Sunday, 2 November 2008


Yes, I know it's rather early to be considering Christmas, although you wouldn't think so from the shops but, if I've got my act together, the October half term is the time I start to get the ball rolling. I look through cookery books and make jars of mincemeat and maybe even the cake. This year I'm going to have to maybe go a step or two further as we've decided to Do December Differently.

I love Christmas and have happy memories of celebrations as a child in India, as a student in Edinburgh and France, as a young adult in London and as a parent in Bristol. What made these occasions special was marking the birth of Christ with the community in which I lived. Sure, there were carols and lights and trees and pudding and champagne and presents, but at the heart of it were friends and family and a new life.

Recently I have become overwhelmed by the growing commercialisation of Christmas, and the pressure to organise the 'perfect' celebration has threatened to ruin the whole event. So when I came across Doing December Differently - an alternative Christmas handbook by Nicola Slee and Rosie Miles I ordered myself a copy. It promised an exploration of how to celebrate Christmas with 'integrity and simplicity' and a solution to the 'intolerable strain' and the 'false and oppressive myths of the ideal family life'. I have read the book and passed it on, having made a note of some of the suggestions it makes. I hope this Christmas will be another one I will look back on with happiness.


  1. Hi Gai - I love Christmas too but dislike the commercial side of it more and more. Love to have family and friends around - and have been trying to keep the present bit simpler, certainly for the adults. Like the sound of the book - will look out for it.

    A x

  2. Sounds like a good book. Do you find it difficult to suggest toning things down without sounding like a humbug or a cheapskate?
    I do!

  3. Hi Strawberry Jam Anne. Surrounding yourself with friends/family is great - expecially when there's food and drink to share. We're inviting guests to Advent Tea on the four Sundays of Advent. We'll light candles, read a story/poem and have afternoon tea together. There are four of us so we each get to chose our own guest list. I'm looking forward to it aready.

    My husband and I have agreed not to buy each other anything other than stocking presents this year. I'll buy presents for my daughters but I'm hoping to make all my other presents. They'll be edible, but I won't say any more in case any of them are reading this!

    Welcome Yaya. Lovely to hear from someone in Auld Reekie. I do miss it.

    You're so right about being labelled the party pooper but I know I'm going to have a good time and that's what matters. Besides I do think attitudes are changing and the recession will force people to tighten their belts this year.

    I popped over and had a look at your blog. There are a number of posts that caught my eye. I will return!