawing a line in the sand to say that if you don’t want to do that, then it is fine.
It is fine to have not planned your Christmas day menu yet, or worked out the three different varieties of stuffing to have on the day. That you really don’t need to be thinking just yet about the accompaniments for Boxing Day’s leftovers. If you are, that is great, but if you aren’t that is also great.
It seems to me that us “whatever, I can do it in a couple of weeks” brigade are being viewed as oddballs so I just wanted to wave a flag to say “over here, come and sit with me in the corner of sanity”. We know it is only a roast dinner with a cracker and that we can shop on Christmas Eve if we want to. And that actually our family wouldn’t care if they turned up to find it was ham and chips for Christmas lunch, all that matters is that eleven of us will be around one table for two days.
Surely that is the bit that matters? Not four weeks of hype, of expense, of build up? I truly don’t think this makes me a scrooge or some kind of bah humbug grump, I think this makes me just want to preserve Christmas and make it a bit more special by keeping it contained to a week.
Is this level of hysteria sustainable? I am not convinced. If I was planning and fretting about it for weeks in advance I would be bored of it by the big day, and exhausted and just want it all to be done. I am sure that by not spending every waking moment thinking about it, not spending four weekends staring at the decorated tree I am making it a bit more special.
As a child the tree was decorated on Christmas Eve in our house. That was the tradition. Christmas Eve the tree was brought in and then decorated ready for Father Christmas to come that night. It was magical. I loved it. The build up in the weeks leading up to Christmas was about doing just that on December 24th and somehow that magic has got lost along the way. I am in a real minority with wanting to do that now, people think I am insane to wait until then to do it. Except for Mr B who said we could that this year if we wanted to. And I do want to. We are having friends over for drinks on Christmas Eve (the second year we have done it and I so I am calling that a tradition) and Mr B suggested we invite all our friends to put a bauble on the tree.
That sounds like a cracker of an idea to me
(did you see what I did there?)