I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas
December Song – George Michael
This year I’ve been musing on where festive feelings stem from and trying to pinpoint exactly when they arrive. There is, I feel, a sort of pressure associated with festivities; should we be waking up on December 1st with dizzy excitement for a jam-packed month of activities, thoughtfully curated to bring about merriment? We could, but that can leave me running low on festive-juice.
I’m caught in waves of Christmas cheer, whereby I feel like listening to Walking In The Air by mid November, but my tree hasn’t been fully decorated come December 18th. What’s plain is that the joy of the season comes at its own pace, often at unexpected moments like an idle Thursday evening where you find that actually you’ve got nothing to be doing so you may as well sit in the armchair and write out cards; or when that one song plays on the radio for the first time – you could be waiting until mid December to hear Brenda Lee, Darlene Love or Greg Lake play but when you do you’ll know it’s Christmas.
With this languid approach to feeling festive, I’ve been trying to cultivate a balance this year between planned activities and down-time, between long-loved tradition and endeavours to create new ones. I had very grand plans of cooking new festive treats every day but I’ve only got as far as sneaking sprouts into just about any recipe I can. For all the dishes I could have made though, I know that it felt like Christmas at 11pm on a weekend in the first week of December when I made homemade mince pies and ate them as a midnight snack. I watched Elf for the first time this year but I wasn’t in the movie mood until this Saturday when I watched Christmas With The Kranks – I think, my all time favorite and a real hidden comedy gem.
So what am I saying? If you’re feeling a tad Cindy-Lou-Who about Christmas this year then let it find you; free up some time to have nothing better to do than flick through the channels and find the Holiday playing or pick up a new recipe book and commit to just one special delight that you can enjoy around the table or in front of the fire.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but this is the time of year for slow cooking, easy listening and tranquil merriment.
All-Time Big 3
Songs: I Believe in Father Christmas / Christmas, Baby Please Come Home / Last Christmas
Movie: Christmas With The Kranks / The Snowman / Calendar Girls
Treats: Hot chocolate after work / mince pies at midnight / smoked salmon for Christmas Day breakfast
This Year’s Discoveries
Books: Nigel Slater, Christmas Chronicles / P.D. James, The Mistletoe Murder – short mysteries that are good for nights in the armchair / Tanya Burr, Tanya’s Christmas.
Treats: Creating a ‘Christmas Box’ of goodies to stock throughout December – this one I adopted from Tanya’s Christmas and has been a welcome new tradition Jolabokaflod or ‘Christmas Book Flood’ – an Icelandic tradition of gifting books on Christmas Eve and then reading them together.
Thank you for your readership this year and here’s wishing you your own kind of Merry Christmas , which may very well just be watching TV all day.