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familyThis Christmas is very different. This year we had our family celebration on the pagan solstice, Yule.  Most of the money I usually spend on buying people crap they don’t need has been much better spent on the traveling costs to visit my family and sitting down to a meal together, when presents were exchanged.  I got to spend a lovely day with all those people who are the most important to me, which is kind of what it is all supposed to be about.

It is the first time in 28 years I have not had a chat on the phone to my Dad, or spoken to my brother, both of whom passed away this year.  I also do not have all my children around me; they are all grown up and are off doing their own thing ie, what they actually want to do, rather than travel 120 miles to have to sleep on my floor!  It feels weird and a little sad, like the end of an era.  On the plus side my eldest daughter seems to be having a great fun spending the day with her friend and her family, with young kids and a full on festive occasions.  My son is probably still in bed as opposed to getting bullied to get up at 10am, and my youngest daughter – who spent most of the night chatting on skype to her friend in the USA – is snoring and it’s past midday!  To be honest, I haven’t been up long myself and I am still in my PJs!  The presents sit unopened under the tree. It’s all very peaceful and relaxed as opposed to the usual scenario:  3 extra adults are crammed into a house that is way too small having had a really bad nights sleep on camp beds or futons; preceded by a days traveling in trains rammed full of other disgruntled adult children off to do the same thing.

Another change is that we all agreed there had to be a limit to the amount we spend on buying people useless gifts.  I found I was a lot more considerate about buying something I knew the person would like/use and it was strictly limited to family.  I actually have some cash in my pocket this morning! This has never happened – not for as long as I can remember.  I hope people like what I have chosen.  However, in the main I find that people are much more joyful when they receive a spontaneous and unexpected gift rather than one that is given out of duty on a prescribed day of the year.  I certainly get a lot of joy out of giving these type of gifts too.  Food for thought.
Have a wonderful day whatever you are doing,however you celebrate and even if you don’t.  Onwards to 2014!