Thursday, 18 November 2021

Christmas is Coming ... Just Do It YOUR Way

 

Christmas is coming in at us at a pace this year.  

The Christmas ads are urging us to spend, spend, spend more than ever before.  Seemingly because of last year we are all being encouraged to spend twice as much this year.  Yes, we were 'confined to barracks' so to speak, but most of us managed to muddle through with the help of alcohol, food and television.  Do we really need twice as much money spent or food to eat this year?  Now I actually like watching Christmas adverts on the whole, after all they make a pleasant change from insurance, funerals and charities begging for just £2 of your money once a month for life to save all the poor little doggies ... for God's sake spend the £50,000 the advertising has cost you ON the actual doggies!! Sorry for the little side rant, where did that come from!!  What I was going to say was at least they show happy families, nice food and glamourous people in evening attire doing ridiculous things clutching bottles of perfume.  How the other half live eh!!

But the pressure on parents must be enormous these days, it seemed bad enough when my two were little all those years ago and I remember spending more money than I should have at the last minute due to advertising pressure.  But spending the following weeks child benefit and thus the food shopping money on a couple of extra gifts for each of them to open under the Christmas tree never made them happier or made Christmas 'more special'.  What made it special was time with us, playing games together, visiting their grandparents and playing snooker with Uncle Graham.  Those are the memories that they treasure now in their 30s and 40s.  (It always shocks your opponent when you play snooker or pool left-handed and you are a right-handed person ... those lessons were worth it!)


And while I understood the need for sparkle and early fairy lights last year why are there so many houses fully decorated already ... and I hasten to add a lot of these have been up and twinkling through windows in the dark of the evening since October. 

 Pumpkins and Christmas Trees a lovely double celebration ... gosh it must get confusing 😁😂


Of course there are those that say this ☝

And yes you are more than entitled to your opinion, but I am firmly in the camp of at least wait until the 1st December.  I mean think of the layers of dust .... or do you actually dust your Christmas tree?  I mean I see December as the once a year month I have off from dusting, I just lay out a garland, stand cards on every surface and warn everyone NOT to write their names in the dust or Santa will be cross. 🎅


But my main message is, no matter what everyone else says ... me included ... do Christmas your way and resist pressure to spend more than you can afford to spend.  If you have thousands in the bank and no other use for it, ignore all the frugal bloggers making Christmas crackers out of newspaper and trees out of twigs and wrapping gifts they bought in the January sales and just blow it on all the Christmas things we are told we need and have to have to enjoy the holiday season, the Christmas bedding, the cushions, the crockery, the magazines, the Advent calendars, the excessive gift buying BUT and yes it is that great big but ... if you don't have that much just keep things simple.

Watch the Christmas movies, you know the ones that started on the Christmas Movie Channel and Channel 5 on 1st October and ones that make you go 'awww' when the girl always gets the guy, the dog always get a new home, and Santa always saves the day.  Read the books ... the charity shops always have lots of brilliant children's Christmas books at this time of year.  Have a games day, or a Harry Potter marathon movie watching day with popcorn and hot chocolate.  In short do the things that make the memories ... one day in the future that could be what you treasure the most.

When asked a few years ago about his favourite childhood memories of Christmas Day, one of my sons said it was the year we got wrapped up and walked on the beach in the afternoon and thought we were in quicksand when it got boggy, but his Dad saved the day and rescued us.  The Game Gear that we had maxed out the credit card to buy was third on the list ... second place went to the mint flavoured Vienetta that we had instead of Christmas pudding.

It puts a lot into perspective doesn't it!!


Sue xx


20 comments:

  1. Totally agree with you over buying "stuff" - far too much of it - at Christmas. Where did new Christmas Eve pyjamas come from? We've always made our Christmas goodies in the food department, rather than bought them. No new bedding either, as maxed out with that, although I still drool over more William Morris prints . . .

    I will just be more than grateful for a SAFE family Christmas in our new home, with all our kids here (3 - not the dozen it sounds!) although perhaps no board-games, as middle child always has a hissy-fit if she doesn't win!! We can only do a jigsaw or play Spillikins with her! Some of this year's gifts are even 2nd hand, because K and I and eldest child don't mind that.

    I still have the happiest memories of making a Christmas tree out of a branch from our Silver Birch tree, or even Gorse (which grew in the wildest corner of our garden when I was growing up). Mum and I would make a flour and water paste to paint it with and then sprinkle glitter over it. It would be on one end of the sideboard with glass baubles and REAL candles. Happy days.

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  2. Fab post Sue. I'm only just starting to think about Christmas, slow and sure. Jean

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  3. Looking forward to January already!

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  4. I don't mind admitting this, now we no longer have a mortgage, but back in the day when interest rates were around 15%, with 3 children to buy for our default was to miss December's mortgage payment to fund presents!! How we held onto our house I'll never know, but we did and it's now paid for!! Not something I'd recommend these days!!

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    1. No definitely not recommended, but we definitely held off with payments on some debts to fund Christmas. My first husband and I rented a council house when my boys were small and the council were clever enough to give you two 'rent free' weeks over Christmas. Obviously paid for over the rest of your years rent in reality, but it really helped out.

