Friday, 30 November 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas !

Christmas is coming and personally it's one of my most favourite times of the year.  I love the magic that comes with it and the build up towards the day itself.    I'm not talking about the commercial side of things with the Christmas shopping and bustling crowds, I'm talking about walking through the city seeing all the lights twinkling, going ice skating and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows.    I love seeing the little kids with wide eyes and big smiles at the thought of Santa coming and the excitement that it generates.

Many of us will be putting up the tree and decorating it over the next few weeks, that can lead to its own challenges.   In our house my kids are in early adulthood now but there is a certain tradition that we stick laughing please!    I have always tried to create a tradition where we do the tree together and  have that little bit of family time that is so precious as the kids grow.  However, this reality is this:

1.  I get the tree and decorations out of the garage
2.  My daughter joins me to get everything ready (I have one of those trees that you have to build branch by branch! ) 
3.  The cats jump in the bag that the tree is in and into the box with the baubles.
4.  I start to build the tree, I turn round daughter is gone... I continue to build the tree
5.  I string the lights (600 lights go on my tree so it takes a while)
6.  I start to put the baubles daughter reappears and hangs a few..then disappears again! 
7.  I get to putting the tree topper on...daughter reappears and insists it's her job to put the star on the tree.
8.  The tree is done and my son appears!!   Says "yeah that's nice" and disappears
9.  Cats take an interest and start knocking the baubles off the bottom branches and proceed to play "football" with them.

And this is how it is every year!   but they do still take great pleasure in "sorting" out the presents, trying not so successfully pretending that they are not counting how many each have and are sorted into their respective  piles, even at 16 and 18 they still do it! 

Christmas can be a time of stress especially if you are having loads of family round and having to cook, shop, clean etc, tempers can get frayed, arguments follow  and sometimes you can wonder why you do this to yourself every year.   My tip is don't stress over it, it depends just how traditional you want the day to be and what you want to get out of it.  

It is a fairly laid back affair in our house and certainly not stressful, I'm not saying that it was always like that, it wasn't until about 5 years ago, when I had a really bad dose of the flu and it came to Christmas Eve and I was still feeling like I had been hit by a bus, but had nothing in for dinner (luckily the gift shopping had been done a while before)   So on Christmas Eve around 2pm I dragged myself out with my husband, went to 3 local supermarkets and realised there was nothing left!  We ended up in Aldi's and they still had plenty of everything, we got the food we needed for the next day and all was well, but it did make me realise that there really is no need to go all out with mountains of food and a really expensive food bill.

We might be in the minority but we don't actually like turkey that much so we always have chicken instead.   This year I have bought lovely big chicken breasts which we are going to wrap in bacon, we will do the rest of the trimmings as usual,but there will be no waste and we won't be eating turkey sandwiches, currys etc for the following week, we will save a fortune as the price of turkey is ridiculous at this time of year and I refuse to bow down to the retailers, just because it's Christmas.    I have bought some gorgeous diced steak and will make my own Steak Pie on Boxing Day.  Tradition is whatever you and your family make it not what the media tells you it should be.

So my tips for this Christmas are: 

  • Make your lists NOW of what you need to do
  • Don't stress, make sure you take a bit of time out to have a bit of fun
  • Have the dinner you want to have, minimise waste, it will have a positive effect on your pocket too! 
  • Enjoy what time off you do have, snuggle up in front of a Christmas movie, wrap up warm and go for a walk in the park and crunch on the leaves, people watch...go for a coffee in town, sit at the window and watch the world go by.
  • SMILE!  no matter what trials and tribulations you have been through in 2012, you have done exactly that you have come through it and  its time to just relax a little.
So, I'm now off to get the tree out the garage and start our Christmas traditions........

Happy Holidays Everyone have a good one! xxx

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