Christmas Cheer vs Christmas Fear
At Christmas it’s the time honoured tradition that rings true for so many singletons this year I traversed the land in order to “visit” my parents in the Isle of Ireland.
We are a simple family really that usually buys no gifts for each other and barely manage to get the tree up by Christmas Eve to put anything under it ( although my Dad spoiled the surprise this year and told me he got me a new teacup and saucer with cats on it – mere testament that my parents are resigned to the fact their “near 30 year old” daughter might be hanging around for the next few Christmas’s and might like cats – GREAT! ).
We would rather sit and chat while the wind howls outside and rain beats down in epic proportions than watch mind numbing TV. It’s been a while since we had a white Christmas but I wish and hope and press my nose against the window in vain anticipation of those little white flakes just in case this year is the year.
My household in Northern Ireland holds my penny-pinching mother and my wondrously frivolous father. And in the NSK festive house I have made the open fire today. As you can see from the picture Mother is drying citrus skins which makes wondrous fire lighters and snap, crackle and pop their hearts out (..we are proper skin flints!). However there was that one incident whereby my mother threw more than a “couple” on the open fire and risked etching herself a new hair line. We don’t talk about that any more though!
At the heart of the lessons taught among many uses for citrus peels, they have brought my brother and myself up to realise that….“one cannot live on credit cards and overdrafts alone!”
Hence Christmas is a quiet affair, bringing us together for that one time of year where our little family can catch up and contemplate the gifts we didn’t buy each other as we stopped gift giving when I was about 15 years old.
I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed now and then when my mother and father wouldn’t know what to buy me or just plain couldn’t .
Perhaps what they did give me, which was the knowledge of good and evil financial doings, is a much better gift that many folks have lived without. And are now suffering for???
Fantastic one liner for a gobby 15 year old!
So nothing fills me with more dread when I see folks running like lunatics to and fro stacking their cupboards ready for the familial invasion that only this season can attest to. Contemplating pay-day loans and credit card debts to buy presents and a small fortune on a mammoth turkey can’t truly make a person happy really! (May I just add that my wondrous 86 year old Granny who has no money-saving inclinations whatsoever has purchased an organic 18lb turkey that only cost £28. Ho ho ho!)
However terrifying the prospect of challenging other women in the aisles of mayhem I managed to drag my carcass out of bed early and accompany / protect Mother on a trip to Lidls today for bargains! 10 bottles of non-alcoholic Shloer later for our tee-total Irish family ( yes you heard it hear first ) and I had had enough. There were rumours that last year the fire brigade were used to filter people in and out of Asda because it got so bad. People were actually taking things out of other peoples trolleys!
It astounds me dear reader how much people spend on their Christmassy endeavours. I on the other hand see it as a wind down to the year just gone and the desire to start the following 365 days on a better note. I always ensure no credit cards and no overdraft exist when I enter the following year. Good eh? Shame I manage to rack it up throughout the year leaving me with a tradition that I can’t break and a slight shaky panic all wrapped up ready for New Year’s Eve!
Now having watched Home Alone many times as a child I used to wish for a Christmas like they had on that movie..
- With lights bright enough to blind passing pedestrians..
- Masses of gifts all mainly for ME
- Home-Made cakes, bread, buns, scone and pies….
- Home-made decorations ( stringed popcorn and paper chains anyone?)
- Oranges with cloves shoved in them that you forget about until February,
- Mistletoe with a man under it not Granny..
- and Candy canes..that match my Christmas elf socks?
However it is something that is still attainable for me – once I clear my debts by the end of the year, start another challenge to get my own house / shed / tent and possibly extend my family beyond my cat. But what I will NEVER do is get into debt over Christmas. Now dear reader – how much have you spent on Christmas this year?
So instead of the excitement of a Christmas Home Alone in my house, we have the following…
- A very large turkey for a supposed “vegetarian” household.
- A mangy second hand Christmas tree with 10 year old decorations.
- A smelly Labrador with fluffy reindeer antlers on his head..(he loves it really!)
- Balloons that we inadvertently on purpose throw at Granny for cheap entertainment.
- Rain and lots of it…
- Delightfully colourful “discussions” over what to watch as we only have one TV..
- ..and FINALLY… a few days in the field which got me into debt in the first place in order to “test” Daddy’s new spade. TREATS!!!