5 things I won’t be doing this Christmas….
5 things I won’t be doing this Christmas….
I’m hoping this post doesn’t leave you with the impression that I’m anti Christmas or a festive Scrooge. I do actually like Christmas very much, but I’m not a fan of the supercharged expectations and rampant commercialism that goes along with it. Each year I’ve make a concerted effort to simplify it a bit more – so that the focus is on the things that really matter to me and less about the excesses. I think the posh name for this is ‘intentional living’. So this post is an alternative to the usual ‘how to’ Christmas advice, and is instead a list of the things I definitely won’t be doing. Here goes……..
I don’t do a thing festive-related until well into December. The later Christmas prep starts the better in my view. I’m pretty sure this is a hangover from many years working as a primary school teacher, where Christmas explodes in early November and is an exhausting, turbo-charged dash until the children break up in mid December. Of course there’s good reason for starting so early, with much to do including nativities to rehearse and perform (As an aside, there really is no better sight than watching infant children perform in misfitting outfits and tea towel headdresses, not forgetting the child that sung ‘Away in a Manger’ three times as loud as the others). So by early December, the classroom had morphed into a Santa grotto and the card and calendar-making glitter-and-glue fest was truly underway. As lovely as this all was, by the time school finished for Christmas, I couldn’t look another piece of tinsel, bauble or mince pie in the face. I’ve clearly been scarred for life.
Getting into debt
The idea of spending more than I can afford at Christmas has always been anathema to me. I know from experience that a perfectly pleasant time can be had without the need to blow the budget on Amazon purchases. It’s useful that I tend to value the things in life that cost very little – spending time with loved ones, walks along the beach, playing silly games, sea swimming in low temperatures (hard core, I know). But with predictions that up to one third of UK families will borrow money to afford Christmas this year, this really is a big deal for many people. The key is to define spending limits early on and stick to them. Christmas is only one day, it will come and it will go – so it’s really not worth getting into a financial pickle for.
Buying unnecessary presents
I’ve been cultivating this approach for many years and the number of Christmas presents I now buy can be counted on one hand. The adults in my family stopped buying presents for each other decades ago, as it became harder to buy useful/interesting/novelty items as the years progressed. In the end we were giving each other gift vouchers or money, so we were effectively doing a money swap at Christmas! Now we just get presents for the children in the family and it makes life so much easier. I really like this video recorded by Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) several years ago. It says it all. It may sound trite to say that most people will remember people and experiences over material gifts they receive but it really is true. Can you remember gifts from previous years?
Turning my home into Las Vegas
I do like a real Christmas tree and that is our main indulgence decoration-wise. We are fortunate to have a have a lovely garden centre in the village where I live and they stock locally grown trees. So it’s become a bit of a tradition to go and choose a big tree and spend some time and effort decorating it. We use it for firewood when it’s been taken down and dried out, so that makes it easy to get rid of. I’ve got a lovely collection of vintage baubles that I’ve picked up from various antique markets over the years, along with some old family tree decorations. As well as the tree I decorate the fireplaces (my house is full of them). And that my friends, is it.
Buying too much food
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, me and hubby have been trying really hard to eat healthily and I’m determined that it won’t be completely derailed by going overboard with the roast potatoes and mince pies. Secondly, isn’t Christmas dinner just a posh Sunday roast with pigs in blankets? There is a temptation to go food crazy at over the festive period and I’ve been guilty of this many times. According to a survey of it’s members by Which?, 45% of respondents said that they had overbought for Christmas and had stuff left over. Cheese was the top overbought food, followed by sweet snacks like chocolate and biscuits. So I’ll be resisting the temptation to overbuy (even though I’ve a weakness for Buck’s Fizz and those huge tins of Quality Street). And I definitely won’t be posting photos of my Christmas dinner to Instagram. You’ll be eating your own – so you’ll know exactly what it looks like.