First of all, let me say I LOVE Christmas. I really do. It makes me feel warm and cosy and happy and sparkly and I’ve always made a big fuss of it. But this year I feel like I’m drowning …..already, and it’s only November. Because whenever I look on Facebook there are more and more sparkly images popping up on my newsfeed, helpfully telling me how many Mondays there are left until Christmas, or giving me ideas of things I could be doing with my children to make the festive period even more special. Just in case I find myself with a spare 5 hours and my children suddenly start to show an interest in a) sitting down and b) doing crafts.
Social media seems to have turned Christmas into a whole different beast. And I love social media too, but as Christmas approaches I’m finding it hard to keep up. I think what has happened is this – everyone has their own Christmas traditions, which is lovely. But now, people share their Christmas traditions on Pinterest or Facebook, and suddenly everyone is bombarded with everyone else’s Christmas traditions and feeling like Christmas isn’t Christmas unless they keep up with all the lovely ideas they’ve read about.
Up until last weekend, I hadn’t done a thing for Christmas. I had talked a lot about how we needed to start getting organised, but I hadn’t actually done anything. And all I did over the weekend was attempt to choose one gift while the 3 year olds fought over some robin tree decorations and begged for a ride on the escalator. I had tried to tell my husband that ‘browsing’ with the children wasn’t possible – I think he was starting to see my point.
But while I’m vacantly wondering when I’m going to get the time to do festive preparations of any sort, there are more posts appearing with lots more heartwarming and sparkly ideas for me.
What I’d like to know is how do people possibly have time for EVEN MORE THINGS during what is already the busiest time of the year? This is a genuine question. There are Christmas assemblies, parties at school, parties at playgroup, Christmas fairs, Christmas light switch-ons, catching up with all the people you’ve said ‘let’s catch up before Christmas’ to, as well as attempting to shop for and wrap presents……and surely we all want to leave some time just to sit and eat mince pies too?
But people do seem to have time. I saw a post by someone recently asking how to go about making a Christmas Eve box. I didn’t even know what a Christmas Eve box was, but here’s one I found on Pinterest (that website which anyone who is feeling slightly overwhelmed by anything at all should definitely avoid). So yes, if you think your children need even more gifts, then a Christmas Eve box seems to be the way to go.
Another post keeps popping up suggesting that I might like to try this lovely idea: ‘wrap up 25 books and let your children open one every day in the lead up to Christmas.’ Seriously. 25 BOOKS?!? I barely have time to wrap up gifts in time for Christmas Day – who has time to be wrapping up 25 books?
There are personalised letters and videos from Father Christmas, Santa boxes, Santa keys – so many things either from or for Santa. But it’s all adult-led isn’t it? Us telling ourselves (and each other) that we need to keep doing more more and more to make Christmas even more magical for our children.
So I’m having to switch off from the Christmas posts. Not because I’m a Scrooge, but because there are just far too many ideas for me even to contemplate pursuing any of them. I don’t know how many Mondays are left before Christmas, and I’d rather not know. And my children won’t be getting Christmas Eve boxes or books wrapped up for every day of December. There won’t be anything personalised from Santa and I certainly won’t be leaving out a special Santa key. He can just come down the chimney like he normally does, where he will find a mince pie and some apple juice waiting for him.
My boys will be getting a stocking which will contain their main gifts from hubby and me. There will be nothing extravagant because they don’t need anything extravagant, but there will be socks because they always are; probably some chocolate coins, and definitely a satsuma at the bottom (or an apple for the eldest, who doesn’t like satsumas). The eldest boy would also like his own hankie. I’m not even joking.
I will be asking anyone who is kind enough to buy them presents not to go over the top – it is unnecessary and the endless amount of stuff is just too much for small people to process. Plus we have very little available space in our house. There will be Christmas assemblies and parties, trips to the panto and visits to Father Christmas. And my boys will love it all, because they are only 5 and 3 years old. They don’t need all the extra adult-enforced magic – it’s magical enough for them already.
I know lots of people will disagree with me and that’s fine. Possibly people who have always done a Christmas Eve box, or stay-at-home mums who love Pinterest for all the craft inspiration it provides. But if you’re like me and haven’t even started on the basics yet, then that’s fine too. There is a simpler way to do it which will be just as magical for these little ones. And I promise you they won’t be asking you where their Christmas Eve box is.