I know, it’s not Christmas yet. It’s still November, for goodness’ sake – yet no sooner is Halloween over, than the shops, the TV and social media are all extremely keen to persuade us that it is, in fact, time to start getting organised; and I’m not wholly against it. That’s why I instituted Christmas Weekend in our house, and it’s happening tomorrow.
Part of the problem – and apologies to everyone who has a birthday around now – is that I find November such a miserable month. Apart from the odd, nice frosty morning, it’s basically 30 days of ever-darkening evenings, ever more freezing nights, and ever more-naked trees. Its chief purpose seems to be to remind us that summer is gone, and it’s not coming back for ages. And it’s also full of miserable people saying it’s “too early for Christmas”. (So what would you rather be doing – revelling in the mud and rain?)
So a few years back, I decided to bring in an antidote to this glumness and general waiting around for advent, with Christmas Weekend. On this joyous couple of days, we make our first foray into the loft for Christmas items – all in a carefully curated Christmas Weekend bag, packed by me at the back end of last season. This is what it contains, and why:
- Wooden advent calendar, to be unpacked and a suitable spot found for its four-week residence;
- Leftover blank Christmas cards from last year, so I can see if I have any more to buy before getting on with writing them;
- Wrapping paper, for the same reason;
- Christmas jumpers, to test for sizing and managing the appropriate hand-me-down process;
- Last year’s Christmas cards, for cutting up into gift labels. This is a brilliant recycling practice I inherited from my Mum about 40 years ago, and it’s one of my favourite parts of pre-Christmas prep!
- And possibly one or two things that got left down after the clear-up, and I just swept them into the nearest bag on some springtime loft sortie – wind-up reindeer, Santa tea towels, one or two Christmas activity and picture books; that sort of thing.
I’m very pleased with Christmas weekend. Firstly, it allows me to prep some of those Christmas tasks that you don’t want to leave until the week before – cards, gift wrapping and labelling, clothing, advent calendar. Secondly, it lifts some of that boring waiting around for the Christmas fun to start (and stops the boys from nagging me about the loft and decorations, for this week anyway). And thirdly – most importantly for me – it lets me enjoy it all a bit more. The month of December accelerates so fast, and sometimes in such a blur of stress and jobs that must be done, that it’s nice to begin things in a slower way.
So It’s Chriiiist-maaaaas (Weekend)…try and read that without thinking of Noddy Holder’s voice.