This is possibly the most cliche Christmas post I’ll ever write but in all the years I’ve blogged about the holly jolly season I don’t think I’ve ever flat out stated what I savour the most at Christmas time. I’ve gone down the playfully, witty road, expressed my Christmas Eve traditions, and even spoke about what a typical day in my household contains of back in my novice stage. But I’ve never directly had an informal natter about what personally brings me the most joy and gratification, and what isn’t necessarily succumbed to the materialism attached.
That part of Christmas, for me, seems to have faded as I’ve gotten older. The ever-growing environment around you and the circumstances surrounding you as an adult allow you to conform a different mentality of what it’s really about; of what really matters. From the most minor, random parts of your festive regimen, to just appreciating the people and the nostalgic, visceral memories you have around you. What’s under the tree on Christmas morning is just a secondary component and there’s so much more out there to immerse yourself, your efforts, and your high-spirited, kind heart in.
I’m also writing this post to attempt to throw myself right in the deep end of festive feels because this year I couldn’t feel less Christmassy even if I tried. It’s just a mere few hours before the 25th and it still seems like any ordinary day. It still feels like I’m stuck in an alternate universe where autumn hit and I became dormant. Bizarre and baffling, but also quite unsettling. I do not want to turn into a grumpy old Grinch, thank you very much.
Although I had a brief rumination over on Instagram a couple of days back, talking about how Christmas is a difficult time of year for some, how it can trigger loss, how it can feel so empty and lonely in your head and your home, how it’s hard to keep up with the pressure and compulsory fun we must be having, and how your mental and physical illness doesn’t just disappear come December, I do still want to remember what stark, simple slices of magic this celebratory event held, and still holds. I can’t stress enough that it’s okay not to be merry and bright. It’s perfectly fine to dislike Christmas, but it’s also nice to remember not to lose sight of the amenities which make you fuzzy and smiley, right?!
The beige food
I don’t think there’s anything better, really. Bite-size buffet food has always been a (not so) guilty pleasure of mine. Although my bloated tummy won’t agree afterwards, overindulging in the rare form of Christmas themed snacks is the seasonal superiority. From the canapes of savoury, the mini sausage rolls and pastries, to allll the cheese, nuts, and limited edition crisps that I somehow naturally hunt down every single year. Searching the shops at this time of year is honestly fascinating because there’s foods in there you’ve never seen before and a miniature platter version of pretty much everything. I mean, halloumi pigs in blankets? What kind of genius? Gimme all the party nibbles so I can inundate myself until the end of time!
Nope, not just the fizz and the sweet tasting beverages that usually contain some kind of cranberry; but also, like the true basic bitch I am – the hot chocolates and the coffees. I’m in agreement that the chain merchants are overpriced and profit-orientated but when else am I gonna be able to grab a gingerbread latte and a hot chocolate that tastes like Terry’s Chocolate Orange? The Christmas menu at Starbucks and Costa never fails to let me down. It’s the one occasion I can forgive myself for consuming enough sugar for the day in one sitting.
I can only apologise to those who despise spending hours making their presents look presentable as you get tangled in ribbon and tags, lose the end to the sellotape, and misplace the pen every five seconds because I bloody love it. Call me weird but it’s the epitome of ultimate Christmas completion, for me. It’s really cathartic, just to sit and have some quiet time. Music playing, creative head switched on. I can officially relax once they’re done and dusted and look pretty. Mostly because I have a penchant for the visuals. I’m a careful wrapper. I like to pretend I’m pro. I’ve also got to go full Pinterest – despite not actually being on Pinterest (a goal I’m working on for 2019) – and figure out an annual aesthetic. I’ll spend a good few minutes smiling to myself about the thought I’ve put into the gifts before I wrap them. Then I must photograph my flatlay with precise coordination. And finally, then I can sit back and watch my handiwork be ripped apart in mere seconds. It’s just all part of the process I love!
I dislike winter in general. It’s too cold. Too dark. I’m miserable. I have a chronic pain flare up almost every day. But boy am I tremendously pleased Christmas falls in December because without the sombre atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to jazz it up with lights and trimmings and candles. I find it impossible to get bored during the celebratory break, to be honest. Not when you can put your feet up, tuck into a box of truffles, dim the lights with the tree twinkling, and watch cheesy movies all day. There’s something unique about Christmas cosiness, it’s different to ordinary cosiness. Everything just feels that little more contiguous and close to comfort.
For the other 364 days of the year, it’s near impossible and extremely rare to get the whole family together. Not that I mind. Now at the ripe, wise age of 25 I find company of clashing opinions quite overwhelming but I still take delight in being surrounded by my loved ones. The inside jokes, the stupid conversations, the exchanging of gifts and general ruckus, the children’s excitement, the reminiscing of old times and the ones who are sadly missing from the clique. It’s all holistic for the heart. A time to forget the problematic factors of life and focus on the happy moments in the here and now.
I specifically spoke about this in my latest freelance writing piece. About giving the gift of yourself and what you have to selflessly offer. Splurging isn’t what counts, it’s showing your love in alternate ways. Through gestures of goodwill, through actions and words, and granting the gift of time. One thing I’m proud of this Christmas is partaking in The Stroke Association’s campaign and sharing my story and my positivity for others in need of it. It gave me purpose and that’s probably going to reflect back to other survivors. I’m also a real advocate for giving to those who are less fortunate at this time of year. Donating to charities. Helping the homeless. Dropping off some unwanted bits and bobs at your local food bank or refuge. I’m working on perpetuating consideration and compassion every day of the year, not just at Christmas, but it’s this time of year when it becomes that little bit extra meaningful.
Everything is acceptable
Literally everything. The Fuck it, it’s Christmas attitude is amazing. You don’t think twice about eating everything in sight because the existence of calories somehow evaporate with every chocolate scrammed. Lounging about in the worst possible attire and not brushing your hair for an entire weekend is approved. Blowing your bank account on all the sales gets a thumbs up. There is no drinking limit. Spending the majority of the rest up duration playing crappy board games somehow becomes unsurpassed entertainment. There is little to no concept of time. You don’t know what day we’re on. All you know is that you’re on day three of the leftover turkey, you’ve forgot to pay a bill, and you’ve just agreed to drive to Timbuktu. And let’s not even talk about the “I’ll do it after Christmas” to do list. Now we know where the term January Blues appeared from!
In and amongst all my jest, I do wish you the merriest of Christmases and hope you’re in the presence of everything you’ve wished for and everything that makes you happy. This is my sign off post for a few days, to just turn a blind eye to social media, forget the errands, and soak up every last bit of family time.
It’ll be a hectic day for us. Mum’s making the dinner for the famous four aka herself, me, my brother, and grandma. We’ll then probably let the overload of food settle with a sit down and a watch of whatever’s on TV. Three lots of present opening – from each other in the morning, from my grandma and to my grandma when she comes round, and the chaotic calamity once we head over to my auntie’s to spend the night with the extended family with another hoard of bags. Boxing day’s a quieter one, my gran’s making her speciality dumplings (so another massive meal, yep) and then new year – well that’s a whole other tale to tell in my 2018 reflection post.
To whoever’s reading, you’re the best, and THANK YOU for all the support – all year round and with this month’s content. I’ll catch you on the 28th-31st (whenever I can be bothered climbing out of my lazy Christmas haze to write the post up) with a proper, in depth round up of the year in full.
Merry Christmas you bladdy bunch of legends!