3 weeks before Christmas
“Hellooo me dear!” says the merry, beaming, broad Irish accented shop assistant, scanning my bag of carrots.
“Hello!” I say “Gosh! Busy in here, isn’t it? People are going mental for the Christmas offers aren’t they?” as I sheepishly load 5 tubes of Pringles (for Christmas of course) in to my reusable bag (a new plastic Tesco carrier bag I just swiped from the pile, to be used for future shopping trips/ forgotten and left at home, repeat times infinity).
A black cloud descends…
“Doon’t yooo talk to me about Christmas!” says the angry, annoyed heavily accented Irish shop assistant “I wanna knooo where the fecking Christmas music is!”
I retract my head in to my fair isle cardigan…
“Elaavan fecking munths I’ve waited for Desaamber! Elavan! And not a fecking whiff of Band Aid or Shakin’ Stevens! Fecking carporate baastards!”
She didn’t say “fecking”. She said “bloody”. But we both know she wanted to say “fecking” but she couldn’t because Tescos have cameras over the individual checkouts and any sign of blasphemy against the God of Tessa Cohen (look it up) means a lever is pulled and like bad egg Verucca Salt, the worker is plunged in to a pit of similarly minded Tesco rebels.
I wanted to stand on the moving conveyor belt and surf it! I wanted to frisby the gift cards and top-up vouchers with reckless abandon. I wanted to grab the shop tanoy and belt out some Mariah Carey! Because this soothesayer had nailed it! She had bloody nailed it! Eleven months I too have waited for Christmas! Eleven months! I buy half price Christmas cards in January (judge me! I don’t care!)! I secretly resent the commercialism that comes with Easter (sorry) because it is a half hearted “meh” of tiny expensive eggs and is overly yellow and I don’t like chickens (they scare me) or rabbits. I pretend, like everyone else that “Ugh Christmas decorations in the shops in August?! This is SHOCKING! This is THE WORSE NEWS EVER” and I huff and puff but it is all lies. LIES! I am a Yuletide whore. I lap it up. I need it. Cover me in glue and throw me in to a pit of glitter! Don’t whisper sweet nothings in my ear if you want a snog. SING ME SOME WHAM AND “LAST CHRISTMAS” AND I WILL BUCKLE AT THE KNEES!
But every year, I hop on this rollercoaster of build-up. I get on it, about August and go up…and up…and woooah, round a bend (Halloween) and whhhoooooaaa, round another bend (Fireworks night) and up…and up… and up… and it’s the 30th of November and then……Holy Cow, Batman, the ride has stopped! It’s stuck. Where is the adrenaline of actually experiencing the fun bit that is Christmas and going whoooooooooooo all the way down to the bottom and throwing up on the way?!!
I sort of, get so excited about the promise of it all that I forget to actually enjoy Christmas…
Is it just me?
It’s like renting a “15 movie” with Zac Efron where the DVD cover clearly states “Scenes of a sexual nature” (*rubs thighs ala Shooting Stars*), but you end up only seeing a nipple and a bit of bum crack. I could have Googled that!
Well. NOT THIS YEAR. No flipping way. This year I will see a full arse and a hint of bulge. (I am talking about my weight gain, not Zac Efron you filthertons!!).
So. Christmas vibe invoking idea number 1 - I decide to watch “Love Actually”. Guaranteed to make me feel Christmassy even if I watch it in April I know this is a sure bet. Especially as my dad flies in from Australia at the weekend and I get to go to Heathrow and pretend to be in the scene with Hugh Grants voice over. Someone suggested on Twitter a few weeks ago (whilst they were at Heathrow) that they might “get things going and start hugging strangers”. Well, maybe that will be ME this weekend. YEAH!
“It’s all about, restraining orders, actually”.
Yeah…maybe not. But the film, the film will be the equivilant of waking up on Christmas day and feeling a full stocking at the end of the bed, rustling away. Yesssss!
The DVD box is empty.
I sort of, snap a bit inside. I know I have seen it since April. I know it is about the house somewhere. I saw it when…I saw it with Alex. He put his finger in the middle hole and was spinning it about (oh. Someone has been a bad boy, Santa). It’s lost. Well. Let’s just cancel Christmas then shall we!!!
I finally got a grip of the situation and considered some options number 2 - My gingerbread house competition! HUZZAH! Yes!! I am back in the game! The game of throwing myself in to Christmas! I had a lovely afternoon baking and the smell of cinnamon and ginger wofting about the house would have made even Scrooge’s balls jingle. My gingerbread house was quite something and I marvelled at my “effort”. I was feeling all festive and full of smug, merry cheer and rushed over to my linky tool to see if any other entries had come in and… nothing. I went to my email to see if people had instead chosen to send their entries there. Aaaannnd…NOTHING. I looked at my kitchen. It looked like a cocaine factory. White powder everywhere. I had golden syrup on my foot. I looked at my “creation” and a lightbulb went off in my head….What the hell was I supposed to do with a 2 foot by 2 foot model of a cave?!
I shoved it in the porchway and announced it was an “ornament”. Since then I have spent all week batting the childrens hands when they tried to eat it whilst wondering how long it will take before it stops smelling like Christmas and starts smelling like moudly feet.
On to idea number 3 - Christmas music! I have decided that everytime we get in the car, be it for long journeys, short journeys, or merley to defrost it in the mornings, we will be playing Christmas songs.
And this, the boys positively lap up. I watch them in my rearview mirror, bowl haircuts, nodding their heads, eyes shut and swaying like we witnessed our parents generation do on TOTP2. Last year Ed was convinced Band Aid were singing “Beeeaaaan Pole. Wooooo-rrr-lddd!”. Absolutely adament. As I pop on Band Aid for the first time this year I say
“Oh Ed! Listen! It’s Bean Pole World!” and feel warm and fuzzy inside at being such an awesome memory maker.
“Er no mummy!” *he rolls his eyes*
“It’s Beano World”, and I swear to God it was followed by a little “duhhh”.
And he goes back to swaying and nodding. All that’s missing is him being in black and white…
As I am thinking about how actually Christmas is really ace because it is the only time of the year it’s considered “OK” to drink bubbly at breakfast and eat chocolate before your toast, “The Fairytale of New York” comes on the CD player. Ahhhhh. I love this. I do. Yes, it’s a cheap CD, with Ronan Keating and that one from Clannad singing the song because I guess it was cheaper to do that than go with The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl original but who cares?! It is still an awesome, lovely, Christmassy, festi-
And suddenly I get it. And I come over a bit Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and sort of, go a bit mental. WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK IS THIS?!!!! My brain screams at me. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO YOUR CHILDREN YOU POINTLESS MEMORY MAKER?!! WHY ARE YOU INFECTING THEM WITH THIS EAR WORM?!!! And I turn the car around and drive straight to the nearest Sainsbury’s where I buy Now That’s What I Call Christmas.
So, I think I am getting there. I am trying to let go of trying too hard, truth be told. Trying to stop making Christmas happen and to just enjoy Christmas as it comes. It comes but once a year and why ruin it by being a try-hard?
And so, do you have any tips to help me on my merry way? What are you effortless Christmas traditions that I can steal and claim as my own?
And as you ponder this question, here are two little gems which always make me feel teary and festive regardless. Click on the 2 blue bits below and enjoy.