We have said farewell to ‘meteorological autumn’ and, to borrow a well-sung phrase, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
A day off
I took a rare day off earlier this week to spend the day with my mum. We went out for a spot of lunch at Carluccios (thanks, Mum!) and we did some intentional shopping (me: 4 eggcups and my Secret Santa present; she: some napkins and something to drink from Marks and Spencer).
Mum and I commented that we rarely spent time together like this and resolved to do it more often.
We got chatting about Christmas, since the shops are already trimmed to perfection (see above!) and the inevitable mountain of ‘themed merchandise no-one actually needs’ was clearly in evidence.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy gift giving but when Christmas seems to equal ‘conspicuous consumption’, my heart sinks a little.
Happily, here in the UK, we don’t forget the ‘reason for the season’ plus we still enjoy a great many Christmas traditions. Children visit Santa; schools enjoy festive fairs and nativity plays; and we love the ceremonial switching of the lights in our home town.
Some traditions, however, seem to be waning a little. Do you send Christmas cards, for example? Mum reminded me, “You haven’t sent cards for years!” That’s not strictly true, but I don’t always send cards, especially as the postage is now prohibitively expensive.
For me, it’s fine to let go of traditions, expectations or social mores that no longer serve us. Some things we love and invest time on them, such as dressing our Christmas tree. Other things, we can let go.
Before completing this post, I listened to Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft’s Happier podcast. Like me, they were considering holiday habits they loved to embrace, whilst admitting that there were a number of traditions they’d happily let go. Check out episode 145 to listen.
Here’s my personal list of ‘let go’ items:
- Home-made mince pies (we don’t eat them; I certainly don’t want to make them!)
- Sending Christmas cards
- Bought gifts for grown ups
- Going Christmas shopping
Instead, this year, I’ve decided to embrace some new ‘traditions’ of my own:
- Gingerbread biscuits (to share, to eat, to hang on the tree)
- e-cards plus a donation to charity
- Home-made gifts – watch out adults!
- Buying online (for our teenager’s gifts, which are experiences and consumables – yay!)
Since it’s only the start of December, we need to pace ourselves so that by the time the holidays are truly here, we can enjoy them and not collapse in an exhausted heap.
So, I’d encourage you to let go. Perhaps just one thing – one obligation or long-standing tradition that you might secretly (or not so secretly!) wish to relinquish. What will it be?
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