Christmas love... & no to Black Friday
Can you believe it, a month today is Christmas Day... I love Christmas day and i'm going to share my memories below. But before reading about that and before the day itself we have the day I avoid, Black Friday. The day that gets us to over buy what we do not need and a day or now up to two weeks of pressure for independents to offer discounts, Independents can not discount in the same way large companies can or they have to build in the discount periods into the costing, and I for one will not do this. Instead lets look to Colour Friday, an idea from Holly & co and support independents and creativity this Friday and beyond.
I love Christmas. I truly love Christmas. And in my teens and early 20's I was still up at 5am with excitement, A friend and I would text first thing about "has it snowed" and "did he eat the mince pie?" yep, we still said that!!!!
From a very young age until my early 20's my parents and their friends would take it in turns to host Christmas morning. It would be about 10:30am until midday and we would all be dressed up, exchanging gifts, enjoying Christmas drinks, mince pies and just be together. There would be Christmas songs playing, the smell of Christmas dinner cooking and the sound of laughter. It truly was my favourite day, not for the gifts but for the happiness. Everyone was happy on Christmas day.
I remember my first Christmas having moved out of my parents. We moved into a a beautiful little cottage, Plum Tree Cottage and it had this huge open fire place. I'd made a comment to my then partner that wouldn't it be magical to just come down in the morning and the fire be lit. And bless him, he snuck down before I woke (he knew I was an early Christmas morning risers as we'd ben together for years) lite the fire and I got this magical moment! I did let out a gasp as I walked in to this view. It was also the first year I ever had a real Christmas Tree.
Over the years Christmas's changed. I broke up with my partner, I moved back home and Christmas eve night became a huge deal with everyone heading to a local pub or into town to celebrate the festive season. There would be mulled wine, Christmas hats and lots of glittery outfits. My Dad bless him would not drink so that he could come and pick me up at some crazy hour. But i'd always still be up early to see in the Christmas morning.
When I moved away, the first drive home for the Christmas break was exciting. I lied and said we had got stuck working late, when I was 10 minutes away from my family I called and played Chris Rea driving home for Christmas down the phone saying that I was just on route and would be about 3 hours, instead surprising them all with my early arrival.
Then when I moved to Brighton, I lost a bit of the magic of Christmas. It started in my job in Chichester, and was all because I saw a high consumer side to Christmas and having very little time off. Working Christmas eve and back in on 27th,
Christmas became about travelling and working which at first was fun, until it somehow changed. I know longer had a car and traveling Christmas eve by train, Coach and bus to get home with all my gifts, bags and having worked earlier in the day, then travelling back boxing day again by Bus, Coach and train to be in work on the 27th it all became to much, I was just tried and the magic sort of left. And eventually everything stopped. No more Christmas eve pub, no more early Christmas mornings and no more getting together with family friends. The girl and lady that loved Christmas now saw it as something else.
But this again opened a new phase, with me enjoying Christmas Day on on my own (don't knock it until you have tried it) enjoying some much needed down time and spending Christmas eve with my cousin here in Brighton and her driving home Christmas morning. I loved our Christmas eves. Again, there was some sort of magic in the air.
Now we fast forward a few years, and I'm married with my own family of two.
Chis and I are having our first Christmas as Mr & Mrs and we are having a Christmas at home just the two of us and I love these Christmas as much as my earlier years. We put the fire on (OK its the fireplace on netflix but it makes me smile and it has the crackling noise that I love so much) We wear matching PJ's all day, We eat and drink all the food that we want and we play board games, listen to Christmas songs, watch a film and have champagne on the beach with friends.
I must admit, I can not wait for the day to be able to host Christmas at our house for others in some way. This is purely because I haven't been able to host since my early 20's and i'm now knocking on the door of 40!!
For me Christmas is about being with the ones or one you love, its about the feeling of the day. And doing it your way. You don't have to be with family if you don't want to. Do it your way.
Now don't get me wrong, its so lovely to open a gift someone has chosen for you, and I feel truly honoured and blessed when someone approaches me to help them make something special for a loved one. But I see gift giving as a tiny part of Christmas and more of a token. Its about memories and feelings for me.
Last year due to the pandemic, we didn't do Christmas gifts for our nieces, nephews. and friends little ones. And I felt terrible. But you know what, they didn't say a word and haven't said a word so this year we have decided not to do gifts again. You can see how over whelming it can be for both the little ones and the parents with just how much stuff they get at Christmas. Instead we have chosen personal Christmas decoration for them all. And this is our new tradition. Each year they will be given a new decoration at the beginning of December ready for the day they decorate the Christmas tree. Hopefully it'll build a little memory for them over the years and something they can keep. This is something that Chris and I do, we go shopping for a new decoration each year to represent the year we have had or makes us think of the other person. And it feels lovely to be doing the same for our Nieces and nephews. We have also decide to make a donation to a children's charity. So this is it, our new Christmas traditions.
So I wonder, has the pandemic got you doing things a little differently then perhaps you would have done? Are you thinking back over Christmas pasts? Are you stepping away from the Black Friday rush and looking to work with independents? I'd love to know.
I'm jumping in, it might be a bit early but hey, Merry Christmas everyone!