We're coming into the danger zone, a time when we all have to watch what we do, stop listening to the incessant Christmas advertising about buying the biggest and the best, and commit, again, to living true to our values. Of all the times of the year for falling off our frugal wagons, this is the worst. Those Christmas advertisements portray loving families, happy children and attentive parents but they're using those images to pull the money right out of your pocket; and they have no shame, they know it works. Christmas has stopped being about religion or family for many people and has become a free for all, with a lot of showing off afterwards. I think it stinks.
Last year's Christmas cake.
Christmas is about family for me and this year we'll have two Christmasses. We'll have a family lunch on Christmas day with Kerry, Sunny, Jamie, Jens, Cathy and her mother Kathleen, then visit Shane, Sarndra and Alex a few days after to enjoy it all over again. Now we have grandchildren the fun has come back to Christmas because we see it all through their eyes. We don't go to church, we gather together and enjoy each others' company. We always have a family lunch, usually with the foods we all love and have grown up with - ham, chicken, roast pork, potato salad, garden salad and home preserves. Along with the beer and wine we'll also have homemade cordial. Dessert will be a tropical fruit pavlova and there is always Christmas cake, heavy with fruit and nuts. I'm hoping to make that in the next day or two; I've had the fruit soaking in brandy for three weeks.
The day after Christmas we have another tradition to enjoy - the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; we watch it on TV. The test goes for five days and it's one of the highlights of the sporting year in Australia. Boxing Day is also the day the sales begin. It's many, many years since I took part in the post-Christmas sales. I always keep an eye on whether we will need towels, sheets or pillows during the coming year and if we do, I'll buy them at the Christmas sales, but I'll go sometime in January and I'm usually in and out of the shop in under an hour. I don't go looking for things to buy.
For us, Christmas is the time we celebrate our own family, we share good food, add some spectator sport, I take note of the sales but I'm not obsessed by them and our focus is on family rather than on commerce. We'll put up our tree and lights in the next week and start wrapping presents. It's a little bit early for us but I want Jamie to enjoy not just Christmas day but the season as well. He's been learning about Santa at kindy and this is the first year he's felt the excitement and wonder of it all. I think Alex will be the same and I'm looking forward to him telling me about Santa when we visit. I doubt I'll be here to see Jamie and Alex with their own children so I intend to take pleasure in every bit of the lead up to Christmas, the day itself and our Christmas visiting. What are your plans?