I still vividly recall all the things that made Christmas special when I was child sized.
Walking into the living room and finding a sack full of gifts is of course a highlight when you’re an eight-year-old and having a mum who went that extra mile every year to bring Christmassy vibes to every room of the house certainly helped (cheers ma).
It was also a time in my life when unwrapping a Fisher Price kitchen felt like the solution to all of life’s problems.
Flash forward to 2018 and it’s fair to say that being a childless person in my 30’s, the ‘spirit of Christmas’ can be somewhat lost on me. Not least because, as an atheist, I always feel a tinge of hypocrisy/embarrassment partaking in a celebration that revolves almost exclusively around that world-renowned tale of the baby Jesus’s birthday.
There’re also the other stresses of the season:
- Who do I need to buy for?
- How much time will I have to catch-up with family and friends?
- How many new outfits will I inevitably have to squeeze my mince pie laden arse into before it becomes acceptable to attend every event wearing a onesie?
- How long is it going to take for the cats to deconstruct the 2.5 hours of hard graft that went into erecting the tree and adorning it with every conceivable bauble sold by The Range?
The answer to that last one is approximately 1 hour 34 minutes, if left unsupervised…
One thing I’ve learnt as a grown-up is that Christmas takes on an entirely new meaning as you get older. It’s nowhere near as ‘fantastical’ as unboxing your first PS1, or hearing your dad sing along to the dancing Homer Simpson in the hallway or smelling your mum’s roast potatoes cooking – but there’s still joy to be had even as the years fly by.
I wanted to celebrate my first Christmas as a ‘blogger’ with a summary of what the ‘magic of Christmas’ means in your 30’s…
- Living vicariously through the children in your life/your friends with children
I’ve covered this in a roundabout way, but there’s no doubt that the ‘spirit’ of Christmas can in many ways be traced back to your childhood belief in Santa, and the excitement you felt on Christmas Eve when you couldn’t sleep for thinking what might be under the tree.
Nowadays, one of my favourite things is seeing that very same excitement played out by the children of my friends – and my own nephew Sam of course. The Elf on the Shelf, advent calendars, letters to Santa Claus, and all those things I wish still brought me the same level of mirth to me, all bring me the fuzzy feels when Christmas rolls around.
I will say that my husband was kind enough to invest in a Cadbury advent calendar for me this year, and I was filled with childish glee whenever I opened a tiny door before setting off for work…
- Time with your partner/family/friends
This one is closely linked to parts three and four, but is there any better excuse to get together than at Christmas when everyone is equally fed up, wants the year to end, and is more than happy to use noel as a reason to eat, drink, and spend too much?
I’ve already got a child’s birthday party, Friday night drinks with the girls, and a New Year’s Eve get together at my mates house planned in over the next seven days – a calendar of social events that would normally fill me with concern/weariness before they’ve even begun – and I’m bloody thrilled about it.
Both a blessing and a curse.
My Christmas Day normally begins with a 10am Bucks Fizz, before I steadily drink myself sober throughout the day via a combination of champagne, G&T and beer in no particular order.
In fact, Christmas is the one time of year in Britain where it’s socially acceptable to start your day with anything other than a cup of tea before the day’s festivities begin. Yes, there might be the odd family row as a result, but the likelihood is that it’s probably going to make the whole event more tolerable in the long run.
And if you happen to fall asleep and miss the Queen’s speech? Bonus.
Ah, food. Second only to the unwrapping of a Fisher Price kitchen as the solution to all life’s problems.
The best part about this one is that, as a 30-something (and more often than not, the purveyor of the dinner) there’s not a person around who can tell you when you’ve gone one spud too far, or to stop drinking from the gravy boat.
Favourite Christmas food stuffs for me include:
- Roast potatoes (par boiled, goose fat-laden balls of joy)
- Honey roasted parsnips (golden wedges of perfection)
- Gravy (not a Bisto jar in sight…)
- Chocolate yule log (preferably smothered in your mum’s home-made chocolate buttercream frosting)
Need more be said?
- Time off work
It’s a truly special moment when the office closes, and you can take a few days out to be with family and friends, decompress, and enjoy everything Christmas brings as an adult who works five days a week from January to December.
It’s also a time for reflection when I can ponder what I have – or haven’t – achieved throughout the year. What can I do better next time? Am I living my life to its full potential, or is there room for improvement?
Either way, a gin in hand and a step back from your emails goes a long way towards giving you some perspective and being kind to yourself after another busy year in the office.
I’d like to say a very Merry Christmas to that small handful of people who’ve stumbled across my blog since I started writing a couple of months ago – and to any friends and family who are good enough to support my waffle (both on and offline).
Now get off the internet, eat a mince pie, and spend some good quality time arguing with your relatives.