In which I set new rules for Christmas

I’m reading a lot of crap about Christmas. It’s all so much: food, expense, hassle, travel, stress. Why are people doing this to themselves? As someone who veers from making some effort to none, I can tell you that there aren’t any rules. At no point do the Christmas Police come round and tell you off if you can’t be arsed to send cards this year and don’t bother with mince pies.

Also, if you don’t visit people, they get over it. If they don’t get over it, they aren’t the sort of people you should bother visiting, so really, it’s a win-win.

So here are my new rules, to help those who appear to be struggling:

  1. You don’t have to send Christmas cards. You don’t need an excuse, just don’t do it. Barely anyone will notice and they’ll promptly forget. You just saved yourself £20 on postage, get a couple of bottles of wine instead.
  2. You don’t have to make anything. If you can afford it and if it saves you time, buy it. Anyone who ‘really prefers the homemade version’ should either learn to make it themselves or shut the fuck up with their passive-aggressive neediness.
  3. You don’t have to go anywhere/see anyone/ do anything if you don’t want to. See above re ‘getting over it’.
  4. You don’t have to have a tree. Of course you don’t. Or, you can have a tree in every room. Whatever. No one counts. Except people with obsessive compulsive tendencies and if you don’t have trees, they’ll probably count something else, so it doesn’t matter.
  5. There is no compulsory Christmas food. None. Supermarkets and magazines want to make us think that a day can’t be special without tree-shaped nachos for dips and bowls of gold coated truffles on every flat surface. This is total bollocks. Think about your favourite food. Great! Is that what you’re eating on Christmas Day? If yes, awesome. If not, what the hell happened?
  6. What to wear for the Christmas party. Much like ‘how to get a bikini body – put a bikini on your body’, the answer to what you should wear for a party is whatever the hell you like. Ok, if the dress code is likely to be strictly enforced you’ll need to give it a passing nod. Or, skip the do entirely (this is something else that is perfectly acceptable). Otherwise, wear whatever will allow you to enjoy the evening without feeling underdressed, overdressed, too fat, too thin, or too uncomfortable on heels that are 2 inches higher than you usually wear. The shops are full of lace and faux fur and pleather and metallic mid length pleated skirts. Unless you genuinely like any of that stuff and expect to wear it on at least three more occasions, fuck it.

Am I being massively hypocritical and saying all this, while privately going full on Kirsty whatserface and knitting my own tree? Not really.

I have:

  • Ordered a 6ft tree
  • Baked a Christmas cake for my sister
  • Decided to bake cookies for colleagues instead of giving out Christmas cards
  • Written some of my cards (last year I didn’t do any)
  • Already made a trial batch of mince pies, with home made mincemeat. I’m not sure I can be arsed to make any more, though.
  • Dodged both office Christmas parties

I will be:

  • Spending Christmas Day on my own, having politely weaseled out of the family get together by saying ‘Are you fucking mad, I’m not doing that?’
  • Not bothering with Christmas lunch. I might make roast butternut squash soup, though. Or just a cheese, apple and crisp sandwich, with a good cup of tea, and a couple of Jaffa Cakes for dessert. That’s one of my favourite meals.
  • Going for a Boxing Day walk. Unless I’m hideously ill, as I usually am.

Because it’s all about balance. There’s a lot of Christmas. It is much. The way round that is you just choose the elements you want and sod the rest.

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8 thoughts on “In which I set new rules for Christmas

  1. charlotteotter

    Having exactly the Christmas you want is the way of less stress. Trying to achieve some messed up image of the non-existent perfect Christmas is the way to tons of it. Well done, you.

  2. scimumsam

    I love this. We have achieved the Christmas we want by moving halfway across the globe and then quitting our jobs, thus largely avoiding all the people who thought we should visit them and the parties we were expected to attend. Christmas cards disappeared quite a few years ago. For Christmas food we ask each member of the family what they want to eat and try to provide that, as long as it is reasonable.

  3. quinn

    Thank u fuckin’ gawd…i love u love u love u….have just posted this to many like minded friends or friends who should become like minded. brilliant…but then i expect that on this blog!
    thank u for the ‘holiday gift’…..awesome….enjoy that walk.
    quinn

  4. musingsfromthesofa Post author

    Sam – moving to the other side of the world seems a bit extreme, but if that’s what it takes…

    Hi Quinn – thanks again! Glad you liked the post and hope you’re planning exactly the Christmas you want!

  5. thesesandwichdays

    I was so much better about this before I had kids. Since I am religious, I have always tried to keep advent a special time, focus on the things that are important to me (the tree, church, seeing friends) but with a 5 year old and a 2 year old it is so hard to keep it from being utter fucking madness. I am trying really hard but this year I have failed utterly – I have to work at simplifying for next year. I know the example I set is important.

  6. musingsfromthesofa Post author

    Hey, just been doing a quick catch up on your life and cannot believe E is 5! And that you moved from Pittsburgh. I think, given all you have going on in your life, letting a bit of madness in is unavoidable!

  7. Bookgazing

    Heroine! Did avoid Xmas do and some people made me feel kind of bad about it (probably because I didn’t come up with an excuse just ‘I like you but I didn’t want to go’) but as you say they will have to get over it as we continue to work together.

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