Christmas Starts Here

I am now feeling really Christmass-y.  This is a good feeling, as I tend to end up feeling quite ambiguous about the whole festive season.  Theoretically, I love it: the meaning behind it, notions of love between all men, good food & drink, time to see friends and family.  In reality, I often end up feeling stressed by the pressures that come with this time of year (both social pressures and the self-imposed variety) and I get really irked with the brash, vulgar, over-the-top commercialisation of it all.  Maybe I’m just old-fashioned or quaint, but I don’t want my Christmases to be about spending a shed load of money on expensive presents that nobody really needs or even likes.  Nor do I want them to be about having to buy lots of new clothes simply because I feel I need something suitably sparkly.  Nor do I want them to be about getting totally blotto at second-rate restaurants charging top-notch prices because they’re only doing a 3-course set menu.

So what am I doing to apply the ‘a life of one’s own’ idea to Christmas?  Well, here’s my what kicked my ‘Christmas of my own’ off this morning….

Dragged by sorry self out of bed at a time that seemed far too early this morning (getting up when it’s still dark at the weekend seems wrong!) to go into Birmingham and help pack up food parcels for vulnerable families in the city.  This is a Quaker initiative that’s been going for many years, although this was my first time helping out and I can honestly say that it was totally worth getting up for.  It was amazing; a real sense of camaraderie and festive cheer.  When I got home, the details about a charity gift that I’d ordered with my best friends instead of us buying presents for each other had arrived.  I felt good to be dedicating time and money to the bigger picture at Christmas; I think it’s important to remember those left fortunate that we are at this time of year especially, yet at the same time, this time of year is so busy that it’s all too easy to become self-absorbed and forget the rest of the world.

So this morning represents an important building block in making a ‘Christmas of my own’ as an integral part of ‘a life of my own’.  I’m sure that this won’t be the last that you hear about ‘a Christmas of my own’: although lots of Christmas preparation is already done, having written my cards & bought/made most of my presents, now we are getting closer to the ‘big day’ then its inevitable that I’ll be thinking about all things Christmassy a lot over the next few weeks.  Moreover, I need something to angst about now that The X Factor – and hence my boycott of the show – has now come to an end. 

 I can’t believe that as I was writing that final sentence, 5Live news announced that the final of the final for the X Factor is tomorrow night.  I guess my not knowing this demonstrates how out of the loop I am on X Factor now, but it also means that I have one last day of resistance to go.  Bring it on!

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