Something strange is happening… The other day I went to the shops, and walked out singing Cliff Richard’s Saviour’s Day. Asda seems to have ordered a lifetime supply of mince pies. A very patient man called John Lewis has become famous for replying to tweets about his new TV ad, politely suggesting that perhaps people meant to tweet @johnlewisretail instead. And I just ordered a 2014 calendar (shameless plug alert – my friend sells them in her Etsy store, among many other lovely cards and gifts).
This can mean only one thing. It’s Chriiiiistmaaaaaas!!
Except it isn’t, because it’s not even the middle of November yet. But this year I’ve decided, instead of being grumpy about it, to embrace the holiday spirit and everything that comes with it. So to that end, here are ten things I love about Christmas.
1. Obviously, nobody really likes Christmas shopping, unless you do it all online; in that case I imagine it’s quite relaxing. I live very close to a big shopping centre, which means that every year at about this time, the roads around my house turn into one big traffic jam, and not only shoppers but also us innocent residents get caught up in the chaos. But, on the plus side, I live close enough to walk to the shops, which means I get to wave cheerily at frustrated motorists as I pass them with my shopping bags. And that’s always fun.
2. Christmas means Love Actually will be on TV. And that means a) we get to watch Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street, b) we wonder why Colin Firth is proposing to someone in Portuguese even though he’s in France and c) we hate Keira Knightley just a little bit for breaking poor Andrew Lincoln’s heart. In fact there are so many reasons why I love curling up on the sofa to watch Love Actually that I can’t list them all here. Let’s just say that Christmas isn’t Christmas without it.
3. All the big stores launch their Christmas ads. This is on my list not because I particularly love watching TV ads, but because it’s fun to watch the stores competing with each other to produce the most sensational advert. And it’s all pointless anyway because most people know which stores they like to shop at, and watching a possessed snowman buying a scarf for his girlfriend is probably not going to make much difference.
4. I don’t have to go to work. Think this one speaks for itself really.
5. Having a sing song. Who doesn’t love a good Christmas carol? Or the old classics like Band Aid and Fairytale of New York. Much as I might grumble when the shops start playing Christmas songs, I usually can’t help but join in (even if it is Cliff Richard). And carols by candlelight are always lovely, unless it’s at my old church where I used to spend the entire time with one wary eye on the swaying candle holder above me, waiting for it to fall and set the place on fire. (It didn’t, but I think more by luck than anything.)
6. Family time. I always go home to my mum and dad’s for Christmas, and although they only live half an hour away, so I see them lots during the year, there’s still something special about going home for the holidays. For two days, we don’t have to think about work, or being a grown up, and we can just spend the time together, eating, drinking and playing silly games. And then Mum sends me and my sisters home with goodie bags full of leftover food, which keeps us going until New Year (when we do more eating, drinking and playing silly games).
7. Christmas smells amazing. Mulled wine and mince pie, anyone?
8. Nativity plays are so much fun. It’s easy to forget, while we’re shopping and eating and watching Love Actually, what Christmas is really all about. And what better way to be reminded of the Christmas story than watching some cute kids act it out? I’ve been in a few nativities in my time; I was King Herod once and was so fierce that I scared the local vicar. Or at least that’s what he said. He may not have been telling the truth… And – fun fact – when I was at primary school, we made the local news because we did our Christmas play at Easter. Exciting stuff.
9. Christmas at Downton. Even though I’m still a bit emotionally scarred from last year’s episode. So let’s focus on the year before, when the festive special ended with Matthew proposing to Mary in the snow, rather than dying horribly in a car crash and ruining everyone’s Christmas.
10. Dreaming of a white Christmas… maybe? I have a very confusing relationship with snow. The grown up in me hates it because of the chaos it causes. I can never get anywhere, and if I do, I spend all my time staring out the window wondering if I should head home. But the child in me loves it, and I spend all my time staring out the window thinking how pretty it is. So either way, I spend all my time looking out the window, not getting much done, and simultaneously complaining and squealing like a little girl. The disapproving adult always wins in the end, because eventually I have to leave the house. But I think I’d still get a little bit excited if it snowed on Christmas Day…
Merry middle of November everyone!