It being TBT today, I thought I’d repost a seasonal article I wrote in 2015, for newer readers—old hands just avert your eyes. I remember I had lots of fun making all the drawings for this post. Here goes:
Christmas can be a tiring and frustrating time. We expect too much, we want everything to be perfect. Some run themselves into the ground, feeling it’s their job to provide that perfection for family and friends. Some expect to be surrounded by luxury and glamour, to be enchanted and entertained. Some just get depressed.
The image of the beautiful family, dressed to kill, with brushed hair and dazzling smiles in front of a tree dotted with tasteful baubles, or sitting around a table laden with a delicious feast is hardly likely to materialize. The gingerbread house will refuse to stay up, and will have to be propped up with cans of tuna. The kids will squabble over their gifts and make faces at the camera, having refused to wear the velvet ruffled garments bought for the occasion. The turkey will be overcooked, and uncle John will get drunk and insult his mother-in-law. Nobody will get the gifts they’d hoped for, and the glamorous party will turn out to be totally devoid of hot babes/dudes. And then the bills will start coming in. (Just an imaginary scenario!)
Perhaps the solution is to aim for less materialistic pleasures. Trying to think what those could be, I came up with the following, somewhat fanciful, list: of tips for the days to come.
On the first day of Christmas – Do something for yourself. A little treat: have a massage, go for a ride or a walk in the park. Take an hour off work for coffee with a friend.
On the second day of Christmas – Spend some quality one-on-one time with someone special: spouse, lover, sibling, offspring, grandchild, friend. Or even your dog.
On the third day of Christmas – Resolve to think three positive thoughts per day, every day. Or, to note three good things that happened. Or, to find three things to be thankful for.
On the fourth day of Christmas – Get four old friends together for a pizza and cards evening. Laughs guaranteed.
On the fifth day of Christmas – For the last full working week before Christmas, be cheerful at work. Smile and people will smile in return. Five days – it should be possible.
On the sixth day of Christmas – Find six good books to read. Browse in a bookshop, or go through the pile on the bedside table. Books take you away from your problems – they’re a door into another world.
On the seventh day of Christmas – Resolve to spend ten minutes each Sunday making a menu for the week. The cooking and shopping will become so much easier.
On the eighth day of Christmas – Make a list of eight fun things to do in the coming months. Book a show, visit places you haven’t seen, explore the neighbourhood. Almost as good as a vacation (but one of them could be a weekend break).
On the ninth day of Christmas – Bake or buy cupcakes or cookies and distribute them. Food makes people happy.
On the tenth day of Christmas – Get ten people together and have a party. Don’t spend a fortune, or ages cooking – everyone can bring something.
On the eleventh day of Christmas – De-clutter. Find 11 things to donate, recycle or bin. You’ll feel so much lighter.
On the twelfth day of Christmas – Call twelve people and ask how they are. Listen to what they have to say. Not your buddies to whom you talk every day: the old friend you haven’t seen for a while, the elderly aunt who bores you, the acquaintance you heard has not been well. It will make everyone feel better.
I hope this list has amused you, if nothing else. Do I hear hollow laughs? Any other suggestions?