I don’t need to ask the kids twice, and the husband surprisingly needed very little convincing as well – so the Christmas decorations are going up this weekend!
This is a big break from the tradition I was brought up on. In our house, we were lucky if there was a hint of holly before we broke up from school for the holidays. Back then, there seemed be a widespread and rather snooty view that putting anything up “too early” wasn’t the done thing. “They don’t go up until Christmas Eve in such-and-such’s house” was the mantra I often heard from my Dad, when I was pestering for those boxes full of tantalising, tangible magic from the loft.
I think things have changed. Not everyone likes it, and the media had a big hand in pushing it earlier and earlier, but I think there is a general appetite to start the magic weeks in advance – and those who revel in it no longer feel they need to apologise for that. I love it. I’m conscious of the risk of tinsel fatigue if you go too early, but time it right and you can embrace the sparkles as early as you like, guilt-free.
This week I’ve been getting ready to go. The wooden advent calendar is out, the furniture is ready for moving to make way for the tree, and I’ve taken stock of cards and wrapping paper. I’ve also made sure I’ve registered our copies of the gorgeous online, work-of-art advent calendar that we enjoy every year, by Jacquie Lawson. There’s a new design every year, and if you’ve never heard of her before, I highly recommend giving it a look.
So I’m all ready, and it’s nearly time to start.
It’s the smell of those decorations, for me. Now that I’m a grown up person with a house, I realise that the smell of Christmas boxes is really the ingrained odour of musty old eaves and attic air – but it doesn’t make it any less wonderful, and brimming with promise. And I can’t feel sorry for wanting a piece of that in early December, instead of having to wait until the whole season is almost over to enjoy it all.
I read this on Instagram recently, and it really helped to frame my eagerness to smell those smells, light the lights and get that tree up – and why it doesn’t matter how early you go. It’s from a fabulous contributor called IDreamofChristmas, and this is what she had to say.
“So many people build up to Christmas Day, either a little or a lot, getting stressed out and weighed upon with all the buying and planning and instead of lapping up all those wonderful times leading up to Christmas – it just stresses them out…There is a good reason for decorating and planning so early – SO I CAN ACTUALLY ENJOY IT ALL!”
It’s true. If you are in charge of making the magic happen at Christmas, then you are the one in danger of missing out on it. With Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas, there is so much out there that is touted as “essential”, “must-have”, “must-do”, and you can begin to feel overwhelmed about what it takes to make the “perfect” Christmas. I try be sensible about what I can manage – I won’t be rushing out to buy stacks of felt for creating Kirstie’s hand-stitched tree decorations – but with the recent arrival of the Christmas Eve boxes idea, Elf of the Shelf (I absolutely REFUSE to do this), letters from Santa, reindeer food, and all sorts of other things, there is definitely more being flung into our faces about what you must do to create Christmas properly.
I do love it – the planning, the shopping, the presents – and I wouldn’t do it any differently. Putting effort in for those you love is one of the most rewarding things you can do – most of the time, although children can be ungrateful so-and-sos at times – and there’s no better season than this. But in return, I want those boxes down as early as I dare, just so that I can enjoy those twinkling lights on the tree for as long as possible. It’s our rare chance, as adults, to get a slice of that same magic we are weaving for our children.
Do follow IDreamofChristmas for some festive loveliness, and I’ll be putting sprinkling some Christmas tingles into my own Insta account (rlcwords) over the next few weeks too, using the Michael Buble method I described last week. Merry Christmas, and start decking those halls as soon as you want to 🙂