There are many parts of Christmas that I love. I enjoy the festivities in the build up to Christmas; the decorations, the cosiness, hot chocolates, stollen, sparkly lights, elves, reindeer and the magic that children feel. Generally people are nicer to each other, kinder even. But it also is the pressure to have a ‘perfect’ Christmas. Santa has a very black and white list – naughty or nice? Good or bad? Which will your Chirstmas be?
I recently experienced Christmas food shopping with my sister-in-law and two of her children (one is 2 years and the other is 9 months). The shop itself was manic, when you add in two small children trapped in a trolley it was like Extreme Supermarket Sweep (if you have not seen this 90’s gameshow it is worth a watch). Panic started to rise within my sister-in-law resulting in an inibitily to find anything right in front of her. When the shelf was empty of red cabbages I wondered if Christmas Dinner was cancelled. There was a lot of pressure on us to find everything on the list or we would ruin Christmas. We dashed about, going back and forth crossing items off her list. I say ‘dashed’, but the trolley got really heavy so it was probably a lot slower than that sounds. I tried to keep the children happy and entertained in the trolley, I did not always succeed.
Later, while we were wrapping presents, my sister-in-law said “I just want it to be the best Christmas ever”. What kind of pressure is that? I think this is one of the naughty parts of this holiday. The pressure to be the perfect family, have the perfect Christmas, give the perfect gift, it is huge. But is it even possible to have a perfect Christmas? What does that mean? I imagine this is different in each person mind and this made me think “What would my perfect Christmas be?”
The biggest pressures I feel this time of year is this idea of being the ‘perfect family’ as you celebrate. In recent years I have spent Christmas Day with my best friend and her husband. Why don’t I spend it with my family? Well, when I think of how our family would spend Christmas it feels me with dread. I associate it with watching tv, eating lots of food and with me trying to disappear.
I loved getting books for Christmas so I could sneak off to tidy my room and then read, usually on the stairs or in our hallway by the backdoor. The TV programmes were controlled by my mothers choice, and mostly Agatha Christie re-runs. Other options included board games, card games or quizzes from the internet, but these caused arguments, which I was always blamed for.
Dinner was overcooked if left to mum or dad, they love boiled to mush vegetables. Or I would have to cook whilst following my mums backseat cooking orders being barked at me from the living room. Then when my maternal grandmother was too ill to come to ours we used to have Chirstmas lunch in a pub near her house. My parents love this and so continue this, but for me it is so inpersonal and the food is never great for the price you pay. I am sure there are great restaunts out there but this has not been my experience. My dad loves the lack of washing up he has to do and my mum likes the lack of effort needed from her, just turn up and eat what is placed in front of you.
The only family Christmas’s I remember enjoying were when we went to my aunts for lunch. Surrounded by cousins, aunties, uncles and even second cousins I could hide in the crowd, talk to people who seems to like me and they did not expect anything from me. These stopped after my parernal Grandparents died. We still do a present swap each year at my aunts and I love it. Seeing my aunt in particular, she reminds me of my Nan who I loved dearly.
Now Christmas will be me and friends, spending time doing what we want, eating what we choose and not worrying about all these pressures. Well almost, I still feel the need to bake my own mince pies and other goodies, whilst Sydney wants to cook the perfect meal. We usually go for a walk with our dogs after our lunch and spend the day chilling out. Trying to avoid as much of the expectations as we can.
So maybe let go of the expectations and pressures. Try to give yourself a break! I also believe a really perfect Christmas is when there are mishaps, when you laugh over the forgotten items and unexpected moments. Traditions are usually born out of these unplanned moments. Let them happen and let the ideals go. Memories are made from the magic of spontaneity, the accidents of life and laughter.
I hope this festive season you can enjoy the moments and memories. Dodge the pressures of ‘perfection’ and duck under the ideals of others. I am not religious but whether you celebrate the religion of the season or not: this day is because of the story of a baby born in a manger surrounded by his family and the animals of the stable. There was nothing we would percieve as ‘perfect’ about his birth day. Yet it was perfect for the message it brought the world and maybe that is what we should remember. The reason for the season is not perfection and stress but kindness, simplicity, and greatness born out of the meek.
Merry Christmas from my life in this mental world. I hope you enjoy the day and whatever you choose to do with it.
5 thoughts on “Naughty or nice?”
Wishing you a Merry Christmas, my dear friend!
I enjoyed reading about the positive ways you celebrate the special day with the awesome Sydney, pups & friends.( It was interesting to read about your past Christmas celebrations, too, but I’m sorry about the ones that were so unpleasant!! I’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that.)
I was able to figure out how to access free BBC iPlayer. It’s almost impossible to do that without subscribing to a paid VPN service that hides your computer, since BBC doesn’t want those outside the UK to access its content. It’s another reason I need to move over there, LOL! I’m looking forward to seeing the Dirty Vegan BBC show in January!
I’m going to watch “The Dead Room” on BBC 4 on Christmas Eve because I love Mark Gatiss’ work (he co-created and acted in “Sherlock” – he’s a genius!) Here’s a bit of info:
Sending you hugs,
Oohh I’ll check it out. If u have bbc you should watch Dynasty’s with David Attenborough- amazing!!! Merry Christmas – hope you have a good one. Is it just you guys or extended family?
I’m slowly working my way back online….thanks for the Dynasty tip!
Tomorrow I’m watching DIRTY VEGAN on BBC, woo hoo!
I bought his Kindle cookbook, too, which was a splurge, but I rationalized it, LOL!
Can you believe that I’m still recovering from last week with the extended family visit-from-Hades….I think it will take at least another week to feel somewhat better. Ahhhhh!!!!!
Sending you hugs & love, always!
I’d like to find out more? I’d care to find out some additional information.
Thank you for your comment. What additional information would you like? On which bit in particular?