Feeling festive yet?

It seemed that no sooner had the Hallowe'en decorations and fireworks disappeared from the shops, than the Christmas cards and paraphenalia were put in their place. In past years, this has thoroughly depressed me and I've lived in denial until at least the middle of the month, only admitting that the holiday break was about to arrive when I celebrated the winter solstice on 21st December.

This year, however, I have to admit that I'm feeling fully festive. I keep catching myself humming 'Let it snow' and 'Santa baby'. I actually started my Christmas shopping in November this year (a miracle in itself).

I've come to the conclusion that what has depressed me in past years has been the amount of money that I felt had to spend on Christmas - presents, food, outings. This year, we're concentrating on spending less but enjoying more.

Having lost a little weight, I will be recycling my Christmas wardrobe. I can now fit comfortably into a 1950s vintage dress that belonged to my mum, which goes excellently with a jewellery set I made last year, and another vintage find, a marcasite daisy ring that fits perfectly with the current trend for cocktail rings.

Christmas will be spent at our home with a menu that suits our palate and our pocket rather than bowing to the pressure to cook the full on turkey dinner.

There'll be less presents this year but they'll be chosen with more care, ensuring that when we open them there are no awkward moments when we try to pretend that they're just what we wanted.

We're even making our own Christmas cards. A couple of days ago, in a storm of glue and glitter (which I'm still removing from various areas of the lounge), my children had a wonderful time creating cards for Grandma.

All in all, Christmas this year will be about family and spending time with those who matter to us, not the people we feel we need to impress or are obliged to entertain.

Enjoy your break, whatever you do. Remember to breathe, and smile.

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