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Wait! There's myrrh?!
Where Emma mentions the C-word
Wow! I am overwhelmed with the response to last week’s ramble. Thank you.
Don’t mention the C-word*. I mean it!
Christmas...oh shit! Here we go.
I’m not really some Christmas-hating-Grinch. But over the years I have become less enamoured with the hustle and bustle. The excess feels obscene in contrast to how I try to simplify my living.
The decline began when I looked in the mirror one December morning and a wild eyed-sleep deprived-stress ravaged creature stared back. The bowel emptying pressure of struggling to fill the children’s stockings or stock the fridge with fripperies that usually go to waste. Rationalising the gift-giving/partying/gluttony against January’s heating bill.
But above all these, it was the slapped on plastic rictus smile of social duty that made me bilious. With each ‘Gosh, isn’t this fuuunnnn’ insincerity my soul withered a little more. I started to believe my disgust would leak out and I’d be called up to justify why I was such a bad person for hating the jolly season.
Dread became the leitmotif of Christmas. Jingle-oh-god-please-fucking-no-bells. Even that smug little donkey was on a slippery slope to the glue factory.
And yet, I used to love Christmas. I grew up in the country and we celebrated in what was considered an old fashioned way, now it would be all hipster-vintage vibes. Christmas was all about bringing nature into the home. Kissing bunches woven from hedge-gathered holly, ivy, rosemary and winter jasmine. Oranges studded with fragrant cloves hung on gilded ribbons. The crackle of the yule log, the fire bedded down with rich incense of peat. Gifts were modest and food savoured. Sweet, silky hot chocolate devoured after glittering walks in the frosted landscape. A simple carol on Christmas Eve under the tree and then tucked into crisp linen bed sheets, anticipation of the magic to come.
Somewhere this magic, this contemplative gentle winter celebration became brash and competitive. I’m not a Christian but I rail against the commercialised hijacking of this spiritual time.
The impact of declined mental health (and worries about the bills) is, of course, a cantankerous Mr P. Coupled with the cold and less sunlight it all goes into overdrive at this time of year.
We have decided to go minimalist. No! Not all white furniture and cleanliness…I have two teens and a border collie who produces so much hair we could insulate Britain. But pair down to important things which gives us rest, joy and love. Spending time as a family out in nature, play together, make good food and celebrate the dark months. Less is more.
Although, I am wondering if it is too early to break out the mulled wine?
P.S. You can always reply to this email with your thoughts, I take a few days to get back to you but I do generally get there!