I've had to think carefully before writing this post. After all there are only 5 days to go until Christmas Day and I've realised that this year I have been living in a HUGE state of denial.
And it's the kind of denial that makes you want to run to the hills and live in a cave for a week and then come out when it's all over.
Yes I know, perhaps I need therapy.
Especially when you see the evidence...
- I've only written one card - and yes I know today is the last posting day before Christmas.
- I've not bought any crackers - we're going to make hats and Mr A will make up some jokes instead.
- Our presents for the boys have been pared right back to just a few things each, plus some coins and the traditional satsuma.
- I have not even bought a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream.
But therapy would only be useful if I really wanted to get back to the norm.
And the norm is - or more to the point was - filling the house with booze and food that would end up going to waste or making me fat, spending stacks of cash on Mr A and the children and expecting him to do the same and then surprising others with presents they probably don't need or even want.
I'm not really up for that this year! Not now that I've woken up to the amount of waste that our excesses used to create.
I don't think I need therapy and I'm certainly not going to run and hide in a cave because believe it or not, after months of denial I am actually looking forward to Christmas and the festive cheer actually starts today!
Not September, when the shops start selling presents, nor the middle of November when the lights are switched on. And visiting Father Christmas at the beginning of December, when we all know the big guy doesn't make an appearance until next week was most certainly not on the agenda.
Phew - at last I feel that I've broken free from the burdens of Christmas that has become as traditional as the event itself and I can tell you, with it comes a huge feeling of relief.
But I really feel like I'm breaking the rules. - the rules of social etiquette that bind us together giving us a shared understanding of how things should be.
To break away from all that is not easy. It is hard to be different and really does need strength of character to fight those feelings of automatic generosity or conformity, whilst defending any impressions of selfishness. It's not even as though I am particularly religious but I can't help wondering whether, it might be easier if I was bound to a faith.
But I do have renewed faith in Christmas and now feel brave enough to share my beliefs.
It's taken me a while but I've grown to realise I don't need gifts to know that someone cares for me. For those that do, I will respect it but memories of good times, traditions and laughter last much longer than presents.
And a card is only useful for sending Christmas wishes that I can't deliver myself. A personal hello, a telephone call or an email are much more appreciated than an automatic card from someone who has become a stranger.
But the one thing that has kept me most sane is the growing realisation of one important fact and I can't believe it's taken me so long to work it out or indeed share the knowledge.
Right....here we go, my one pearl of wisdom, for what it's worth.
"Christmas Day is a just day and not a deadline".
There, I said it and how wonderful it feels to get that off my chest!
So please forgive me if I remain calm while the rest of the world scurries around me. I shan't judge those who do, just as I hope those who enjoy or accept the excess and panic of Christmas will not judge my realisation that it no longer suits me.
Ah...Peace at last.
Now doesn't that sound festive.....so as I break into the Carols and start organising Christmas, I'll see you next week, when I will have finally sorted my Christmas greetings and caught up with replies to other posts.
.........Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la, la la la la!"
"Ho, Ho, Ho!"