In my teens it's fair to say that I could be a bit haphazard when it came to being organised, there were many many times when my parents had to ask, “Why are you just telling me this now?” or “how close to the last minute are you planning on leaving this to?”. University meant taking responsibility for my own education and everything else, so I gradually improved and by the time I graduated, a good background in retail administration (thank you part time jobs!) meant that I had a methodical mind. I kept on top of things and planned in advance.
And then, I had a baby and despite running a fledgling business, my brain absolutely refuses to re-engage. I put reminders for everything in my phone and even then often forget. I make plans and then realise I won't have the time to put them in action. Even things that mean a lot to me, like getting back my baking mojo and updating my shiny new website fall by the wayside as I try to keep up with everything else that's going on around me. The value of doing things to help retain an identity apart from being “mum”, is a topic for another day though, what I'm meandering towards saying just now is: I'm completely unprepared for Christmas!
Neither Euan nor I are religious, neither of us was christened but both of us had a good religious education above and beyond what's supplied in state schools. Euan got his in his time in the Boy's Brigade and I got mine courtesy of four years in a Church of England Primary School when we lived deep in the heart of Somerset (this is also where I learned that cider is pronounced soy-der, horses are hoarses and forks are fourks – travelling really broadens your horizons), so Christmas has a lot of meaning to both of us. While we aren't believers, we can get behind people celebrating their faith and we both love the emphasis that Christmas puts on family gatherings. I also love the mingling of religion and pagan tradition, the idea of bringing evergreen plants into the house on the shortest day of the year to remind yourself that spring will come again. I don't know where twinkly lights and tinsel fit in that picture, but I love them too.
However, there still isn't a tree up in our house. The decorations are ready to go, we have tinsel and sparkly lights aplenty, but I didn't read the order form right when I bought our tree from the Bethany Christian Trust so it's not coming until the 13th of December. Ah well, it'll still be up three weeks and as it's my first real tree, I'm sure that will be plenty of time for me to get accustomed to sweeping up pine needles! I plan to try and always get our tree from a charity, the profits from this one will got towards helping homeless people off the streets. As Sam gets bigger, I hope this will be a way of reminding him of the importance of helping those less fortunate than us at a very hard time of year.
Now that I've been in the mummy business a while, I'm starting to realise why my mum and her friends all write essays in their Christmas cards. Not only do you get to spread a bit of festive cheer, you also get to find out what the wee folk in everyone's lives have been up to. But I still haven't put pen to paper for a single card. I'm not so worried about this though, as courtesy of our wedding, I have a proper address box and courtesy of our favourite photographer, we have some stonking festive photos of Sam this year. I'm eagerly awaiting the cards we've made up to arrive with Sam in a mini sleigh on the front and Sam's Chritmas nappy covered bum waving in the air on the back featured at the top of this blog.
You'll notice a marked difference in quality in the photos on this website. Let me be clear, the awful ones are ones that I snap on my phone because I can never remember where the camera is. The good ones will be taken either by Caroline, my guru from Tea is the Answer, Sam's Uncle Lewis, my dad or Ruth. Ruth was our wedding photographer and we love her work so much that she was also Sam's first birthday photographer and is our go to person for chronicling big events in our family. She's also been incredibly supportive of my nappy library efforts and I can't thank her enough. She knows how to capture big moments and special little moments and she's so good at engaging with children. Don't take my word for it, click her name above to have a look at her portfolio .
Back to how disorganised I am, my mum has a veritable Santa's grotto of presents ready to be wrapped in her spare room already. I on the other hand, have lots and lots of eco-friendly wrapping supplies and barely any presents. Sam is sorted but I'm scratching my head for everyone elses. Euan and I have a great plan to get people things to do rather than things this year to avoid adding to clutter but so far we're struggling to decide what those things to do should be.
Last year, I barely planned Christmas at all, I was far too busy worrying about centre pieces, bridesmaid dresses and how embarrassing my dad's father of the bride speech would be. And do you know what? Christmas went perfectly. Everyone gathered at our house for breakfast rolls (my culinary skills are best suited to bacon, tea and coffee on the side) and everyone was far too busy watching Sam admire the wrapping paper to really notice what we'd bought them. So from that example, I'm just going to let go of all of the stress and roll with it this year. The people I love know me well enough by now to not be in the least surprised by a Christmas card arriving in February! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, I hope you get to really enjoy your families this year.