I’ve spent maybe as long as the last decade saying I’d like to either do Christmas somewhere where they don’t do Christmas… Morrocco? A small remore cottage on the west coast of ireland with only me in it? Or go and give dinner to homeless people… or pull crackers with alcoholic one legged dogs in Romania.
Its not that I hate Christmas… well… apart from the prolonged commercialism of it… the high expectations every one has… the panic…. the enforced bonhomie… see there I go again.
I love the tree… my decorations are a lifetimes eclectic collection., things the kids and I have made and inherited baubles.
I love getting presents.
I love a big roast dinner along with the next person. (though I snobbishly shun turkey for goose and then complain about the lack of left overs).
So what am I railing against?
I think I dislike the formulaic approach…. I dislike being in a rut…. but enjoy tradition.
Its such a difficult time of year.
Its not helped by the fact that the two people I had my children with both insist on present opening waiting until after lunch…. or even the queen’s speech. (though one of them softened the blow with a tradition of early morning small stocking presents).
This year…. I’m not feeling too bad. We are high tailing it over to see relatives for Christmas (therefore no cooking needed) and having gone into peterborough just the once I gave up on the will to live and came home and did the vast majority of my shopping online.
But it still doesn’t feel ‘quite’ right.
So i thought maybe i should think about my most memorable Christmasses….
The first started on the solstice…. my boyfriend and I started off at nine ladies stone circle in Derbyshire… decided the vibe wasn’t right and drove spontaneously to Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey. from there we drove the short distance to visit friends just up the road…. and we stayed for Christmas in a house with no fridge, no tv and only a baby belling cooker. There were five of us plus a child and we ate nut roast and musical instruments were played and wine drunk.
The second was the year I left my husband (at the end of November) I thought it was fairest to our daughter for her to go back to the house she’d thought of as home for a long time for her Christmas and I was determined to be on my own and be miserable. It was a year when many unexpected people gave me thoughtful presents (all of which I opened at about three seconds past midnight on Christmas morning – and then regretted doing so in the ‘real’ morning) and lots of people offered to share their days with me.
I caved in at about half ten in the morning and rang up friends…. their house was full of people who hated Christmas on principle… we ate and drank and played twister and had etcha sketch competitions…. it was probably my best Christmas ever.
This year I know what I’d really like to do from a totally selfish perspective is spend Christmas with my cigar smoking bear…. it would involve food and drink and presents and zero pressure other than having to get out of bed at some point or dinner won’t happen. (we are both habitual hibernators).
And as Christmas is all about children I should spend it with my children.
But then a lot of Christmas with small children is about making them conform to the structure of the day… no you can’t open presents yet…. no you can’t eat chocolate all day…. we all have to watch the queens speech/go for a walk/sing to the sky pixie or whatever else families insist on doing that makes their particular Christmas special.
I’m not sure where that leaves me…. mostly I think what I dislike is the pressure that the day has to be the best it can or else its a Christmas wasted…failed…. a Christmas you’ll never get back where the sprouts ran out and you only received socks.
Right… with that ramble over… I’m off to write Christmas cards… I like that too… other than the pressure that it has tobe done dusted and posted before Christmas.