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  5. My house is fully decorated already... simply because Christmas brings me such joy! I say do whatever makes you happy and don't begrudge other people for doing what makes THEM happy too. As far as spending money on Christmas, we spend a ton on Christmas gifts. Our adult children, their spouses and our grandchildren open for hours!! *ha-ha* But you know what? We don't go on vacations... we don't have new furniture (not even the antique kind)... we don't have gorgeous home furnishings... we only have one car & a cheap one at that... and my wardrobe is very limited with most clothing bought at secondhand stores. All this in order to go crazy for Christmas! Again because it brings me such joy! I love it all and live for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years each and every year!!! But you do you, for sure. ~Andrea xoxoxo

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    1. I agree with this. I have found that often people like to splash out on things considered luxuries by others, while cutting back in other areas. Different people might spend money on the 'worthwhile' things important to them. Some people might 'need' to have candles or nice bubble bath or flowers, while other people like only organic food or nice wine rather than a supermarket special. Rarely do we get to have everything we need or want, it's all a matter of choice for those who have a little cash to play with (or save). For some there is less choice and it's a matter of just getting through.

      Personally I don't care less about holidays - I've never had them and its not on my radar. I enjoy a nice Christmas though, which is a splash out for me but still extremely modest as I do like to stay within budget so I don't get anxious about it and also have a very small income.
      Sara

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  6. Christmas is a lot more relaxed now that my kids are grown. Young grandkids are happy no matter what they get and they don't care how much I spend. I have been hitting resale shops and finding some nice toys and books that they can enjoy. My grown kids can buy their own toys and treats now and so I just find something small or memorable or useful. Getting together is what matters to me.

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  7. Oh my goodness I had no idea about the elf and the reindeer - so sad !!

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  8. This is such a wonderful post Sue! Yes, everyone must enjoy Christmas in their own way I agree. For us now it's spending time with the family. The Grandchildren don't want us to buy expensive gifts for them but really want us to spend the day with them playing games. In my sealed pot this year I saved just £113.62 which is all I have to spend on gifts for the 4 of them (DD, SiL, GD & GS) as our move to the bungalow has cleaned out most of our savings. The GC will get a share of the cash and a small wrapped gift and I have bought DD and SiL gifts which I know they will love. I hope to buy a fresh wreath for the door and bring out a few indoor decs we have had for years. No tree, I'm afraid, but I don't mind. We are sure to have some cards through the door to place on surfaces ( and no dusting here during December either) None will be done from 1st Dec until 1st January 2022! Bring it on, lol...

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  9. When I was younger and much poorer, I used to feel guilty every time I saw an ad for something that I couldn't afford for my son or any member of my family. There were a few very lean years but I don't feel guilty about them anymore, as I feel they helped teach a lesson about the greed etc. that is seen at Christmas time. The ads here have now become little mini stories. By the time it ends, you no longer know what was being advertised. My particular favorites are the ads selling new vehicles. Nothing says Christmas like a brand new car with a big fancy bow on it, parked in the driveway. So practical. You have to wonder who their target audience is. Will be a quiet Christmas here. Minnesota has had positive Covid surges and no end in sight. It is maddening. I agree with much of your thinking. We still have Thanksgiving to get through. (I'm grateful and thankful every day, so Thanksgiving will be a small affair, as it has always been) No gift buying. Just a check to the son and DIL and also to the grandson and his little family, for Christmas. Won't be seeing them this year but we will survive. Ranee (MN) USA

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  10. I could not agree with you more! I never put the tree up until after our Thanksgiving which is one week from today and usually the first week of December. I really enjoy the tree even though it is a lot of work to decorate by myself. This year I have taken a big step towards lightening the Christmas stress. We have always had Christmas here at our house but our house is small and our family is growing. So this year I have passed the "Christmas Torch" to my oldest son and his wife with their blessing. I'll still be doing lots of shopping, gift wrapping and cooking but we will take it all to their house on Christmas morning. I have mixed feelings about it but I know it's best.

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  11. With one son's family a vegan & the other a 7th Day Adventist diet, I gift people bags of mandarin oranges for the holidays. Lucky me, the Asian groceries start to lay in supplies in Dec for Asian New Year's in late January!!

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  12. I think that my sons would probably say that their favourite Christmas memories are going to their Grandparents. Now both sets are gone and we no longer travel to visit with them. I really miss that.

    God bless.

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  13. I too wait until after American Thanksgiving (Canadian with American husband so do both). The memories the sons have are mostly the homemade food, favourite cookies and the meal. The only store bought items that must be present are After Eight mints and Turtles. Their favourite activity is going out in the sleds being towed by their father in his tractor or snow machine in the snow. Everyone but me loves that. We have never been big spenders on gifts and I try to make them something every year. This year it will be Rubber Chicken hats.

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  14. Working in a secondary school we are often told to 'play Christmas down'. So many pupils in poverty, broken homes, caring for families .... the list is long. The last thing they want to hear is what everybody else is getting for Christmas when for them Christmas is a thoroughly miserable time.

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    1. This is so sad, and puts everything into perspective doesn't it. 💔

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  15. Sure does put a lot into perspective Sue. What a good post and I agree entirely with your sentiments. If I had my way I'd start Christmas on Christmas Eve and finish it on Boxing day. Bah Humbug ... I know.

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