Am I the Christmas Grinch?

WITH just two more sleeps to go till Christmas I have managed to wrap the last present and place it under our very small, ornamental Christmas tree.  I thought that having adult children would mean I could do away with all the frills that one adds to Christmas for the sake of keeping the traditions of Christmas and Father Christmas alive for children and those who are young at heart and sentimental at this time of the year.

However, it seems I may have to change my thinking as my kids have done nothing but point out the severe lack of festive decor and trimmings at our home. Am I the Christmas Grinch? Am I the only one who shudders at the cost of glitzy baubles and tinsel, the cute ornaments, and the angst over whether we should have a live Christmas tree or a synthetic one? (Do you know what a mission it is to get rid of a live Christmas tree once Christmas is over, when you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden to dump it in?) It’s not just hauling out all this stuff from the top of the cupboards and putting it all out that bothers me, it’s the fact that in years gone by I’ve been suckered by commercial pressure into buying more and more Christmas stuff and have less and less space in which to store it.

When I thought my kids were grown up enough, I turfed it all out with a huge sigh of relief … till Christmas came around and I ended up buying a small ornamental tree that doesn’t take up too much space. Somewhere along the line I received a basket that had been sprayed silver and filled with blue and silver baubles which I also stored and hauled out as my tribute to Christmas decor in the home.  I even went so far as to find a string of Christmas tree fairly lights that had managed to evade my big turf out and wound them around a vertical CD rack where they flashed on and off in colourful rythmn for a Christmas or two. Sadly, none of my efforts have done anything to endear me to my children who it seems, despite their respective 23 and 25 years, still want the whole shebang. From the gaudy Chinese foil lanterns and snowflakes that hang suspended from the ceiling, to the Christmas wreath for the door, the fake snow on the windows (they’re never around when it comes to cleaning that sh*t off) to the tinsel, the angels and the star on the top of the tree!

I won’t even disclose their comments and horror when I suggested I’d give them money to go buy their own Christmas presents! I figured they’d rather get something they really want than a box of this or a bottle of that, which will probably sit in their cupboards in the hopes of making it onto my regifting programme (but that’s a whole different column!)  Suffice to say, I braved the shopping masses – thank goodness for late night shopping – and did the deed myself, but I did leave all the tags on and have the receipts safely tucked away because I just know they’ll be returning them for something they REALLY want! (And I’ll be able to say … I told you so!)

Next year, I promise them, next year we’ll do it in style while I secretly hope they’ll be too busy with their own lives to pay too much attention to the lack of Christmas spirit going on in mine.

For those of you celebrating Christmas in traditional style, or those who have planned a low key Christmas like me, let me take this opportunity to wish you all good times, good health, love and joy at this time. Be safe, be merry and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Wanda Daly

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