Monday, 29 September 2008

The "C" word.............

I enjoy Christmas - there, I've said it! I enjoy the season - the midwinter celebrations of whatever folks choose to celebrate at that time of year, whether Pagan, Christian, something in between or nothing, just having a good time! I enjoy it because I make the celebrations my own. I don't buy into others' ideas of how or why the season should be marked. For us, it's not just a one day thing; we love the anticipation of the discrete parts that go to spreading the feasting and celebrating over a couple of weeks. We have a gradual build-up, starting in October with the traditional puddings and cake to be made, plus mincemeat, and anything else that needs time. After that, it's time to start on gifts (although these are usually started earlier as I make most of them) and cards. The advent of Samhain/Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night in amongst it all gives a break from thinking too far ahead into midwinter, and ofcourse, gives another couple of excuses for feasting and fun. Long dark evenings give time for making and thinking ahead too, beside the fire with a glass of what you fancy, or a cup of hot chocolate or tea. As usual, there's a lot to do around the house and garden, so seasonal preparations are fitted in around these. December brings the winter solstice, then it's time to decorate the house for the three days I see as the centre of the celebrations - Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day. This is followed by a few days of seasonal normality, then, being of Scottish extraction, it's into the New Year's celebrations, more food and fun. After that, it's time to face a new year, new beginnings, resolutions made, good things for the coming year anticipated, reflections pondered upon for the year just gone.
Like most things, preparation is the key - if you celebrate Christmas or another festival/turning point of the year, there are always preparations to be made, things to make, food to organise. For me, it's half the fun, the anticipation of good times to come. Lack of preparation amkes for frazzled and ultimately unhappy times.
For some folks, especially those who are family oriented, it's the main event of the year - they enjoy the present buying, the cards on the mat, the sparkly liveliness of the towns and shops, the cheesy music, the rush to "get ready for Christmas". Not so for me, but who am I to detract from their enjoyment? I'm happy for them to celebrate in their own way, do their own thing, and enjoy time with those they love and like. OK, so maybe in an ideal world, we would all enjoy giving and receiving eco-friendly presents wrapped in recylced paper, or not sending too many Christmas cards, or not plugging in quite so many lights, or choosing a real tree from a sustainable source over a plastic one. We don't live in this ideal world, though; indeed, a lot of folks wouldn't see it as ideal for them themselves. A lot of people find the middle of winter hard enough to cope with, and having this to look forward to gives them a real fillip and genuine joy.
As I said, it's not for me, I have carved out a way for us to celebrate what we believe in, what , to us, is worth celebrating, and letting the rest go by. We don't buy into it all, we don't want to and don't need to. We do our own thing, like we do for the rest of the year.
As for me, I'm off to the larder to check up on the dried fruit situation in there.........

This post was prompted by a post on Creative Living this morning; I had intended to write one on winter celebrations shortly, but now it's done, I've one less thing to remember! I'd love to read others' thoughts on this, so feel free to comment below.


Willow said...

Hi there, just discovered your blog and loved your post about Christmas, Halloween & winter celebrations in general. It's wonderful to make the season 'your own' isn't it, and create traditions for your own family, whatever your beliefs, without feeling all that commercial pressure! I tend to feel a bit gloomy during the winter months, but this year, with the help of posts like yours, I'm determined to make it a special time. Thanks,
Lindsay x

MrsL said...

Hello willow, welcome to my blog! Thanks for your nice comment, too. I'll no doubt be expounding further on Christmas and all things Yule, so watch this space! :)

Greentwinsmummy said...

ha that post was probably mine,I am finding it hard enough getting thru one day at a time here at the moment without being able to plan months ahead :oS
I can barely keep up with what needs doing in the here now lol without even thinking of the C word,things will get done,they always do,somehow!but I am at the moment in the camp of Rather Distracted By Everyday lol lol but then thats probably what its like with small children around,hopefully you might get some comments from others with smalls that say the same,ermm if not I will go stand in the Bah Humbug Corner lol,I do like it,really I do :o) just not the build up that seems to start now :oS
GTM x aka Ebeneezer :o)

MrsL said...

That's what I'm saying though - avoid the build up if you don't like it! Take things at your own pace, but what's above is how I deal with it. Wasn't just your post, but others too. As I said, I was going to do a post soon, but it turned out to be today, spurred on by forum comments.
Thankyou Ebeneezer....... ;) :0)

Leanne said...

I too like to do my own thing for the festive season, which means Yule for me and xmas for the kids and family. I cant help feeling though that so many folk feel they have to jump on the bandwagon, do this, do that, and often go into credit card debt in order to fit in with the expected norm. We are pressured by adverts from september, sometimes earlier,and whereas I can dismiss it,many people cant.I think its quite sad the way Big business dictates that we are rushed through the year,'xmas' hits the shops before the leaves have fallen, often there is halloween merchandise, fireworks for Nov 5th and xmasgoods side by saide.I absolutely hate all that! I would prefer everyone to actually live each month properly as it arrives, without being fast forwarded to the next big thing!

I plan ahead by making gifts, food, drinks, decorations etc myself, not by being sucked into buying cheap mass produced rubbish etc because an Ad man says I ought to!!
Leanne x

Libbys Blog said...

Hurray, someone else mention Christmas before me. I love crimbo to, like you all the preparation of food, gifts, cakes etc all make Christmas so special.

I am really impressed with your cider press, sadly I do not have enough garden to grow apple trees, but my neighbours have loads of apples and just let them drop!!

Galanthus said...

Hello, I've been reading for a week or so and I really like your blog. I have been opting out of major gift buying at Christmas for a couple of years now, and I've started to make gifts or buy small gifts only. I don't celebrate Christmas, but its difficult to opt out of the festivities completely because my family do celebrate it. It does seem to me that many people feel that they have no choice but to spend and stress out at Christmas. I can only assume that, in spite of their complaints, they actually get something out of it. I do hope so anyway otherwise why put themsleves through the hassles. After reading your post I'm feeling inspired to make a real effort this year to make the winter festivals that I do celebrate as meaningful as possible.

Kim said...

Great post, Sarah :) I love Christmas/Yule in all it's different forms. I love planning for it as soon as the Autumn air stirs my blood. We have a lot of celebrations to look forward to, including both children's Birthdays and then rounded off with Christmas. Which means an awful lot of making for me to get on with :)

The only downside, for me, is that soooo many people seem driven to spend far more than they can afford, and then face a New Year with credit card debts. Just a little planning and belt tightening would make all the difference!

Kim x