Sunday, November 25, 2007

30 days to go... if you need reminding, eh! Only 30 days to go until Christmas Day and 31 days to go until the adverts for holidays to sunny places...not to mention 37 days until the shops start selling Easter Eggs. Okay, the last one was a slight exaggeration, but what's the betting that they'll be out on those shelves before you buy your Valentine's card.

Of course, the Christmas Madness started months ago with reports of shops stocking gifts and cards etc in September, only weeks after the the children went back to school. Regular readers will already know my feelings about the seasonal hype that is exacerbated by the retail sector. In the last week I have heard moans from people who are already "shopped out" and have tolerated whinges about traffic jams at the local supermarkets.

How awfully depressing. All this for just one (hopefully) happy day out of 365 days in the year (or 366, in the case of a leap year).

I promise, I really am not a Scrooge. I love Christmas. I especially love the Christmassy smells of the tree, the taste of the Christmas cake and the warming feeling of the Baileys. In our old home, I also enjoyed the sight, smell and sound of the logs crackling on the fire.

Now, I enjoy the build-up at school and trying to cobble an outfit together for the Christmas Play.
I love the way that the Christmas Fairy decorates the Christmas tree and that Father Christmas has got a magic key to come into our house. There is also the excitement that keeps the children up so late at night on Christmas Eve. I love the fact that because we are so busy all year around, the festive season gives us the chance to stop and catch up with friends. I love the goodwill that is expressed and the way that everyone is so cheery on Christmas Eve...not to mention the fabulous Crib Service and carols in Bury St Edmunds' cathedral.

I also enjoy the big sigh heaved by the shops and their staff, when the tills have rung through their last sale, as we take our family walk around town to look at the Christmas lights and enjoy the silent lull on Christmas Eve. If only it could last a bit longer than Boxing Day.

So with 30 days to go, I haven't quite been affected by the Christmas Madness yet. I certainly haven't shopped till I've dropped and don't plan to either and those huge supermarkets are nasty at the best of times, so I don't think I'll go anywhere near them this Christmas. the words of Baldrick...I have a cunning plan.

1. On the basis that everyone already has enough, this year we made the decision to buy gifts for family members only, which has made a drastic reduction to the Christmas List.

2. Any gifts that are needed for family who live afar, there is the pleasure of Internet shopping, which means they can be posted directly and avoids the long queue at the post office.

3. I am ready and waiting to book the all important delivery slot at Waitrose and do my food order online. Yes...I really do hate supermarkets and even the lovely Waitrose will no doubt become a battle-ground in the next few weeks. I will also enjoy the pleasure of reserving the meat from Barwells, in Abbeygate St. Tradition is tradition!

4. As for Christmas cards...these are reserved for the people who we don't see regularly. I had thought about including a note that says..."Merry Christmas for now and forever" to save me the job next year...but don't worry, I've not gone that far down the road of Bar Humbug.

5. Talking of Bar Humbug, there is a bar of that very name which is open during the festive period at Blackthorpe Barn, where we will be able to indulge in a mulled wine and mince pie, after collecting our Christmas Tree...

Of course, I will still venture into Bury St Edmunds, to enjoy the sights of the Christmas build-up. I hope to be the one watching the world rush by, from the window of Tickety Boo or The Lounge while relaxing with a hot chocolate or two. Do drop in, if you are passing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your countdown to the big day...whatever your plans!


Laura McIntyre said...

LOL First post i have read on your blog and its one i could of written myself. Im looking forward to Christmas really but gosh there is so much to do

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Laura - thanks for popping over. After a few crazy Christmas periods, I have set my mind to simplifying Christmas as much as possible. Good luck with all of your preparations. It'll be here before you know it ;-D

Paul F said...

We have thought about your point 4 note for the last few years, but never got round to it - I suppose it's doing it a year in advance that makes it easy to leave it every time.

What's your view on sending cards to neighbours whom you see daily?

grumpyoldwoman said...

The card thing is always a conundrum isnt it? Do you choose to send cards to those people who mean the most to you - or to those that you rarely see but always think of - or to everyone. I get a card every year from a neighbour who was so abusive to me that I had to take drastic action and we have never spoken since!

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Paul - ah...our neighbours... It's very strange but sometimes I don't see my neighbours for weeks, so they will probably be on my Christmas Card list. I think it's all down to the design of new housing estates, where the developers sell the idea of the advantage of privacy, with neighbouring houses facing different directions.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Grumps - This comment might appear twice, because my computer is slow (or it might just have been the man-flu)...

It is always a conundrum isn't it. When I worked in an office, I used t buy a tin of chocolates for everyone, rather than write an extra 30 cards for people I would see everyday. Your neighbour eh? Ouch...are they just trying to make amends?

Whoever I am sending them to, I'd better start writing them this week. Otherwise I will be leaving it late again this year and will need to buy a whole new pack of 1st class stamps.

Bury boy said...

Fab photos

21st Century Mummy said...

Thanks Bury Boy - I love my little Canon Ixus. I took these on a wander around town on Sunday evening, when we took the children in to show them the lights. Call me flamboyant, but I always think that Angel Hill deserves a much bigger tree. It's got something to do with ratio aesthetics. The square is so grand that the tiddler of a tree (lovely as it is) always looks lost somehow.

IngeniousRose said...

I have to admit to being really excited about Christmas this year. I really want to put the decorations up NOW NOW NOW. My 4 year old is telling me to calm down! (I think the excitement is because Santa is coming this year!)

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Ingenious - it's so exciting when Santa comes...the carrot, mince pies and then the delights in morning. Our children get one present each of Santa. They are only allowed to ask for three, from which Santa will pick. However, they get plenty more from the family to make up for it. Enjoy the countdown with IJ. :-D