Is it possible to avoid the stress of Christmas? This once jolly festivity has become an increasingly manic occasion that puts extraordinary levels of pressure on families. Do you know that the first Monday in January is known as Divorce Day in the legal community? There’s much discussion on whether Christmas is the final straw for many couples.
I have been listening to the radio this morning, to many conversations with families in cars travelling hundreds of miles to be with loved ones, with passengers laughing (hysterically) at the thought of the traffic queues ahead. I’m sort of glad that I am staying put in Devon.
I managed to quietly get on with organising the event this year. I’ve scaled down the (naff) Christmas decorations so I didn’t get as grumpy as usual putting them up. I bought presents along the way rather than have to make a mad dash into the madness of late night, last minute Christmas shopping. I wandered into Tesco for a quick shop at the beginning of the week and managed to buy everything for Christmas dinner as all the ingredients I needed were dated 26th December. Except for the Brussels sprouts which should have been used by the 22nd. I’m sure we’ll cope if they don’t make it to the 25th.
Even so, I haven’t been able to avoid the panic entirely. My Christmas tree went up much earlier than usual when I saw so many Facebook posts about decorating trees that I just had to (had to) go and get one.
I know I’ve bought more tat than I should have done. If I totted up the actual amount I have spent on stocking fillers and presents for the dogs, I would probably be able to book a holiday to the Bahamas.
I’m currently worried that my fridge isn’t as packed to the gunnels as it should be. With just two days to go to the ‘Big Day’ there is still space for more food. Panic! I must get to Tesco/Sainsburys/Waitrose and buy more, more, more. This morning I checked on chestnuts – yes, I’ve got them – and they’re in date! But no red cabbage. Disaster. Armageddon. Christmas is ruined.
Reminiscing for a moment, I can remember when Christmas was a cosy affair. When carol singers knocked on the door and we listened to musical renditions of Silent Night and gave them a penny or mince pie – until we were old enough to sing ourselves at which point Silent Night became anything but a silent affair.
We were so excited about our selection boxes, more chocolate than we’d seen all year! Presents were Lego for the boys (not expensive sets, just red, yellow, blue or green bricks), and Tressy or Sindy for me. No stereotyping in our house. The Christmas stocking was filled with not a lot apart from a satsuma and a nut. I watched an Amazon advert this year featuring a small boy playing with a robotic dog that cost £160. £160. Good golly, Miss Molly.
However, it mustn’t be all bah humbug. At its heart, Christmas can still be an excuse for downtime, for family time, for eating, drinking and being merry. So – Merry Christmas and I’ll try not to be grumpy again until the New Year.