I love Christmas. It is a very special time of a year, time to be with the loved ones, connect with those who are important to us, time to slow down and enjoy the end of the year and the beginning of the new one. Part of Christmas is decorating the home, preparing nice food, giving and receiving presents. During the weeks leading to Christmas I get the feeling that the stuff and endless spending are the most important part of the holidays and it annoys me. Comes boxing day and sales craziness (I've never been to the shops on that day, just watching it on news gives me reason not to leave the sofa), it seems the holiday is only an excuse for yet more consumption.
It usually starts right after Halloween, the shops clear the scary things and the treats and in comes the Christmas theme. With each week the pressure builds.
I thought I was used to it. It's part of the deal, retailers need to make money. But this year I feel annoyed. Only at the end of September did I walk right into a display of advent calendars placed very conveniently right against the entrance to Morrisons. As if to 'gently' remind us that before we even started autumn we should begin our count down to the spending time...
Week after that Tesco displayed first few shelves of cards and wrapping papers probably for the part of population who can not wait to wrap the presents and write some cards.
Now every year people say that Christmas produce and offers come sooner and sooner and I always thought I know how it works - January is about sales, then we have Valentine, Easter, summer stuff, Mothers' and Fathers' days thrown in between, summer sale, back to school, Halloween, Christmas... But this year is a little different and it threw me out of balance.
Why all the pressure? Retailers must know that people will spend money on Christmas, they do every year. No matter how tough the times are, people either budget or simply go crazy with their credit cards. So why can they not let us breathe and look forward to the special time of the year?
This will be our first Christmas with baby and I am looking forward to it. Baby will not be aware of anything, we have got a chance to have really great time, be together without compering what we bought . We will be lazy or have some nice long walks - depending on weather and mood. No matter what the advertisers throw at me, no matter how early in the year they start, I will not get crazy and start redecorating the house, buying bigger and better telly and zillions of useless gifts. Our food will be home cooked and our sweets will be home baked, because this is part of the celebrations. Preparations for Christmas are as great as Christmas itself, if not more. Our decorations will stay the same because they carry memories. Maybe I am not making my bit for the recovering economy but I refuse to give in to the dictate of spend spend spend and I hope I will bring up a child who doesn't measure its success with things or money. I still remember how I loved Christmas as a child and I will do my best to make this time of the year special for my child and family, but the secret is that I do not need more stuff in order to have great holidays.