I cannot believe that I am writing this in October, but I am feeling overwhelmed by Christmas already.
Is it just me?
I don’t know if I am noticing it more this year because Jessica is a bit older, or if there is genuinely more this year. Our own plans and lists of to-do are simpler than they have ever been.
But on face book and by email, I am overwhelmed with adverts and posts and friends tagging me in events for children. It isn’t just visits to Father Christmas, but breakfast with him, Christmas concerts, Christmas sessions of toddler classes, Christmas theme events at the zoo, at the country parks…
In several wooden toys pages I am a member of, people are showing their ‘stashes’ of several hundreds of pounds worth of gifts for their children. Wooden nativity sets are selling out as soon as they are being put on websites. Levers thing feels just too, too much.
We are planning a lovely, simple, pared back Christmas, a slow Christmas, handcrafted with love. I feel it is right for us and our family, and know that giving Jessica time and space to take it all in is better for her than rushing her from one activity to the next to the next.
And yet….there is a tiny voice in my brain which whispers yes, but is she missing out?
And so, may I present my cures for festive overwhelm? Firstly a pot of tea. And most definitely not gingerbread tea, and there shall be no festive mug in sight. Not because I am a humbug, but because it is October. Then play Sufjan Stevens rendition of Joy To The World. I find it soothing, and it reminds me of what Christmas is about. Buy the Country Living Magazine Christmas Edition. It speaks to me so deeply, the simple beautiful images, the decorating with greenery, the handmade cards, the handcrafted gifts. And just now, I am off to the bath with The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. His writing is so descriptive and evocative, and his style is so simple that it is the perfect antidote to the noise and busyness out there.
I am going to soak these up, and remind myself, simple, simple, simple. Our cards will be hand painted, our gifts will be hand made. Jessica and I will bake biscuits together, and make paper chains together. We won’t rush, we won’t hurry. In time, there will be a tree. There will be candles on the breakfast table, and walks in the frosty air.
I can understand people starting now, so they can spread the cost, so they can get organised, and so they can enjoy December stress free. I have knitting on the needles and crochet on the hook destined for Christmas gifts myself. But I need to turn away from all the frantic energy I am already seeing out there.
Something else I will be turning to is Making Winter by Emma Mitchell of the Silver Pebble blog. Lots of cosy projects for the winter evenings, and some truly delicious sounding baking recipes.
Tonight I will be baking an Apple and Parmesan cake for a competition for Apple Day tomorrow. Because after all, it is still autumn, and I want to get back to absorbing the essence of my favourite season.
Talking of seasons…yet another has passed. Jessica had her last immunisations today until she is twelve. I told her before that it would hurt, but only for a minute, and promised her chocolate buttons afterwards. I snuggled her on my lap, but oh, how she cried. She cheered up relatively quickly, but it still tears at my heart. It is such a privilege being the lap she wants to snuggle on, the arms she wants around her. And now, this season has passed…until she is twelve.