Ritual

As the children have so often told me this morning: ‘It is two days before Christmas, mama, TWO DAYS!’

Are we Christmas ready?

We are as ready as we will ever be, I think it’s fair to say.

As you know, I am not a fan.  The house is not Christmassed up in any way. No cards are on display. There are no wreaths on the front door. There are no decorations up, yet. I do not have Christmas china that needs getting out and arranging. I do not have Christmas colour schemes for anything.  The same manky old oil cloth is on the table etc.

I do however, have a fridge full of food, which is very exciting. None of it particularly traditional, but all of it special to us.  Eating is one thing we do take very seriously at this time of year. Although it is fair to say that this is not unique to Christmas. We take eating very seriously all the way through the year.  It’s just that there are generally more treats available at this time of year, so we stockpile a bit.

The Christmas tree (called Derek – named before Derek the cat) is up, and we will decorate it tonight.  It will be the usual tasteless explosion of decorations that we normally have.  All the things that the children have ever made, along with all the things we have been gifted, or collected over the years. We love it.

We have bought the Radio Times, and marked everything with highlighter that we want to watch.  I think Jason and I have pushed the boat out and highlighted three things between us. None of which I can recall now.  The children have highlighted everything including holidays to Acapulco and the crossword.

The house is Christmas clean, and tomorrow we do our last few errands so we don’t have to spend our time off worrying about things like overdue library books etc.

Once those are done we will hunker down and begin the serious business of celebrating the Boo way.

This year I have been more Christmassy than usual, because of school.  This year, I have, for the first time either ever, or for the first time in so many years I have lost count, done the following:

  • Attended carol concerts
  • Been to Christmas church services
  • Been to two pantomimes
  • Seen two nativity plays
  • Spent a day making decorations
  • Spent time learning to make and then making, over fifty mince pies
  • Learned to make Lebkuchen and then iced, decorated, punched holes out of and threaded them for Christmas tree hanging.
  • Wrapped a cart load of presents (we don’t wrap presents in this house)
  • Written thirty two individual letters from Santa to children at school who posted letters to Santa at our Christmas fete.
  • Forged Santa’s signature.
  • Filled thirty two envelopes with Santa’s magic glitter (some of which fell into my distinctly unmagical bra)

Short of sprouting a pair of wings and flying onto the top of a tree I think it is fair to say I have never been more traditionally Christmassy in my life.

My views on this kind of celebrating are notorious amongst my peers, and someone asked me, in light of the above list, whether I now felt any more Christmassy than usual.

The honest answer?

No.

This is not what Christmas is for me. It just isn’t.  I don’t begrudge other people their enjoyment of it.  I am not that mean.  I like that people find all this stuff fun, but it just doesn’t do it for me.

I do not buy into enforced, communal jollity.  I do not believe that you should pull all the stops out for ‘special’ times of year.  I think that if your life isn’t a bit magical most of the time, or that you have to pin your hopes on one or two or three days in a year, then there is something a bit awry. Maybe this means I am spoiled, I don’t know.  I don’t really care. I just know that despite all the moaning, I am very, very lucky to live a life I love, and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

It is my revolutionary opinion that kindness, sharing, gifts, thoughtfulness, love and community should be for every day, not just for Christmas.

Rather like dogs.

They should be for life.

And as far as our Christmas traditions go, they are very simple.

We eat food we like, and we make it together, so that no one person is punished by working like a dog while everyone else lolls around.  We do not have a time table or a set menu or a rigid way of doing things.  When the food we have chosen to eat is ready, we sit down and eat it together, and it is great.

We see people we love.  We ONLY see people we love.  We spend time with them, and we laugh and eat things and enjoy being together.

We share gifts with people we love. We do not break the bank. We do not go for overwhelm. Every year we fine our gift giving down a little bit more, not because we are mean, but because we have so much, we have learned that having a few things that we want and will use is way preferable to having millions of things that we eventually end up giving to the school bric a brac stall come the summer fete.

We relax.  We do not set ourselves punishing time tables.  We get up when we wake up. We slob about in our pyjamas,  we eat brunch, we potter around.  We are content in each other’s company.  We do not rush to open gifts, we do not rush to go to the Sales to buy things we don’t need and have no room for, and wouldn’t buy anyway if they weren’t in the sale.

We take a bit of time out from the hustle and bustle of the world just to be.

It works for us.

Whatever your Christmas rituals are, whatever you do or don’t do I wish you joy and happiness.  We are looking forward to our Christmas.  I hope you are too.

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4 responses to “Ritual

  1. The only Christmas tradition I stick to wherever I am is opening one peresent at midnight on Christmas Eve. Have to have my midnight gift! Other than that it all depends on where we are. This year it’s Jan’s dad’s, where there will be no Christmas decorations because that sort of thing was always his mum’s job. After Jan’s mum moved out, his dad stopped doing Christmas. If we were at my dad’s place there would be decorations because my brother likes them. Before my brother was born, we hadn’t done Christmas decorations since my step mum died. Christmas was always her time of year.

    Your kind of Christmas sounds good. Especially the food. Mmmm, foooood!

  2. My mom didn’t like Christmas and told us so every year. I have very few memories of Christmas as a child. Your Christmas is just like ours is now….I love my family, my home, being in it, watching films, eating what we like and although we don’t buy too many presents, or hit the sales, we do get a bit ‘treaty’ on the present front….and if visitors should come they would be welcome….but just us suits best…. truly we seem to have been lucky enough to have many good times…….enjoy your family and your home and your Christmas Katy…xx

  3. Merry Christmas to you too. Hope yours has been a glorious one. xx

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