All I Want For Christmas, Is…

Well, today was rather pleasant. A nice lie-in before heading to the in-laws and cooking Christmas dinner. I think the husband and I did good. We cooked the whole meal (trimmings an’ all!) and my highlight was the pan fried shredded brussell sprouts with bacon, and it went down really well.

I did get a lil annoyed at the constant wandering in by the father-in-law who tried to tell us how to cook. Eventually a polite message along the lines of ‘if you want it cooked that way, do it yourself’ silenced him and there was nothing but praise for the finished meal. Hurrah. Win.

Presents  were all rather lovely: cinema voucher, PJs, Amazon voucher, a Steampunk tee-shirt, a ‘Jedi Path’ book, some MTG sleeves and gaming mat, TICKETS TO THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR. Hell yeah! ❤ and… FLIGHT TICKETS TO NORWAY TO VISIT FRIENDS!  How amazing is that? I feel really humbled to have loving, generous and wonderful friends. Each and every gift I received this year had so much thought put into it.

Facebook is rather joyous today as well. No political rants, no hate –  just love and best wishes, and photos of excitable children. Got to admit… it’s made me broody. Perhaps Santa will bring me a baby for next Christmas?  I really hope so.
christmas baby

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Christmas?

I’m not overly religious, so for me, what is Christmas all about?

I’m very up and down when it comes to Christmas. I love giving and seeing friends and family, but I dislike the feeling of expectation that laces everything – expectation of grand gifts, excessive decorations, gluttonous amounts of food; an overindulgence of…well…everything.

Is that what Christmas is about? Have I missed the point? Should I be buying those I love and care for boxes and boxes of gifts to show them I love them? Should I eat my weight in rich food because it’s ‘Christmas’? Should I cover my house in gaudy decorations?
Yes, I realise I sound very Ebenezer Scrooge-like, but I genuinely believe that some of the magic of Christmas has been lost in the brain-washing of large corporations and retailers.

For me, it’s about showing people that you care:
A coffee with that mate you’ve been chatting to on social media all year but not physically seen, maybe?
Helping those who rely on public transport with some shopping or appointments?
Cooking Christmas dinner for the overworked mother-in-law? (Yes, my husband volunteered us for this and initially I wasn’t that impressed – I burn water! – but now I’m thinking it’s a good idea)
A telephone call or visit to an elderly person who’s alone perhaps?
There are a 101 ideas, but the point is – think about what’s important to  others and try to give something that would really matter, and even think about putting yourself out a little if their request calls for it. Giving: it’s not just about material gifts.

reindeer

Bah … Humbug*

I won’t apologise for it, but I’m not a fan of Christmas. I dislike the pomp, the false cheer, the excessive decorations, the way the media and adverts scream to us “buy buy buy.”

I don’t like the gluttony surrounding food, the guilt-trip charity adverts, the busy streets or the shitty music.

I don’t like the fact we’re supposed to be nice to everyone “because it’s Christmas” – why? Why does that make a difference? If I don’t like someone, I doubt that being nice to them for a few days around the 25th December will make them like me more or make them think that perhaps they were wrong about me for the other 360 days ….

But what I hate most is my low bank balance.

Christmas is expensive.

It’s not just the presents that cost money (more on that in a bit) but it’s the socialising as well. Now, I’m all for catching up with people but why is such a big deal made out of Christmas?

“Oh we must get together for Christmas drinks.”

“Right … when do you want to do that?”

“How about next Friday?”

“Ok, Friday. The same day we meet up every week – why are you calling it Christmas drinks, it’s the same drinks, same place and same time as normal.”

*blank stare* … “But it’s Christmas.”

 

I’d be interested to know just how much extra the month of December costs the average 20-something. It’s not cheap, and I’m guessing an extra £200-300 easily. Who exactly has this sort of money to splurge on top of their usual commitments? Why do we feel the need to spend so much in the month of December?

Presents. Christmas nowadays seems to be a case of “I love you so much, see, I’ve spent a fortune on you.”

(I’m guilty of this in the past, not any more, I’ve wised up … I know your game Nick, I’ve got my eye on you …)

I only know of a small handful of people who either make their gifts or put real effort and thought into them. The amount of cheap tat bought in December must be enough to fill a couple hundred landfills. Why do we do it? Why do we waste our hard earned money on cheap trinkets that will be broken on Boxing day?

 

Maybe I’m being a miserable old hag, maybe I’ve got it all wrong, maybe Christmas is a magical time of year when all our wishes come true, world hunger is sorted out, terminal illnesses are suddenly cured and the wars of the world stop for 24hrs (Christmas 1914 WW1 comes to mind here but that was almost 100 years ago … our society has degraded since then,) and crime is non existent.

Unfortunately, the 25th December is just another day, the only difference in today’s world is the fact it’s a bloody expensive day.

 

* this is written with a certain amount of exaggerated disgruntlement, but the sentiment is solid.