To some it’s a swear word this early in the year. Something that begins on December 24th, and ends on December 26th. To others it begins in earnest as soon as is reasonably acceptable. I’ve known people who put up their decorations in November.  Supermarkets and shops do it right- I’m sure there’s decorations out now? I’ve certainly seen the cards and chocolates appearing and soon the adverts will appear. The toy ones have, subliminally suggesting to kids what they need to have whilst parents panic. 

For me Christmas is something I think of all year round, the same as birthdays and hallowe’en and summer- it’s a celebration and why should it be restricted? Ok it can get too much, it’s overwhelming and intense but I love the atmosphere of Christmas, the lights and the celebration. I keep my eyes out for bargains, I usually know roughly who I have to shop for and stash away in my present cupboard.

I don’t obsessively start planning in January but usually by summer I have a fair idea what I want to do that year and since having little lion what I want to buy her. I borrowed the mantra ‘something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read’. I stuck to it last year and will do this. I’m struggling on the ‘need’ as we are fortunate enough to be able to buy as and when but sure I’ll think of something and everyone always needs new toys right? 

Christmas is so commercial nowadays, parents trying to outdo each other and kids expecting more and more with budgets getting tighter and toys becoming more and more elaborate and expensive. Lists or pictures from parents of mounds of toys wondering if ‘this is enough?’. ‘I have £300 to spend but my friend is spending £500, do I need to aswell?’. No, quite frankly you don’t. The message of Christmas, religious or not is being lost. Christian is specifically about celebrating the birth of Christ and the sanctity of life, how lucky we are to be alive. For everyone it’s about family, generosity, celebration, sharing regardless of religious views. Other religions may not celebrate or recognise it; they have their own beliefs and celebrations but the spirit should be shared by those who do celebrate to all regardless of belief.  It’s not about who can buy more, or give more, or do the most ostentatious display. 

Christmas starts now for me because I want to give homemade but meaningful gifts. Being a full time working mum this takes time and planning, so I need to start early to fit it all in. Build those traditions I remember from being a girl, start new ones with my family. 

My Christmas cupboard is getting stocked, lists are being written. Cake will be soaked soon, ready for baking in November. Cards are being made, provisions being stocked to spread the cost. I can’t help but smile at the thought of it. Last year Little Lion slept through on Christmas Eve for the first time. This year who knows what delights we’ll get. But not from presents. From celebrating being a family. 

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