I’ve just ordered my new diary – I love new diary time. The first thing I do when I unwrap it is turn to December and write reminders to not to get caught up in outer madness and enjoy the month for its own sake.
This year I’m doing a daily drawing of something simple and joyful to me – little things such as a pinecone, a ball of wool, a teapot, headphones, a framed photo – things that push to-do lists aside and encourage December to ssshhhh. This way I can enjoy this month again instead of stamping around pulling my hair out.
I am remaining calm amid the noise. Mostly. I have managed to evade most of the jingle jangles now I’m no longer involved with schools or sports clubs. My youngest’s college gang had an event this week but at 16 I was not expected to chaperone him wearing a Christmas jumper with other baubled-up mums. Blessed freedom.
So far I’ve only received one card from a die-hard card-sending friend. I haven’t sent one for decades and it seems I’m not alone. Every year I find something else I don’t need to do and nobody notices. Pretty soon I’ll narrow it down to a Detectorists special and a gingernut.
Pizza for Christmas dinner? Maybe next year – my kids are still clinging to the whole shebang for now. I suppose their traditionalist stance is rebellion against parents who’d both rather hide under a blanket.
How did they get these ideas? Can we blame the telly?
What’s portrayed on the box as Christmas-normal gets crazier. They slam us with banqueting extravaganzas, spangly party outfits, expect us to refurbish the house, buy flashy presents for distant relatives, colleagues and strangers down the street and joyfully conga around the whole twinkly neighbourhood singing about some old beardie spying on children fuelled up on six pints of Baileys. This is considered to be spreading good cheer.
No wonder sales of paracetamol rocket. Must be a standard stocking filler.
I project grinchness in self-defence to minimise invitations but I’m not wholly adverse to the season’s joys, it’s just mine are not the prescribed ones. Yes I like fairy lights, but not fit-inducing flash displays. I like mince pies, but don’t need to build a barn with them – one or two will do. I like sprouts, satsumas and cranberry sauce – and eat this stuff at any time I like. I like candles, warm spicy chai and ghost stories. I like locking the door, not answering the phone and pretending I’m asleep. I like opening a new diary with empty pages.
I find my own comfy level of cheer, no need for TV’s obsession with ‘perfect’. Not when I have good tea, a bit of knitting and a couple of candles flickering by the lovely pictures around me, reminding me of those little twinkles in their eyes. That’s the best cheer. Yes I like hiding under a blanket. I like quiet. I like peace on earth.
So happy whatever-makes-you-happy to you all. I hope you all find your cheer – and your peace – amid the December madness and keep a little twinkle in your own eyes.