I hate winter. Hate talk about when we’re expecting snow. I hate shopping for presents. And I HATE wrapping presents. But I love Christmas. I love the over indulgence. And I love cheesy jumpers. I love the Doctor Who Specials. I love Christmas dinner and the family time. So me and Christmas have a love/hate relationship.
But when you have children, you have to suck it up and do as much as you can to make sure they enjoy it. It turns out though that it doesn’t take a lot for them to experience the magic of Christmas in a way only a child can. Because we have three December birthdays in my house, yes three (and one of them mine), Christmas tends to be on the back burner. I’ll try my hardest to put off putting up the decorations. And when they do go up, we usually have a bit of a Gothic theme going on, black tree, black tinsel, you know what I mean. But don’t get it wrong. I love Christmas.
However, when you have children, there is a pressure, even from a young age, to make sure they have plenty. My husband and I usually say that we’ll just buy one big present. If anyone asks, we tell them to keep it simple and please don’t buy anything too big. If you were to see my house, you’d see that my living room is now designated as “The Play Room” and we are almost fit to bursting with toys. I keep saying that I need to have a clear out before we become overrun. I sometimes feel like those people on hoarding programmes. But instead of newspapers or bottles of bodily fluids, we’re struggling under a mountain of Thomas the Tank Engines and Barbie dolls.
What you find out though is that little kids spend more time playing in the wrapping paper, older kids will fixate on one toy and play with that until they break it and then Christmas is over after stuffing your face full of Celebrations and Cadbury’s selection boxes. But if we stuck to our guns, we enjoyed that family time together, spent a little less and played (with what we have) more, I’m sure they’d be just as happy.
You would not believe how happy some Christmas lights made my children the other day. As I said, my house becomes Christmassy quite late. The kids aren’t surrounded by the baubles, lights, tinsel and cheesy singing Santa Clauses on a daily basis. Although when I turn up to my Mum’s house at Christmas time and the decs aren’t up, I am extremely disappointed!
They were at a party for a friend on December 2nd. This was the first time the kids had been out after dark in a little while. As it was in December I am happy to capitulate and say that Christmas is upon us. Not the day after Halloween, not mid November, not even November 30th. Christmas isn’t even contemplated as a thing until December 1st (I will admit that on a good year though, all my presents will be bought before December but that is just being organised, not admitting Christmas is here).
I said to my husband, let’s drive down the high street and look at the main lights in town. On the way we drove through a housing estate and saw some of the lights that people had started to put up. I just assumed that everyone thinks like me, and those that would be bothered about it being Christmas season would have lights up. I assumed that this would be almost everyone. When you assume things, you make an ass out of you and me, so they say. I was wrong, people had made, in my opinion, a pitiful attempt this year. And yes, I am one to judge, just because I haven’t done it, doesn’t mean you can get away with it.
Nevertheless, we made a game of it, getting the kids to shout out who saw the lights first, what colour they were, where they flashing, look at how many. I’ve known for a long time that it doesn’t take a lot to impress a child. My middle son seemed absolutely euphoric the other day being on the kitchen stool at full height, sorting through Lego cards with his sister. The little one delights at putting his own bottle in the sink at bedtime. My daughter loves when I wear a skirt because she wears one too when she goes to school.
How simple it is to bring them joy. Their faces as we saw the lights. The same lights I looked and thought, well this is disappointing. I had heard that the main display in town was supposed to be quite spectacular. I was very underwhelmed except for the magical look of the trees wrapped in lights. But every light the kids saw seemed to blow their minds. Christmas is more than presents. It’s riding around in your car in the dark. Spending time with friends at parties. Looking at lights and enjoying the pure beauty of that.
So if you’re reading this and you’ve got you’re Christmas all sorted this year, well done you. It can be quite stressful, especially if you have a large family or are the poor sod hosting it all. If you haven’t, don’t stress, it’ll all come together. And if it doesn’t, I;m sure you’ll have something to laugh about.
And if you’re the person wondering where you’re going to get money from to pay for your presents or a lavish dinner, depending on the age of your child, it may take a little extra convincing but there is more to Christmas than plastic, paper and boxes. Spend that time when you don’t have to work, loving and hugging, laughing and joking,carolling and destroying Christmas classics, drinking and be merry.
Anyway, I know I’m going to get some toiletries and some socks and be grateful for it! And I suppose it isn’t too late to throw up a bauble or two…
Have a great Christmas and let’s keep growing together!
xx Lee xx
What’s your favourite (non-present related) thing about Christmas?