With the schools closed because of the pension strikes yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage and go Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, it seemed that lots of other people had the same idea. Add to this all the kids that would otherwise have been sitting in lessons and what you have is a crowded town centre barely navigable by one woman and her rather wide buggy.
I persevered with the shopping but with every successful purchase that ladened me down, the job became harder.
When I eventually gave up and came home, my mood had not been tarnished. I had managed to buy some gifts I was really pleased with and felt that I had a clear idea of what still needed to be done - and the majority of that could be accomplished with the miracle of online shopping.
I am feeling very positive about Christmas shopping this year. I have pared down what I need to buy to the barest minimum. This is not because of any financial restrictions - I simply refuse to succumb to the insanity that infects so many people this time of year. There really is no need to go crazy and spend a fortune panic buying things for the sake of it - because it's Christmas!!
Christmas, for me, is about family and friends and making the house warm and cosy and spending time with the kids and seasonal cooking and celebrating and snuggling up to watch heartwarming movies and singing Xmas songs. Of course there is a place for the giving of gifts but I am a firm believer that buying gifts should bring just as much (if not more) pleasure as receiving. I am really getting it right this year. I feel relaxed and happy and full to overflowing with the best kind of warm, fuzzy, it's Xmas feeling.
There is plenty of time for it all to go horribly wrong - an eleventh hour panic that my children will be disappointed with what I've bought them - a horrible realisation after the shops close on Xmas eve that I've forgotten to buy peanuts and how can we possibly have Xmas without peanuts!!!
Last year, we had a Toyologist Christmas thanks to me being the lucky winner of a Toys R Us competition. We had a mountain of toys beneath our Christmas tree which did look amazing and we had a lot of fun opening them and later writing our reviews. This was definitely a one off. I don't even want to think about what my house (and my bank balance) would look like if this were the expectation year after year.
A blog I enjoy reading is Zen Habits. The author, Leo Babauta, wrote a post called "The No New Gifts Holiday Challenge" which, as the title suggests, challenges us to buy no new gifts during the holiday season. I don't think I can ever see myself going to such extreme measures but his alternative ideas make a lot of sense and are based on making, creating, sharing and donating rather than the more typical consumerism that is the norm for December.
I am finding the balance that is right for me, my values and my family and it feels good. I am fully charged with Christmas spirit and loving every minute.