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December is here. Fake it till you make it!

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While walking past a neighbour’s house the other day we commented how beautiful it was – golden and white lights glowed inside and out, and it looked amazing against the dusky light.  However, I couldn’t help thinking – it’s November!  Never having been one for hitting Christmas early – our decorations are only freed from the loft a mere week before the big day.  This year though, the need to decorate, the pressure to ‘make the most of it’, the desire to shed a little light into the gloom of 2020 is most definitely making its

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presence felt.  The debate as to whether to ‘go early’ or ‘go late’ is raging more than ever.  To be honest, some of us are wondering whether to go at all.

 

So, December is here – cue twinkling lights, wreaths, constant carols and an excited festive feeling.  Except, where is that feeling? – I seem to have lost my seasonal zing.  Is it just me or is the prospect of spending the next month sitting on a damp park bench with a flask of coffee while meeting a friend not quite the same as the annual drinks’ parties?  Is the

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thought of enjoying Christmas lunch while jumping up and down every twenty minutes to open all the windows and taking a quick ventilating turn around the garden also not quite hitting the spot?

 

I realise I’m sounding like an old grump – I shall snap out of it.  Christmas is a mobile feast, an evolving event at the best of times – our relationship with it changes throughout our lives.  I’m lucky, my memories of big family gatherings which made up my Christmases as a child are fantastic and as an adult, once we had our own family I

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couldn’t sleep I was so excited to see my children open the train set, the new bike or the Lego kit.  But it alters – you hit different phases and the excitement becomes tempered. Teenagers can be a bit too cool for Christmas – no rush to the advent calendar this morning – I had to remind them and then the chocolate was rejected because they’d just brushed their teeth!

 

Despite this, they are demanding we decorate – so we’re going early, well early for us.   Next debate – the tree.  For years we have been on a seasonal quest

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for a real one.  This was a true joy when the children were young, and the event would fill an entire weekend afternoon combined with a tour of the sights and sounds of the Christmas shop.  Now, if we’re accompanied at all, they stay in the car, embarrassed by the annual ritual of my husband wrestling with half a dozen needled specimens, ceremoniously posing, while I inspect each one from every angle before they’re all rejected in favour of the first one we saw on the way in.

 

We’re breaking with tradition and the artificial one is on

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order.  This is such a sea-change I am having to justify it to myself: 1) we can go early without the fear of staring at dried out twigs on Christmas Day; 2) we can decide if the eldest son’s mysterious recurring winter allergy is actually connected to the presence of a tree and 3) it will be more economical in the long run.

 

So, we will be fake not real.  I looked up the saying ‘Fake it till you make it’ – defined as “an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person

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can realize those qualities in their real life.”  The new tree will be a symbol of this slightly peculiar Christmas – not quite normal, maybe a little more artificial than usual.  But once we’ve added some baubles, lights, and a touch of sparkle it will be as real as ever.

 

 

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- 1 Dec 20

 

While walking past a neighbour’s house the other day we commented how beautiful it was – golden and white lights glowed inside and out, and it looked amazing against the dusky light.  However, I couldn’t help thinking – it’s November!  Never having been one for hitting Christmas early – our decorations are only freed from the loft a mere week before the big day.  This year though, the need to decorate, the pressure to ‘make the most of it’, the desire to shed a little light into the gloom of 2020 is most definitely making its presence felt.  The debate as to whether to ‘go early’ or ‘go late’ is raging more than ever.  To be honest, some of us are wondering whether to go at all.

 

So, December is here – cue twinkling lights, wreaths, constant carols and an excited festive feeling.  Except, where is that feeling? – I seem to have lost my seasonal zing.  Is it just me or is the prospect of spending the next month sitting on a damp park bench with a flask of coffee while meeting a friend not quite the same as the annual drinks’ parties?  Is the thought of enjoying Christmas lunch while jumping up and down every twenty minutes to open all the windows and taking a quick ventilating turn around the garden also not quite hitting the spot?

 

I realise I’m sounding like an old grump – I shall snap out of it.  Christmas is a mobile feast, an evolving event at the best of times – our relationship with it changes throughout our lives.  I’m lucky, my memories of big family gatherings which made up my Christmases as a child are fantastic and as an adult, once we had our own family I couldn’t sleep I was so excited to see my children open the train set, the new bike or the Lego kit.  But it alters – you hit different phases and the excitement becomes tempered. Teenagers can be a bit too cool for Christmas – no rush to the advent calendar this morning – I had to remind them and then the chocolate was rejected because they’d just brushed their teeth!

 

Despite this, they are demanding we decorate – so we’re going early, well early for us.   Next debate – the tree.  For years we have been on a seasonal quest for a real one.  This was a true joy when the children were young, and the event would fill an entire weekend afternoon combined with a tour of the sights and sounds of the Christmas shop.  Now, if we’re accompanied at all, they stay in the car, embarrassed by the annual ritual of my husband wrestling with half a dozen needled specimens, ceremoniously posing, while I inspect each one from every angle before they’re all rejected in favour of the first one we saw on the way in.

 

We’re breaking with tradition and the artificial one is on order.  This is such a sea-change I am having to justify it to myself: 1) we can go early without the fear of staring at dried out twigs on Christmas Day; 2) we can decide if the eldest son’s mysterious recurring winter allergy is actually connected to the presence of a tree and 3) it will be more economical in the long run.

 

So, we will be fake not real.  I looked up the saying ‘Fake it till you make it’ – defined as “an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life.”  The new tree will be a symbol of this slightly peculiar Christmas – not quite normal, maybe a little more artificial than usual.  But once we’ve added some baubles, lights, and a touch of sparkle it will be as real as ever.

 

 

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Suzy, a teacher and writer, lives near the coast in Hampshire with her husband, three children and Lola the schnoodle.

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