So This Is Christmas

christmas lights

It’s time for my annual rant at Christmas. Now Halloween is done and dusted, I can see there are lots of excited kids and parents gearing up for the festive season. It just fills me with dread. But each year, I roll up my sleeves and make a plan, to make sure the kids are happy, never know how much I dread it and I can cope.

Last year was better. Despite being ill for nearly two months with a horrid cold (and run down) I achieved a bit of balance. But it could be better. I still ran around like a madwoman doing homemade gifts (to save money and the environment) plus fended off requests for oodles of plastic shit from the kids for their Christmas list.

I don’t want to spoil their fun but, there has to be another way. And I’m still striving for that middle ground, where they are happy and the planet plus my sanity is left intact.

So, here’s what’s staying and going Christmas 2017.

Tinsel – STAYING

3Begrudgingly, I will add. But it’s become quite a joke in our house how much I hate it. The kids like the banter on this, so who am I to stop paying tinsel Scrooge? It will stay. I’ve already started my own festive decorations for the dining room and will just stare and sigh with praise at my minimalist, earthy creations all day.

“Oh we must meet up before Christmas” – GOING

Sorry to all my mates reading this but most of them will know, this statement is bollocks. My close friends promised not to buy into this shit. Happily, because we like each other (or at least I think they like me) we will naturally see each other for November/ December birthdays with not a Christmas song to be heard. I simply don’t understand the need for socialising *because* it’s Christmas. If you want to go out, meet up with people, having folks round for dinner. Just do it. If Christmas get’s in the way, then make a date for next year and have something to look forward to in January – bank balance permitting.

Christmas Office Party – GONE

The nearer I get to Christmas, I start to get a bit jealous of those on work’s party, as I’m self-employed. But who am I kidding? I mostly hated them, trying to avoid dancing to shit pop music while getting hideously drunk at an open bar and vomiting the morning after. Nope. I can do that any time of the year, with music I like and people I can make a tit of myself in front of without cringing flashbacks the next day.

Chirstmas foodExcess food and booze – GOING

Last year was pretty moderate. Ok, I was poorly. But we avoided the endless flow of mega-tubs of sweets, special offer mince pies and overstocked cheese boards. What is staying, is the search for new seasonal recipes that make you feel festive without abusing your gullet. Also, my trainee chef nephew is cooking Christmas lunch this year and given he’s working at the Chequers in Rowhook, it looks like we’re in for a treat!

High Street Consumerism – GOING

I’m setting myself the challenge not to buy Christmas gifts in high street shops unless they are ethical, sustainable or cruelty-free. Also, not to excessively use tax magicians Amazon. That will be tough. But we have no excuse in Brighton, with the number of talented artists, Open House shows and markets. I will be heading to the Brighton Etsy Market and the Conscious Christmas Market. I would also suggest heading to the Fairytale Market and Brighton DIY Market (they clash with my birthday so I can’t go!!).

Christmas baublePlanning head – STAYING

Because my birthday is at the end of November, I often put a moratorium on any festive activity, including shopping, before then. But this strategy is backfiring every year. Any idiot can see, starting to plan now (even though you hate it) makes it less stressful in December.

Star Wars Midnight Move Release – STAYING FOREVER (until they stop making them)

Christmas baubles
May the baubles be with you

This is an amazing new tradition that I hope never ends. The Duke of York’s 0:01 showing of the new Star Wars episode and this year could be the BEST one yet. It’s got all the adventure, magic and wonder of Christmas, without being about Christmas or Jesus or religion (well except if you’re a faithful Jedi). I put my Star Wars baubles on the tree next to the horrid tinsel and we’re all happy.

Family fun – NEVER LEFT

When I say I hate Christmas, it’s actually more the days and weeks on the run-up to the Bank Holiday, rather than the days themselves. I love our family Christmas with the family, there’s always quality banter, games and good food. It’s now centered around the girls, as their delight in receiving gifts, satisfies that joy-of-giving feeling.

Any tips on how I can learn to love Christmas? Leave them in the comments.

christmas decorations

About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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