I think I’m warming to my festive theme here, I’m liking the twelve blogs of Christmas. I’ve never given the whole season much thought before, just sort of got on with it, grumbled like the rest of the world about the time the whole “Christmas thing” is, cooked the turkey, cleared the dishes put away the tinsel then moved on to New Year.
After talking to friends I realised just what a pressure this whole event can be. It’s not just the food, the presents or the expectation to make the whole house feel festive. (Which in my opinion is only made worse by T.V shows like “Kirstys Christmas”.) As if being expected to make our own stuffing and rear our own turkeys (think Jimmy’s Farm meets River Cottage) wasn’t enough, now we are supposed to knit our own stockings, make our own wrapping paper and knock up a load of Christmas decorations out of oranges and cloves. Crafting is the new must do.Yes it’s fun to watch and I have huge respect for Kirsty, it’s not easy making your own Christmas from scratch,( plus she lives in the middle of the countryside so probably doesn’t have easy access to Tiger and Ikea where you can get a gingerbread house kit, a wreath and a plastic Santa for under a tenner.) I’m not blaming Kirsty I’m merely stating that at possibly the busiest and most stressful time of the year why on earth am I going to take up knitting? I DON’T HAVE TIME!
All this pressure is heaped on us and then to top it all off we are supposed to be happy. Not just a tad jolly, but full on Ho Ho Ho “aren’t we having a fabulous day” jolly. We are expected to come together as a family, spend days if not weeks together, where it’s too cold to go anywhere and sitting on your own in the bedroom for five minutes just so you can get a breather is considered “anti social”.
We are meant to watch films together (good luck with that one, we can never agree on said film, then when we do after copious amounts of sulking from various children etc) somebody always talks through it. Worse is when your watching a murder mystery and somebody pipes up “Oh yeah I’ve just remembered I’ve seen this, it was the Vicars, Aunts best friends gardener who killed her” twenty minutes before the end! Great….. Plus passing the chocolates round and unwrapping the wrappers, crunching on nuts and coughing, I may as well be in the cinema. That’s where lots of you are expected to watch a movie, that’s what they were invented for. Why over the Chrimbo season are we all supposed to flock together for a bit of communal telly watching. It does my head in.
We are also supposed to play games, not only are we expected to do this,but we are encouraged to enjoy it. I am 44 years old with a bad back, I wasn’t keen on twister when I was twelve, why would it be any different now? Cluedo I don’t mind but the kids find it boring and Trivial pursuits is alright if we play in teams but again all the sulking and crying and “it’s not fair I wasn’t born then” tends to put me off. I love the idea of an 1000 piece puzzle but somebody always breaks it before it’s finished. I think it might just be me, now,I like winning Monopoly as much as the next person but its the point that I’m meant to be having fun just cos it’s Christmas is where my problem lies. I have those happy holiday movies playing on a constant loop in my head, I imagine everybody else in the whole world enjoying twister as I speak and voila an extra layer of happiness pressure is added to my life. I’m so busy worrying that I’m not being happy enough it puts me in a bad mood.
Then theirs the tree, I know it’s fun for the children to decorate it but…….. Why can small people not get the whole colour co-ordination thing? Why do they feel its acceptable to put THREE baubles on one branch? There is no way even Kirsty lets her kids loose on her tree, her clove oranges are positioned perfectly!! I have tried to let it go, relax, appreciate the abstractness (is that a word?) of it all. I can’t though, it’s random enough having a tree in the middle of your sitting room without having to look at wonky bauble. I know someone who has three trees at Christmas, he obviously doesn’t have children because going through that three times in one day is enough to send you over the edge! I hold my hand up here, I drink lots while the trees being decorated (I use the term loosely) then, when the kids are all asleep I re do it. That is my all time festive top tip!
Singing carols, being merry, smiling constantly, not minding all the extra washing and tidying up while trying to play games, watch films, cook a giant turkey and not raise your voice during December is exhausting, no wonder we go through the January blues, its actually post traumatic Christmas disorder! Still we do it every year, I start off on Christmas eve as a version of Snow White meets Cinderella and end up on Boxing day a cross between the Evil Queen and Cruella De Vil, only more grumpy.
Despite all this I actually love Christmas, after all you can drink at any time of the day and it’s acceptable, at any other time of year you would be bordering on alcoholism, every cloud and all that. Ho Ho Ho!