They say it’s ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. But is it?
Growing up I enjoyed family Christmases. The excitement of seeing that Santa had been, racing downstairs to open the living room door full of gifts, extended family arriving, watching the Queen’s speech and standing for the national anthem. Then, all sitting round the makeshift table, fighting with my older brothers over the last sausage, sprouts getting hidden down the back of radiators to gravy stains on the crisp white table cloth… They were great times and still are for the majority of families.
But why? Why do we sit down to our Christmas lunch in the middle of the afternoon? Why do we eat turkey when we probably don’t eat it any other time of the year, not to mention the sprouts? Why do we purchase enough food to feed a small country? Why do we stress ourselves out to the max?
Tradition that’s why!
Every year thousands of families plunge themselves into debt because of the ‘Commercialised Christmas‘ dictated to us by adverts on telly, social media, radio, newspapers etc. They all tell us to purchase what they decide is the “must have” gift, experience or party food!
Our family Christmases are very different…
As you may know from reading my previous blogs: our son, James, is on the autistic spectrum and really struggles to manage all the buzz that the festive season brings.
Don’t get me wrong, like any other child, James enjoys all the lights, the presents under the tree, Christmas movies and songs. However, in reality, he just can’t cope! He becomes totally overwhelmed by the whole experience.
By the time Christmas Day comes along, we know to expect a huge meltdown (He has held it together since bonfire night after all!). We tried for many years to find ways to have the traditional ‘perfect’ Christmas. We thought that was important for James but we learnt the hard way… It would usually end up with everyone being miserable.
We now try to keep things as low key as possible, like every other day, but with some added gifts. We take the 25th of December as it comes.
The morning always starts by James bouncing his way through to our bedroom to open his stocking. After we get organised, we head downstairs to open a few presents with a glass of bubbly for me and hubby, and a pastry. Instead of stressing out to make sure we are eating at 2pm and trying to get James to eat something he doesn’t really like, we simply eat when we are hungry and the meal could be macaroni cheese, pizza or even beans on toast! We watch what we want, when we want. We play games or go out for a walk if it takes our fancy. There are no rules for us on Christmas Day and this works for our family.
The perfect Christmas doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ to anyone else apart from you and your loved ones.
I hope you all have the best Christmas and New Year however you spend it.