Tag: gifts

A change of Christmas heart

I’ve struggled with the idea of Christmas this year. It was quite obvious, even from this time last year, that my Dad wouldn’t here for Christmas 2016. And although Christmas isn’t a time I associate with my Dad (he thought it was a commercial waste of time!) it’s still tough when there’s a massive gap in your life at a special time of year.

I’ve also been finding Christmas more and more stressful as years have progressed. I have always absolutely loved the festive time of year, but in recent times I find it more difficult to buy presents for people (everyone just already has everything) and the lead up just becomes one big self induced hassle with me still wrapping presents and swearing at midnight on Christmas Eve.

So, this year, I have been quite vociferous in my disdain for the impending season, poo-pooing the idea of wasting time and money on Christmas presents and generally being a bit of a grouch. I’ve been actively encouraging people not to bother buying me anything, and suggesting we spend our money on holidays or meals out or anything that doesn’t require me racking my brains on what to buy whilst simultaneously wishing everything Christmassy would go away. That’s not to say I don’t intend to celebrate. Food, drink and time off work, what’s not to like? I just don’t feel actively engaged (baring in mind I’m usually buying presents as early as September).

Then, last week, I had a tiny inkling of festive spirit in a work trip to Llandudno (I know, all the glamour). The festive lights were sparkling and the decorations were up in the pub and I felt a little flutter of excitement, which I quickly tried to stifle.

peeking-santa-claus-christmas-is-coming

But the following day, my Dad’s wife (who was of a similar opinion to me) told me that she’d bought some new Christmas decorations, and had decided that we couldn’t and shouldn’t ignore it because, although my Dad didn’t love Christmas, he knew that we both did and he wouldn’t want us to not celebrate or be miserable. And it made a lot of sense. Not only that, if she can be brave and decorate her home and face her first Christmas alone, then I should bloody well do it too! When the husband and I first got together he was a Christmas Grinch because his Dad had gotten ill at Christmas and he associated it with bad times. And I cajoled him and encouraged him and sweet talked him out of that and into a state of Christmas happiness, so I can’t take that away from him, especially when I worked so hard!

The upshot is that I have gone into present buying overdrive (which, strangely, I’m finding much easier than expected and even enjoying!) I smile at Christmas songs on the radio and I’ve established a date for putting our decorations up at home. Because, as the saying goes, life goes on. And I know my Dad would want that too.

Ooh, and I’ve been asked to write a guest post for Estellosaurus, which is all about my Christmas traditions, so it’s a good job I’ve had a change of heart as otherwise I would have had to say no, which is pretty rude when someone has made a kind offer (I’ve never been asked to do a guest post before). Have a pop on over to her blog and sigh with wonderment at her amazing blue hair! You can also follow her on instagram and Twitter.

How are you feeling about Christmas? Do you like it/love it/loathe it? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Post Christmas round up

Did everyone have a fab Christmas? I hope so. Ours was full of food and family, as it should be (family first, obvs). The spare bedroom came together to look like a beautiful boudoir for my Mother in Law (maybe boudoir is the wrong word for a 76 year old woman?!) The flat looked like a beautiful festive grotto and lunch was, as always, a pleasure to cook (and eat!)

Christmas Day and night was a massively relaxed affair with drinks flowing, watching films and generally feeling very happy. Just like Christmas Day and night should be.

Boxing Day lunch was at my Mom’s, then an evening visit to my Dad’s where I proceeded to wear as many Christmas presents as I could as I opened them – what can I say, there was a lot of my beloved leopard print and I wanted to make the best of everything immediately (the Christmas pudding hat was a late borrowed addition, and yes those are leopard print tights on my head).

Christmas leopard print

We were ridiculously spoilt on all sides by our families, overwhelmingly so, and felt humbled and grateful and lots of other adjectives to describe ourselves in the face of so much love and happiness.

On our return home yesterday I retired into my new leopard print loungewear (which has pockets!), drank Bailey’s, ate Pringles, and watched Christmas films. Because Christmas doesn’t finish until my work alarm goes off on Monday 4th Jan.

Today I’m still in PJs, having a Mexican day – the perfect antithesis to traditional roast dinners (which, by the way, I would totally eat all over again now) – eating a tex mex buffet (onion rings, garlic mushrooms, spicy potato wedges and sweetcorn jalapeno fritters), with the promise of turkey fajitas later. I may may not won’t get out of my PJs at all.

This is one of our only days of doing nothing during the holiday.

And I’ll enjoy every minute.

Ooh, and panto tomorrow! (oh no it isn’t; oh yes it is!)

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals! Keep the change!

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Christmas considerations

I grew up loving Christmas. Long past when it was cool to do so; long past when most teenagers lost interest. It’s always been such a special and exciting time for me, and my parents always made it fabulous.

When I was 21 my parents divorced, and our family dynamic changed. My Mom’s new partner had two young children, which was just magical for me as a Christmas lover. Seeing their little faces as we lavished them with presents, having a genuine reason to play with lego and dolls again in my mid-20s, the joy of buying toys and clothes for little people; I loved it.

Now we’re entering into another Christmas experience – the kids have grown up and don’t play with toys anymore (wah!)

And these days I find the lead up to Christmas very stressful and, dare I say it, less enjoyable than I used to.

Christmas 2015

Sadly, and completely playing into the hands of all those people who complain about the commercialism of the season, the main reason for this is gift buying. It hurts my brain. And, in a way, it’s my own fault. We’ve always bought multiple gifts for family members, meaning that a bottle of aftershave or a new shirt just isn’t enough. That’s not from the gift recipient point of view. It’s from mine. I have it in my head that there must be oodles of presents to open, therefore increasing the stress on myself!

The trouble is that these days things are so accessible that people tend to buy themselves stuff throughout the year as and when they want something. If we’re lucky enough to be in the position of having disposable income, there’s no need to wait for those shoes/bag/earrings.

Plus, the older people get, the more stuff they already have.

And don’t get me started on gifts for men!

It hurts me that I now look upon the festive season with a sense of apprehension and fear, when I should be concentrating on the fun things like seeing friends, eating, drinking and being merry. We’ve been watching Christmas films for the last couple of weeks but they only serve to remind me that the big day is getting closer and I have little idea of what to buy my family. The German market opened in Birmingham city centre last week and the very thought of it even being there gives me a headache.

On that note I’m off to breathe deeply into a paper bag while making a list of things people don’t even need…

P.S – if anyone has any cool/unusual/inspiring gift ideas, do let me know!

Oh, and while I’m on a Christmas rant, what’s with the mild weather? It’s not even cold enough for a winter coat, let alone for Santa. We need some festive temperatures so I can drink mulled wine without sweating. Because nothing says Christmas less than stripping off layers of clothes and fanning your face with a festive flyer.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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