Sunday, 22 November 2009

Christmas Rules. OK?

Sorry to mention it, but in five weeks time it'll all be over. All that cooking, eating, shopping, wrapping, telly watching. Done and dusted. Finished for another year.

Christmas isn't meant to be hard work. Or expensive. Long before the birth of Christ was celebrated, our pagan forefathers (and foremothers) had a huge midwinter feast to keep their spirits up in the cold, dark days of late December. The Romans had an orgy of festivity around December 21st called Saturnalia. It's said that when Constantine decided Christianity should be Rome's official religion he moved the festival of Christ's birth to December (Saturnalia) in order to make things run a little smoother.  Get that! A politician trying to make everyone's life a little easier. And at Christmas, too.

Now we worship at the altar of consumerism things are harder. Kids demand more and better presents, everyone expects to be showered with gifts and consume half a year's worth of calories in a few days and be able to sit down for hours before the telly.

We try to do it differently chez Dotterel. For a start, both Sarah and I sing in different choirs, and Christmas is a busy busy time for singers. The best-attended service of the year - midnight mass - is one of our biggest gigs and usually comes after about a dozen other carol services and concerts.  By Christmas Day we're both usually knackered! So, like the good boy scouts (or girl guides in my wife's case) we once were, our rule is simple: 'be prepared'. Shop for Christmas presents through the year. Wrap as early as you can. Print a set of labels to address those Christmas cards. And then in January, buy the cards for next year in the sale!

I know, I know.

But it works for us.

You can read more Christmas Rules as posted by various bloggers on the John Lewis website.

And if you don't believe me when I say we spend the festive season singing, take a look at this....

(Don't say I didn't warn you!)

11 comments:

Liz said...

I always buy my cards and wrapping paper in the January sales. I tend to leave my shopping until December, but as I only have about half-a-dozen people to buy for, it's not a particularly onerous or expensive task anyway.

French Fancy said...

We've cancelled Christmas this year. Our one concession will be taking ourselves to a lovely restaurant for lunch on the day. It's not such a big deal in France - there is no Boxing Day -it's a normal working day - and there is very little fuss.

Kevin Musgrove said...

I get most of the present-buying done in January and February, while I'm still feeling up to it, and then do the fillings-in during my festive high in mid-August. By the time that December comes along I'm so brow-beaten by adverts and wall-to-wall festive programming I'm all Christmassed out. (Two film channels have been showing nothing but Christmas movies 24 hours a day since the beginning of November.)(And not even *good* Christmas movies, just a pile of schlock telemovies...!)

Liz said...

I've always liked France and after reading French Fancy's comment above, I've found something else to like about it.

Ana said...

I once shopped for Christmas months in advance but lost or forgot about all the gifts. Very expensive and irritating. These days I just go online a week in advance... and everybody gets giftcards... Yeah, I've lost my Christmas spirit.

Mark said...

For an old grump I like Christmas - but then we hide away in Wales, just us, some food and the sea.

They do choirs there too.

Ruth Moss said...

Impressive! :)

Well, we're doing "Christmas" chez Moss on 21st December.

I didn't fight over it because I do want Bertie to have the big family do, and I simply can't provide that, being estranged from my family.

Lucy's over on the 20th and then the next day we're basically having a party; I've invited a few friends and their children and I'm going to cook a few bits and bobs but mainly it'll be a Mum's gone to Iceland jobbie. We'll also do a bit of Solstice-y type stuff; light some candles, watch the sun go down, also planting some snow drop, crocus and daffodil bulbs because the days will be getting longer from then on in and they will provide the first hints of spring.

On Christmas day it'll just be me and Lucy. I'm sure we'll come up with something to do...

O said...

haha - very good. I love christmas carols.

I'm very much into home made presents this year. I've discovered a new way of making mini-christmas puddings using oreos - they look brilliant so that is what everyone is getting. More money for me!!

jinksy said...

For years I loved the Christmas round of singing, but not being a driver, and having creaky knees that limit how far I can travel, has somewhat silenced my warbling! I hope you enjoy yours to the full - perhaps you can sing a carol on my behalf - how about the Maddy Prior one again?!

Traction Man said...

I'm convinced you're a doppelgänger of Mark Heap from Lark Rise to Candleford.

Passionate Thrifter said...

You have a very nice voice, Mr. Atkinson!!! Guess I found one of those videos of you singing, huh? Wasn't too hard. :D I will definately have to post one now... I have competition!!! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! (Sorry, evil laugh slips out once in a while... :D )
Bethany

www.passionatethrifter.blogspot.com