dear diary :: contemplating Christmas

At last things are slowing down here – I washed most of the sheets we used as tablecloths for the christening buffet and the weather, although bitterly cold, was fine enough to hang them outdoors on the line.

We had a leisurely lunch too – nothing fancy, just a ploughman’s sandwich with spelt and rye bread (not home baked but just as good) and a side salad to use up the last of the items in the fridge. Having missed the real taste of the beetroot in yesterday’s soup I just had to have some raw grated beetroot drizzled with a little french dressing.

After the last few hectic weeks we have had with all the celebrations and my daughter’s house move I am now turning my attentions to Christmas. It feels quite late not to have done anything at all but then I feel this is my opportunity to embrace this lack of time I have……and it will force me to keep things simple and not just play with the idea.

So I am thinking what do I really need to do and what can I miss out:-

  • A Christmas tree – definitely – we always have real and because we are not hosting Christmas this year we will just choose a smaller one. We have last year’s rooted and potted one in the back garden and DH will move that round to the front to be decorated with lights.
  • The Christmas Lights and candles – how could you not have lights – I would always choose lights over decoration if I had too. DH will put up the outside lights and surprise me as usual with his artistry.
  • Christmas Decor – just as simple as I can make it though I do love all my Christmas treasures and it will be hard to just pick out a few.
  • Christmas Fare – the cake is the one food item I will make sure gets done, we don’t eat many mince pies – I usually bake them as gifts and may not even bother with them at all, but the florentines and my chocolate slab are quick and delicious and must be a MUST. The nut roast can be made next week and frozen ready to take with us to my sister’s on Christmas day – DH makes a good one, so I will pass this job over.
  • Christmas Cards – another definite as it is how I keep in touch with family and friends I rarely see – homemade if time allows but if I don’t get to do a lino cut then it will be a stamped card or even bought ones.
  • The Christmas Newsheet for relatives and friends – you either love them or hate them but I always send one to people I do not see often and I love to receive them and hear everyone’s news. So this will go on my list.
  • The Family Gifts – as most regular readers know our family does a ‘Not so Secret Santa’. This year we have reduced the amount to a £25 spend each as the younger end of the family are either on maternity pay or student loans and the older ones now on pensions and we all have less money than before. None of us would ever go back to buying presents for everyone and trailing round busy shops not knowing what to buy – the get together we have to swap the presents is the highlight of the year and more fun than the gifts. This year we will all be together on Christmas day so we have no need of a pre Christmas get together.
  • Little Gifts for Friends – this year I intended to make a calendar for each of the friends I buy for and it is labour intensive – if it seems there is too little time to make them then I will find an alternative – I might even use those free pots and buy some cyclamens to plant in them.

Did I miss anything?

Of course there are the many things that I would love to do, crafting, baking and a little Christmas meandering, and more Christmas meandering – but I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, there has been too much of that this year. So I will have a second list of ‘would like to do’ if there is any spare time.

  • making the robin teacosy I started last year
  • making little Freddie a Christmas stocking
  • a concertina Christmas banner
  • a trip to Saltaire or Askrigg village stained glass windows event
  • a photo book for mum and my aunty with Alzheimers

Last year in the run up to Christmas I did something Christmassy each day in my ‘Creating Christmas’ posts with the help of a daily advent card. You can read about it by clicking here or on the menu tab above and in the side bar.

So this year I am thinking it would be a good idea to do a ‘Creating a simpler Christmas’ one that is at a much slower pace and definitely calmer…. and perhaps there are readers out there that might have some helpful suggestions for achieving this.

Have a lovely weekend x

24 thoughts on “dear diary :: contemplating Christmas

  1. I am with you on a simple, quiet Christmas that is what I try and create for us every year, I have to work hard to keep it that way. I too create a list of jobs that I need to do and one that I want to. The hardest bit is managing the invites to things and working out which things to go to as there are always so many that you could do. Just when we think you have a lovely gentle week sorted another thing comes along and you feel bad for saying no, but saying yes will mean another late night, a busier week and perhaps not being able to do things on your list of jobs. I have decided this year that I will be saying no if I need to to ensure the simple and the quiet.


    1. Often I find I have all my Christmas things underway only to be presented with getting things done for other people. I used to end up buying and wrapping gifts for my MIL and my mum to give to other people at the last minute. When you think you are all done then someone says ‘could you just get me a……’ and worse still ‘could you just wrap it too’ – I used to feel like I was doing everyone’s shopping for them.


