Is there anyone who enjoys completely unmixed positive feelings about Christmas? I like it quite a lot, I really do – and am free from a number of sources of seasonal negativity, eg we don’t these days have stress about family stuff, and being heathen unbelievers we can relish the secularisation of it all, etc etc – but even still. Upsides: magical lights! General coziness! All the FOOD! Downsides: consumer overload. Calendar overload. General stress about obligations etc.
Advent is very much a Thing here, and it matters to Armin (in a completely areligious way): one has certain decorations. One bakes cookies, trays and trays of them, which one then distributes in little baggies to everybloodyone one comes in contact with during December. One makes one’s own candles (at least, the kids do). One has a wreath, with four candles, which get lit one by one each Sunday as Christmas approaches. One Does Advent. It’s all… a lot. Really quite a lot.
We kind of half-ass the whole thing, predictably, because I’m really not good at scheduling all this stuff and also I’m a bit crap at all the crafty things and also… seriously? Come on. Seriously? I mean, the cookies, for instance. Who the hell needs that many cookies? It’s ridiculous. And the wreath, well, I honestly had the best of intentions this year, I put all the possible wreath-making days (at the local community centre – I cannot be expected to try this thing without proper guidance and supplies) in my calendar. Only, I foolishly didn’t check the times carefully enough and rocked up an hour after the last session had finished. Bloody typical.
And then all the decor… look. I’m 100% on board for the lights. But the rest? Oh man. Quite apart from the question of taste and whether or not I actually LIKE all this stuff (Armin loves it, it’s deeply ingrained, so it really is moot), how is a person with kids supposed to make space for all the candles and wreaths and reindeer and what-not? Shoving a pile of toys out of the way isn’t exactly the route to tasteful Adventing. And I admit, it’s not only the kids’ crap that’s lying around, it’s also my own crap that I can’t put away yet because the kids haven’t given me time to finish whatever it is I’m doing with it. So there. Either way: Piles o’ crap. Piles o’ Advent. Not a great combination.
However! December does bring with it one pure, unadulterated good. Yes, I am completely unambivalent about new diary time! Which goes with year-in-review and planning-ahead time! Always weirdly exciting. I have a new Moleskine and I know how to use it. *caresses pencil creepily*