Once Halloween is out of the way, high street shops usually go full tilt into Christmas. Some people feel strongly that early November is too soon to hear Christmas songs in the shops and be bombarded with festive adverts on TV, whilst others have already completed their Christmas shopping weeks ago.
Usually I tend to agree with the ‘bah humbug’ mentality – ideally I’d like to be oblivious until the beginning of December, but this year feels a little different.
Back in early September I found myself in a garden centre surrounded by baubles and tinsel, and another customer said to me ‘isn’t this wonderful, I can’t wait to have a proper Christmas this year, with my family’ and I found myself agreeing. I even bought a couple of tree ornaments, and back in the car I found myself mourning the Christmas we lost last year. For the first time since they were born, we didn’t see our sons on the big day (apart from a stilted Zoom conversation) and dinner was decidedly flat without them sitting with us around the table. We eventually managed to meet up and exchange presents in the spring, which felt bizarre.
Apart from when I was little and considered opening presents as the centre piece of the festive season, I’ve always known that seeing friends and family was the best bit – I love having friends over on Christmas Eve; seeing my nearest and dearest around the table, and having relatives over to play old fashioned party games.
The next best thing is watching others open presents I have made for them – all of this was snatched away last December. As a result I expect the nation’s fervour for Christmas will be bigger than ever this year, though the ever-present Covid will be hovering over us like the ghost of Christmas past. Whilst we plan for get-togethers, social dinners and parties, we still don’t know if and how they will take place.
However much I am looking forward to Christmas though – I just cannot get excited about the shopping. For the first time I am truly not bothered about receiving anything this year; the corny saying ‘your presence is present enough’ sums it up for me.
My husband and I have agreed not to buy each other anything, and all I want is the company of close family and friends. Apart from my annual jigsaw puzzle that is – Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.