  2. Well, now you have something to put on your December intentions list: Keep it simple! Try writing or at least thinking about that phrase before you put anything on the list. Eliminate those things that would be nice but will simply take more time than you may have. As you note, it is the things others ask of you, often at the last minute, that can derail your own intentions. Maybe leave a little extra room in your schedule each day to simply seek some peace and quiet. Think of it as renewal time. You certainly deserve it.


  3. I love the festive season, although I’m sure that is, in part, to do with keeping it as simple as possible.
    I hope you get to enjoy some quiet time over the next few weeks, even if it means saying ‘no’ ocassionally and putting yourself first. X


  4. The run up to Christmas is my favourite time, even better than Christmas Day itself. I sing in 3 choirs and the music and concerts make this time so special. I have to have all my other arrangements finished by the second week of December because things get a bit manic. Our concerts are in a decommissioned Abbey chapel and the atmosphere is so magical. So now (on the last day of November) all my presents are wrapped and my foreign cards are posted. Just the UK cards to write. Food is ordered and planned too with the cake to ice in a couple of weeks.
    Whatever makes this time special for you enjoy a wonderful Advent.


    1. I am so envious that you can sing – my one wish in life would be to sing – I have no singing voice and less since I had my thyroid removed (which affects the vocal chords)- it must be wonderful to perform over the Christmas period – I would love to come and hear you. My very favourite music is Thomas tallis Spem in Alium – I love that haunting quality and one day I will see it performed live.


  5. Every summer I say to myself,’I’ll start Christmas shopping etc. early, so I can enjoy December. Enjoy baking & making, Christmas films & music and have a really chilled advent…….I haven’t ever managed it. Perhaps next year I will?


  6. I think my advent count down will include reading about your Christmas preparations and re-reading your past Christmas item a day posts.

    We are flying out on Boxing Day so I am a little torn about putting up decorations and lights. One Christmas thing a day – I am going to do that. And maybe blog about it.


  7. It sounds like you are getting well organised towards your simple Christmas. I am sure your family will prefer to have you happy and relaxed rather than stressed and tired. Have fun with what you do choose to do 🙂


  8. Too much overeating in the runup to Christmas is my problem. Already one festive lunch last week, two next week and the same the week after! (not to mention Christmas Day) We don’t exchange gifts, just a little token for the grandkids. They get plenty from Santa and their parents. I am with you on sending cards to people you don’t see often. In my case it is to let them know I am still in the world of the living!


  9. Sounds as if you have it well under control already. I think a lot of people are reducing the splurge on Christmas, which is a good thing. This year I’m completely relaxed about it, because our building works are so invasive that there’s no point trying to do anything other than have a lovely time with returned adult children and nice things to eat and drink and walks in our beautiful countryside. The “children” too have said that the only thing they want is for us all to be together – apart from what we call a Louche Chocolate Fridge Cake, which sounds as if it’s like your chocolate slab. Dried fruits soaked in whisky, and crushed digestives and chocolate – is that what you do?. My one concession is to try to make wreaths for all the family graves I now have responsibility for. My front door wreath last year was finished just before New Year, so I’d better get foraging and wreathing!


  10. Hi . I discovered your blog recently and am thoroughly enjoying it ! I had surgery recently which has meant I have been unable to do the usual things I do at this time of year. This has made me look at things differently, as and has made me realise that actually I haven’t missed the hustle and bustle and manic ness (is that a word?) of a usual pre Xmas. It’s made me re think – so the house isn’t immaculate , there won’t be home baking etc – and no one cares! The kids are coming home to cook on the day and we ll all be together as a family , with my parents , and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? We’ve pared back gifts as my husband has done all the shopping , and again no one is bothered . It’s really made Me re think ! I love your blog and your lovely photos x


    1. Hi Jane – a personal warm welcome to my blog – it is always lovely when new people introduce themselves and many thanks for the kind comments. My blog is just my life – an online diary of my day to day world. Just being together as a family is the most important thing at Christmas and you will find you still have a lovely time without all the extra things you might normally do. x


      1. Aw thank you for the welcome. I found your blog in hospital , along with notes from an ordinary life, and the day to day normal living was a comfort to me when I was recuperating after surgery . It was a strange comfort to me knowing normal life was continuing outside the hospital room! I will continue to read and enjoy I’m sure x


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