This week I have realised with horror that all my Christmas sparkle has totally disappeared. I have no idea what to buy my children, I have nothing I want, there is nothing we need (except more time and money and you can’t buy either of those!) and Christmas is sneaking up so fast that I can’t even begin to imagine what I’m going to do to either find the sparkle or find the time, money or energy to magic the perfect Christmas either.
This rather mournful thought has been bothering me hugely over the last few days. It’s not that Christmas is all about the giving, by any means because it most certainly isn’t. None of my children can tell me a single thing they ‘need’ or even ‘want’ this year apart from Maddy who desperately wants a new guitar of the other variety to the one she already has. (See, I’m not doing well. It’s either Spanish or Classical. I better ask). But it is about the feel of the day, the magic and the joy – it’s about getting hyped up about the idea of a day together and a sense of specialness and having no desire to do anything except enjoy the company of family at the end of a long and busy few months. And a little tingle of excitement and anticipation is all to the good. Apart from anything else, however jaded and wistful it makes me and however much my big girls no longer need a heap of presents and surprises, I still have a 10 year old and a not quite 3 year old – and they do have the right to the same memories as I made for the big girls.
It was while I was thinking about these doleful facts that a couple of products arrived that reminded me of what was always so nice about Christmas when the girls were little and what I miss most.
The filling the house with Christmas.
The together time.
The little rituals.
The knowing that hunker down family time is coming.
The dim lights and the tastes treats and spice and sweeties.
It’s all of these things that our current frantic, overwhelmed life is threatening. Not the present pile not even the day. It’s the creation of an event that we relish. I know the day will be fine. I know we won’t fight or squawk and there won’t be spoilt brat grumps that this year we really can’t afford many gifts. I know we’ll eat our normal understated lunch and the early morning tumble will be daft stocking presents and giggling and a quiet weep from me somewhere in the middle.
It’s the build up I miss and while I’m not religious at all, I suddenly remembered that what starts our Christmas each year is the fabric pocket advent calender and the daily sweetie for each child in it. I suddenly saw that what I need this year is to make some magic about the season so that this Christmas, which will be one of Fran’s last ones at home as a child and the first where most gifts will be things they need not fun surprises, will be memorable and treasured.
The two gorgeous candle advent calendars we were sent by Yankee Candle made me think about all of this and start to make some plans. 24 doors, all opening to reveal a beautifully scented candle to burn on the day seems the perfect thing for me to get into the Christmas spirit; a lovely ritual, some sensory smells to make me feel the love and no calories either! Perfect. Each one has a range of smells from cookie, to cinnamon to sugar and cranberry and Christmas garland and the house finishes off with a votive candle on Christmas Eve. The design of both boxes is divine and the house made me think in particular of a house my mummy made me when I was little, with a gift on a string for each of us.
Times are difficult right now. We barely make it to family meals together, we rarely sit down and talk, we scurry about servicing the needs of 5 kids and a business and the joy has been rather sucked out of everything. I keep looking at my blog and wishing I was blogging more but the truth is I can’t find words for something that isn’t happening. I’m not writing creatively because most of what I do now is private or safeguarded or simply deeply dull.
And I miss it. I do.
So I’m setting myself a challenge, on the back of 2 boxes of candles that reminded me so much that I love being with my kids and making and doing and laughing with them. I’m going to finds some ways to make December special, like it used to be when the girls were little and we stopped home ed ‘work on November 30th and spent the run up to the big day doing ‘fun stuff’. Last year I watched blogger friends enviously as they made those days happen. I want smells and fun and mess and giggling and silly half arty, well meant crafts decorating the house.
This year I don’t want my Christmas run up to be all on Pinterest. I’m going to find the joy, starting with coming up with something precious and memorable to run through advent that my girls will love. If you’ve written any posts of things you’ve done, please leave me a link below.
And make me do it. I’m all lost and needing encouragement.