The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected.
In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for the stocking fillers, which we’re saying are from Santa.
Which brings us to a question we’ve not really asked ourselves before. What are we going to say about good ol’ St Nick? Do we pretend he’s real but be visibly half-serious? Do we go all in for it? Do we ignore it altogether? I’d love to know what other families, of any faith or none, do.
Certainly, whenever the subject of Christmas comes up – and it does because of all this flipping point of sale marketing everywhere – I say that Christmas is coming and that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. I tell her that we celebrate Christmas to thank God for Jesus and to remember that He will come again.
I guess that’s the other reason why Christmas feels like it’s entering our lives so early this year. I didn’t grow up with Advent at all. I think maybe it was considered a Roman Catholic and Anglican thing and we weren’t either. Yet I’ve come to really appreciate it in the years I’ve lived in England. It’s a beautiful way of preparing our hearts for Christmas. So, this year I’m making an Advent calendar and preparing little activities that point to Jesus throughout the month because, for us, Christmas is about so much more than warm feelings of togetherness.
Not that those feelings are being neglected either. I really want this to be a special time for our family and for our children to grow up with traditions that they remember, like the tree going up in early December.
So, I’ve already started one tradition I hope to commit to in years to come. Today, Talitha and I soaked the fruits for our Trini Christmas black cake. Dates, currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cherries and almonds, soaked in Angostura bitters, cherry brandy and dark rum. I felt more than a little odd popping into The Co-op for rum in the middle of the day. I felt even weirder letting my two-year-old pour all the alcohol into the fruit! We’ll let that soak for a month and hopefully let that be our November tradition.
Has Christmas started inching it’s way into your life yet or is it still very firmly ages away?