I love Christmas. Some of you might have noticed that.
I also have a saying that I live my life by in recent years - "Life's Too Short not to....(fill in the blank with some experience or risk I'm about to take)".
For some reason, and no-one quite knows why, I don't remember a lot of my childhood. Despite numerous sessions with high trained mental health experts and psychoanalysts I've still to piece together a lot of the memories that a lot of people take for granted. I'm sure I didn't have an unhappy childhood, I just can't remember it. This is one of the main reasons in adulthood for mine and my kids sake I'm slightly obsessed with creating traditions and making memories :)
When I first got married and was an upwardly mobile suit of the early 90s, I have to confess I totally fell into the "Christmas has to be perfect" trap. I bought all those Good Housekeeping type magazines, I spent too much on decoarations (especially as we were trying to dig ourselves out of crippling debt after university), I got behind on sending Christmas cards and beat myself up about it (mainly because I used to spend ages writing a horribly braggy Christmas letter about mine and Mr D's exploits during the year). And of course, I got down when Christmas wasn't "perfect".
Luckily growing older has brought slightly more maturity (though some, me included, would argue not much) and living through some deep depressions and gaining two wonderful caring silly children has chilled me out somewhat.
Christmas doesn't have to be perfect anymore, because I know that's not an achievable goal. HOWEVER Christmas HAS to be lived as if it's my last - we have to MAKE TIME to have fun together, to simply be together, to make some memories for me if I'm lucky enough to be here in the future and for my children to hopefully look back on and remember fun times.
My favourite Christmas quotes are from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol:
I'm also a sucker for any Christmas 'redemption' stories/movies - Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Elf (an absolute classic of a movie, Will Ferrell is just superb at reminding us about having childlike wonder and joy), It's a Wonderful Life, The Grinch (Chuck Jones & Boris Karloff version being my favourite but Jim Carrey wasn't bad either), The Santa Clause etc.
So this year (with the help of Mr D. being stuck in England a while back due to Hurricane Irene and having nothing to do with his time but do our Christmas shopping for relatives early) we got our Christmas shopping and Christmas carding done before Thanksgiving so that this Target advert wasn't too dissimilar from our house last Thursday:
As you can see from the photos above, we pretty much had all our Christmas lights and decs up in the front garden before the calendar even turned onto December...
And I'll show you some of our Christmas trees inside over the next few days. (Do you know I found out recently that not everyone is as obsessed as I am about eventually having a Christmas tree for every room? I KNOW?! Personally I was shocked).
And although there are some things I plan to do that we've had as Christmas traditions for years now (making and decorating Christmas cookies for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, staying in our pyjamas all Christmas Day, watching Christmas movies under duvets with hot chocolate and marshmallows, tracking Father Christmas on Christmas Eve on the NORAD site, Elfing ourselves, making paper chains in front of the telly together, going on Christmas lights safaris etc). I've drawn myself up a Christmas 'bucket list' for this year of fun things I'd like to do instead of a 'to do' list I 'have to' do.
These are the things on my list:
- See how many Christmas movies & tv specials with a Christmas theme I can watch in one day
- Do a 'Christmas letter' for 2011 on fanbloomingtastic.com
- Write a letter to Father Christmas
- Go with Melchett to meet Santa (Melchett can't remember meeting Father Christmas as a small child and I don't think I've ever actually talked to him)
- Make Christmas cards for all the children in the school classes I volunteer in
- Buy some more Christmas books for a Christmas book advent calendar next year
- Make some new geeky and/or glamorous tree ornaments for my white tree
- Decorate Hartley my car for Christmas
- Bake mince pies
- Go to Zoolights
- Go to Glendale Glitters
- Go to the Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade of Lights
- Make homemade gifts for friends and Melchett's teacher
- Make a gingerbread house (I want to try something like this, this year)
- Go on a Christmas Light safari
- Have a random acts of kindness marathon
- Watch A Christmas Story all the way through (this is a very American thing, like Morecambe and Wise means Christmas to Brits....but I've never watched the whole thing)
- Make paper snowflakes and decorate a room like in Elf
- Scan Christmas past photos and put them on electronic frame
- Make Christmassy frames for some Christmas past photos
- Bring Christmas photo albums up to date (currently only have up until 2003 in albums)
- Make fudge
- Change ringtones to seasonal ones and find some seasonal apps, wallpaper etc
- Decorate Bessie the trike
You'll notice there are 24 things. I've written them on slips of paper...
The reason I said 'sort of' randomly is that there were some things that needed putting on specific dates eg. the Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade of Lights, and some things that needed to be on weekends so the whole family could join in eg. Glendale Glitters and Zoolights and visiting Santa with Melchett......but other than these I popped them in the pockets of my advent calendar pretty randomly.
So I'll explain more about each one as it arrives and have some big fun making memories.
I'd love to know what things you plan to do during (as the Americans say) the holidays. Let me know in the comments section won't you, in case there's anything I need to add to my list next year :)