Chin Up, It’s Advent.

christmas 2007

Am I the only one who goes into a Christmas meltdown?

I’ve been reading blogs for the last couple of weeks, full of delightful Christmas spirit, loaded with ideas for creating your own gifts, some truly gorgeous imagery, lovely thoughts about what Christmas is all about, bringing love and light into the cold (sorry, you southern hemisphere readers, bear with me) world, etc, etc – you know what I’m talking about.

So, I just wondered, is there anyone out there, whose reaction to the start of Advent, isn’t ‘yippee, it’s nearly Christmas!’, but more like ‘Oh hell, how on earth am I going to get through the next three or four weeks without a) excessive recourse to the gin bottle, b) attempting to murder someone, or c) doing a fairly credible impression of Alice’s White Rabbit.

I used to really love Christmas, and especially the run up to it, but looking back, I think that was probably made easier because I wasn’t the person putting all the important little pieces in place to make it happen. Now that I seem to have been dealt the entire production, I have to be honest and say that I’m overwhelmed.

The pressure to create the perfect family Christmas; styling the house so that it wouldn’t disgrace an over-the-top Dickensian extravaganza, shopping for, preparing and being ready to cook and serve around five days worth of non-standard, celebration feasting, sourcing, paying for and wrapping ‘the perfect gift’ for roughly twenty (at the last count) assorted nieces, nephews, babysitters, Godchildren, and violin teachers, before we get down to the task of finding ‘the perfect gift’ for my own two children, who, despite being sweeties and understanding a lot about ‘making ends meet’, still need a few odds and ends to open ‘on the day’ – is really getting to me – BIG TIME!

And yet, here I am, carrying on as normal (I wish).

Not for the first time, have I been tempted to forget the whole thing and refuse to do any preparations unless I get some help, but I know I can’t. I actually want to make it a special family time – it’s just that at the moment, I feel like the proverbial bunny, caught in the headlights and waiting to be mown down by the enormous weight of Christmas on the roll.

Anyway, this morning, I read a blog that mentioned doing a daily Advent post. And although the blogger I was reading, I think had in mind snippets of festive good cheer and progress reports, I was suddenly seized with the idea that I might attempt an Advent Blog series myself, with the intention of having a place to let off steam, write out my worries and hopefully thereby avoid repeating the unedifying spectacle (witnessed by a very few) of last year’s New Year’s Eve breakdown. (Think pressure cooker lid blowing off, with contents, probably involving carrots and a lot of tomatoes, liberally spraying themselves across every surface in a three mile radius).

Archbishop of York John Sentamu

(Incidentally, John Sentamu, my all-time favourite Anglican Archbishop, is doing a proper online Advent Calendar, click here if you’re interested).

And so, you have been warned. This space may not be the best place to hang out for a few weeks if you’re of a nervous disposition. I can’t promise that I’ll post every day, and I can’t be held responsible if I inadvertently take the shine off your own festive spirit.

But if I make it to January without having to call in industrial cleaners  to mop up the carnage, I’ll have done well enough for me.

Hey ho, only 23 more days to go.


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