It's Christmas Time

"It's the most wonderful time of the year", I sing, covered in rainbow coloured twinkling lights as I decorate the house. My husband frowns and barricades himself in his study in a most un-Chrismas-like manner. Ah the holidays!



It's my favourite time of year again. Christmas time is normally when I annoy everyone with my carols on repeat, boost global warming with my outlandish flashing Xmas lights and eat mince pies until I feel physically sick. For me, it's an excuse to crack open the booze from 11am, watch black and white movies that only I enjoy and wind up my husband, who we nickname Scrooge as he hates this time of year.

Xmas anti-climax

I just love the build up to Xmas.

But if I'm being honest, all that excitement never quite lives up to expectations on Christmas Day. I think it's mainly because it always goes by so quickly and then I'm depressed that it's all over and I have to wait for another year for it to come around again.

And then there's the family fall-outs. When you get the whole extended family together for what you hope will be a great Xmas Day, but after 10 too many drinks before lunch, someone ends up offending the mother-in-law, and she demands to be driven home. Often that's a blessing.

Or the sewers back up because they can't cope with the extra guests, and you end up with unsavoury "things" bubbling up through the drains and spreading all over the garden (that actually happened to us one year).

Perhaps that's why it doesn't live up to my expectations? Being a consummate planner, I don't like things going wrong.

But then, it wouldn't be Xmas if it went according to plan. Look at what happened to Mary and Joseph? They weren't planning on giving birth in a stable, but it all turned out OK in the end. Obviously if they had been a bit more organised, and booked in advance (like I would have done), then that would have been better. But it wouldn't have made for such an epic story.

Xmas spirit

I try to get my whole family excited about Xmas.

It doesn't take much with my youngest, as like me, he has been dreaming of Xmas since the summer. By the time Halloween has passed, he's made his Xmas list and is counting down the days until he can open his advent calendar.

It's my husband we have to work on. He follows me around the house, turning off the Xmas lights after I've just switched them on.

So in an effort to get him into the Xmas spirit I took him on a shopping trip "up West".

Big mistake. It probably had the total opposite effect and reinforced his view that Christmas is all about outlandish consumer consumption. Whereas I looked upon Oxford Street, with all of its twinkling lights and roasting chestnuts as Xmas shopping heaven, he could only see people busting a gut and a bank balance to buy gifts that no-one needs.

Xmas consumerism

And to be honest, he's probably right. Why has Xmas become all about "stuff"? And what about those who can't afford Xmas or have no-one to share the day with? The build up to Xmas for them must just be stressful and miserable.

So this year I've tried to instil a bit more of a measured approach to Xmas. I've not put as many lights on, to help the environment. I've not bought as many silly presents that either break or end up in the bin. And I will try not to listen to Bing Crosby all day every day until 25th.

And more importantly, I've got my boys involved in a more charitable approach to Xmas. We've wrapped up some gifts to take to the Salvation Army. My eldest has boxed up a large quantity of Lego which is being shipped out to refugee camps. And my youngest has collected together a pile of books in good condition that we are going to donate to children's charities around our town.

It's not much, but it's a start. And it will make my husband very happy.

Happy "Measured" Christmas one and all.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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