I have my Christmas decorations up already and I don’t care what anyone thinks
You know that person you give the side-eye of shame to when they wander up the seasonal aisle of the supermarket, filling their trolley with tinsel, baubles and orbs of Chocolate Orange on November 1?
Yeah, that’s me – and I’m proud of it. The moment that the temperature gets above 10 degrees in the spring is generally when I will start to long for Christmas.
I yearn to cosy up against the cold and the dark, and for all of the food and drink delights that come with this time of year. And I can’t wait to get the preparations started; the build-up and scrupulous organisation is almost as fun as the day itself.
Except, it seems to have become quite cool to pretend to be aloof about Christmas, with everyone eye-rolling and religiously typing ‘Already!?’ below any tweet about Christmas adverts or products.
Well, sheeple, Christmas starts as early as it wants in my world and everyone around me basically has to deal with it. My husband hasn’t quite divorced me yet and, in fact, I have a feeling that over the 14 years we’ve been together, I may have infected him with my Christmas spirit, though he’d never admit it.
Each year, my decorations go up earlier and earlier. This year marked a new record, with the tinsel making an appearance as soon as Bonfire Night had been reduced to ashes.
But I am most definitely not saying that this will be my all-time record in the future.
The moment that the Halloween pumpkin was turned into a tasteless, gloopy soup, I was raiding the attic and cupboard to bring down my grotto of joy.
The tree is up, blazing with lights and there is even a deliciously corny train spinning around the tracks below.
The television is layered with twinkling tinsel and the singing tree toy that my husband bought for me on our first festive celebration together is blaring ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ all day long and Spotify will stream nothing but Mariah Carey until January.
Starting each morning by switching everything on – hearing sounds, seeing colours and lights and feeling that warm and familiar glow – makes such a difference to my day. It’s a small thing but it gives me a spring in my step and makes me head into everything with a positive attitude.
Why? Some people think I am nuttier than a vegetarian roast but the truth is, it makes me happy. That’s it, and when has happiness ever hurt anyone?
I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. I blame my parents. I was infected with the spirit of Christmas from a young age; during the festive season, everyone was relaxed and in a good mood.
There was a lot of laughter, hugs and spending time together. As a result, I always felt magical and lucky – a feeling that I want to replicate each year.
Growing up, we made a big deal of the celebrations and, as the oldest of five, I got the pride of being the big girl helping mum with the shopping and all of the other preparation. Every December 1, my dad would proudly place a sprig of real holly on top of a picture frame to signify that Christmas had officially started.
The whole family would help out with dinner and it didn’t matter whether it was chaos. In fact, the more pandemonium, the better!
I can almost feel chill in my hands from heading out to the farm to help my dad cut down a tree, a tradition we still do together to this day.
I used to have a sense of embarrassment about my love for the festivities; people would make sly digs or jokes about me being a kid, or men would mansplain to me about the commercialisation of Christmas.
There were times when I cancelled people visiting so no one would judge me for having my decorations up early. It felt almost like a shameful little secret, like a fan with a shrine to a celebrity or a gamer with all merchandise still in original packaging.
But as priorities changed with maturity and life experiences, it became less and less important to me what other people thought and now I am shamelessly the first to excitedly mention it every year.
Christmas isn’t just for kids. Why should we stamp out something which brings such delight just because we have to grow up?
We have to make so many changes as adults, such as dealing with finances, working full time, paying bills and groaning when we sit down. So Christmas is the one time where I can be shamelessly child-like.
It’s not about the presents, either, I can take or leave that aspect of it.
It brings me such nostalgia and comfort to feel the cold, see the darker nights and just be around people I love. Many people say, ‘why does it have to be Christmas, you could always get together any other time?’ and I have to agree.
I am prepared to explain my choices to any fun police
But it never happens. We could all pledge to take the same week off work and get together in August for a big meal and festivities but let’s be realistic, Christmas is something that forces a hand that otherwise never gets played.
In the last two years, where we’ve had our lives ravaged by Covid, some more than others, anything that builds happiness should be grabbed onto with both hands.
Last year hit that home incredibly hard as the Government cancelled Christmas at the last minute. I was very lucky in that my husband and I were bubbled together but it felt very hollow and sad to be without family. However, my house remained decorated and I held onto the joy that brings me even stronger – nothing was going to stop me from getting into the spirit of the festive season. It never does!
There are no rules about when we should decorate our home, and how. I am prepared to explain my choices to any fun police who tell me otherwise – but really, the only answer people need is: I do it because I want to.
I know plenty of people who don’t make a fuss over Christmas at all but I don’t go around nailing a berry-laden wreath to their door or singing carols through their letterboxes. Though that would be fun.
We’re all different and this is me. And the fact that my life comprises colours, music, warmth, excitement, magic, sharing, comfort and love is something I will always be part of.
This year, I’ll be going back to my family home and reliving the usual memories and stories with everyone around me. Everyone looks bigger and older, has new stories to tell, has new dietary requirements (three have become vegetarian) and comes from different places but the feeling that was there for us all as a family every year since I was born hasn’t changed one bit. And that’s what I hold onto as the constant of every year.
Merry Christmas! Or, for those celebrating early, Happy Easter and all the power to you!
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