For someone whose pen name is Sceptical, you’d think Christmas time would be easy pickings in terms of blog topics. So much to be cynical about. So much moaning to be done: the constant stream of Christmas music, gift sets in the shops in October, the unnecessary stress it places on people, the money wasted, the manic rushes to the shops, the treks around the country to see all your family members within the space of two weeks, and what my husband festively referred to yesterday as a ‘giant, territorial pissing competition’ to see who can buy the little ones in the family the biggest and best gifts.
Ironically though, I can find nothing sceptical or cynical to say. The truth is, I bloody love Christmas!
As I type, I am listening to Fairytale of New York and facing a giant stuffed Santa we bought on a whim in a charity shop last week. I am facing a day of cleaning and clearing out in preparation for the relatives who will gradually arrive over the next two days. There will be no Nigella or Jamie inspired Christmas dinner in our house (I only discovered when my mum told me last night you were meant to have specific turkey gravy, not just normal Bisto granules) and if Kirstie Allsopp tried to instill a homemade Christmas in our house the nearest she’d get would be a scrappy bit of tinsel wrapped around the bookcase corner and a rather misshapen bauble the little man made at the childminder’s. Nothing will run on time and there will be no getting dressed up for Christmas Day. I’ve already realised a multitude of things I forgot when I did my one organised thing for Christmas and did a very early online shop, so I’ll still have to join the queues of manic shoppers in the supermarket on Christmas Eve. But I don’t care…
I love Christmas! It’s the one time of year I lose all scepticism. I love the surly shop assistants who attempt to get into the festive spirit by sticking bits of tinsel in their hair. I love saying ‘Happy Christmas’ to strangers as I do my Christmas shopping, I love seeing the lights turned on. I love decorating the tree. I love Christmas jumpers. I love rushing around the country visiting family and friends, even when it means (as it did last week) getting 7 trains in one day with a toddler, three days worth of luggage and a bag full of presents. I love listening to Nat King Cole and getting a little teary as I recall childhood memories of my Nana secretly trying to open presents on Christmas Eve despite being the oldest person in the house!
I may be a fairly cynical and sceptical person, but I cherish this one time of year when I can put all that to one side and just enjoy my family and friends.
This year it’s even easier to put the scepticism aside as I watch a crazy little toddler so excited to see all his family, finally mastering how to say Nana and Ampa (grandpa). It was easy to get over missing my work do when I picked him up from the childminder’s with a bag of tree decorations he’d made and wearing the world’s silliest reindeer hat. Ultimately, my suspicions have been proven correct – however great Christmas was before (and I have always loved Christmas) it’s a whole different and more wonderful thing with a child around.
So, on that note. Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.