Advent is upon us.

“Don’t bunch them together… spread them out… different colours, mix them up a bit.  Don’t hang the big ones at the top…..”

My instructions to a six year old on how to dress a Christmas tree seemed to fall on deaf ears. Whenever she turned away from the tree, I took the opportunity to re-jig some of the decorations into vast spaces of greenery.

It’s an artificial tree. I can’t be doing with going to get a live one and then once Christmas is over trying to salvage it in the garden, or recycle it in a compost heap. Poor thing. Buy an artificial one it will last years, be ignored by the cat because it doesn’t smell of wood and the kids can’t wreck it, too much.

Advent is upon us. The frantic panic for three weeks when time speeds up, lists grow longer and the roads jammed solid with shoppers.  Some times I shut my eyes and imagine a different Christmas. One that doesn’t begin in any shape or form until after Bonfire Night. The infants don’t start practising the nativity play before half term. I’m not sick of carols by December and decorations only EVER go up on the 1st Dec onwards. I’m not forced into buying presents in September with tempting displays which panic me into thinking Christmas is only days away and Brussel sprouts go on sale the week before the 25th, not two months – I mean what I’m going to do with them? Boil them for a month?

Okay, am I a Scrooge for not milking the Christmas spirit? I would quite like to take the kids to a candle lit service where choirs sing and people shakes hands with strangers and bring peace to each other.

There are many things I would prefer Christmas to be and most of it may be based on rose tinted nostalgia trips to my own childhood. However, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I see Xmas as far too commercial. Whether you’re a Christian or not, I’m sure the message of what Christmas stands for is lost to many folks – peace, love and giving, not tired, snappy and worn out.


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