Over the years I’ve spent a lot of Christmases run ragged and not able to enjoy anything because I’ve been so tired that I could barely stand up. When the children were smaller I tried to make Christmas into a completely magical experience from start to finish. I put the tree up and decorated when they were all in bed so that they would have the excitement of finding that the fairies had come in the morning. I outdid Delia on the cooking front. We did everything possible that you can do for Christmas. And then a few years ago I realized that it was insanity and I had to do things differently. I am not a very nice person when I’m exhausted and much as I may dream I am, I am not in fact wonderwoman!
Firstly, I cut down my expectations. I can’t do everything and nor should I. Wherever possible I involve others…and tomorrow I’ll show you the lovely Advent decoration my elder daughter made for us this year.
Secondly I cut down on things whenever I think I need to. Usually I host a big Christmas party after Christmas with carol singing, mulled wine and a feast of Christmas food. It’s great fun, but it’s also a ton of work to pull it all together. This year has been a bit tough for me and I have decided to have a year off. Yes, people love coming and it’s a great evening, but we can do it again next year and this year I want to have some peace at Christmas. I don’t actually feel the tiniest bit guilty. It will be a shame not to see friends and have some fun, but the relief I feel at not having to go through the motions is huge. Huge I tell you. Which makes me feel I’m doing the right thing.
Thirdly I try to do a couple of little things on the way to Christmas every day in December. That is sometimes sending off a couple of parcels, ordering on the internet, baking some mince pies and putting them in the freezer, writing 4 or 5 Christmas cards. Little by little I’ve already managed to get through an awful lot. I’m still clueless on what to give my family for Christmas, but the relations and friends are pretty much taken care of.
Fourthly I make things. I love making things and I love giving homemade gifts – but I only give them to people who I know will actually appreciate them. (My mother may turn out to be an exception on this one….I know the exquisite pair of soft as a feather socks I knitted her a couple of years ago have never been out of the dreaded drawer…grrrr). Making things makes me happy, so building in some sewing or knitting into the programme has a positive mental health effect.
Fifthly, I accepted that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it only needs to be good enough….except for Christmas lunch that is!
On a happy note, I can tell you where things stand on the production line….
Woohoo, the quilt is just waiting to have the binding sewn down while I watch Strictly Come Dancing tonight……my absolute favourite part of making a quilt. I’m giddy with anticipation!
I’ve just run up this little table topper using a charm pack of Joy by Kate Spain. It went together in a flash and it won’t take a jiffy to have it quilted and on the table next week.
The hoodie I’m making for my daughter is making pretty quick progress – especially since I’ve really been concentrating on quilting…the Madeline Tosh Merino Light is divine. I’m making an Austin Hoodie, and I think after Christmas I might just have to make myself one too. Yummeeee.
What are you doing to prepare for Christmas? Any special tips or hints you want to share with the rest of us?
Right, now I’d better get on – I’m off to make some mince pies ready for the family members who’ve been out braving the snow!