The C word

People have started tiptoeing around the C word this month, so let’s just say it. The shops are making us think about Christmas because, well, it’s vaguely cold enough and they can. Urgh, I’m already sighing so let’s get the disclaimer over with. I’m going to try really hard not to rant but here it goes: I really dislike what Christmas is to most people, and what that is is presents. Bloody loads of them. It puts pressure on us all to outdo ourselves every year and instantly makes us feel like shit when you realise someone you spent £25 on has spent five times that on you.

I’m not in the least bit religious so it’s never going to be about that for me, but I don’t see why it needs to be about money either. A festival we look forward to for roasting chestnuts on a real coal fire in your parent’s house, decorating a tree that’s been on the go for three generations with baubles that saw their best in the 70s and endless hot chocolates is what Christmas is about to me. Throw in a bucks fizz and wearing pyjamas til midday and it’s pretty damn perfect.

This isn’t about not wanting gifts to be a part of that. Presents which have been lovingly thought about for those we’re closest to are lovely and I love receiving nice things as much as anyone. But I hate waste. Waste of money, waste of resources, waste of plastic packaging which we create tons of unnecessarily.

The 'oh, haha' gift, forgotten about a day later.
The ‘oh, haha’ gift, forgotten about a day later.

This year will be Maddie’s first Christmas. She’ll be nine months old and will most likely love the fairy lights and pulling wrapping paper to bits, so it’s baffling me when people talk about her ‘big’ presents. Like I should be going out and spending hundreds of pounds purely because it’s her first Christmas. It’s selfish. I’ve bought little things for her that I think she’d like to play with but so far I’ve discarded the plan to keep them for December when she’ll have no notion of waiting for Christmas morning and could be enjoying them now. Plus, if we give her more than a few new things she’ll only be overwhelmed by it and no doubt turn back to the wrapping paper anyway.

Christmas is great and I wish everyone could enjoy the simplicity of it. Instead I’ve got friends worrying about how they’re going to save up for it in time and wondering how to pay for everyone’s gifts. I think I am just ranting now so I’m going to list a few points I intend to follow to make this year’s Christmas an especially festive and lovely one.

  • Think about who you want to buy for. Anyone who isn’t in your immediate circle of family would probably appreciate an offering of homemade mince pies or shortbread instead of a gift. You can easily make a big batch and hand them out to friends in return for a smile.
  • Think about the whole season, not just Christmas day. How do you want to spend it? I love wrapping up in a huge scarf and going on evening walks to spot the best Christmas trees where I live.
  • Inject chocolate into your diet. And hot drinks and mince pies and chestnuts and more chocolate.
  • Don’t ask for presents just because people ask what you want and you feel like you need to give them an answer. If there aren’t many things you especially want then say so.
  • Without trying to be all Bob Geldoff about it, there are so many people in need of the basics. Oxfam sell some lovely packages including water resources and farm animals to supply food sources to families in need in other parts of the world. Ask for one of these instead of a gift.
  • Get cosy! Film nights, pyjamas, big blankets on the sofa and some mulled wine say Christmas in the best way.
  • Handmade gifts! Food hampers are easy to put together and tailor to everyone’s favourite treats, but scented gifts and pieces of art in frames are easy to make too. Search Pinterest for some inspiration.

Thanks for reading this far folks, I’ll be back with a rant-free post next week. We’re planning a trip to a beautiful part of the country for a few days so I’ll be able to tell you about our days out and what we get up to. Until then,


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