Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding My Christmas Spirit

I've spent this week looking for something that I'd lost a while ago.

I had it when I was a child and locked it away when I was about ten only to rediscover it a couple of years after I'd had my first-born. Then I brought it out yearly to fill our house with its wonder and mystery and magic. But as the kids got older I forgot that I still had it. The wonder, the mystery and the magic just got lost in the whirlwind of duty and expectation - not least my own expectation that if I didn't get exactly the right present for every single person on my list their Christmas would be ruined and it would be all my fault.

So this week I've been on a mission to find the spirit of Christmas again.

You'd think that finishing work for the year would give me a little more time to go hunting for it.

Not so. I swear that I've been busier since finishing up at 6:37pm on Monday night than I've been for the last couple of weeks. Probably because I've been putting off Christmas jobs till 'when I've finished work'. Yes, that's right I use work as a way to avoid Christmas shopping and to sustain my inner Christmas Grinch. I even took on more work at the very last minute (like on Thursday when I'd been planning to finish up on Friday) so I could have the joy of working all weekend rather than shop.

And why did I do this? (And believe me, this is not the first time so I haven't learnt from bitter experience).

Because it's so much fun to go to the shopping centres and fight for car parks then hang out with thousands of other frantic and deluded people who've pretended that they still have plenty of time?
Yeah, that's been awesome! (Please note strong undercurrent of sarcasm - and the use of sarcasm around Christmas time is like killing one of Santa's elves).

Or is it because cutting it so close to the wire helps bring clarity and makes me more decisive? Well, considering that I still have one son that I've bought absolutely nothing for and am still struggling for ideas, the answer to that question would be negative.

Having the "OMG it's less than a week to Christmas and I still have so much to do and if they suddenly decide to change the date without me knowing I'm so screwed" feeling was not helping to find me my Christmas spirit. I spent all Tuesday in a mental fluster trying to sort through the logistics of the next week and a bit. Wednesday morning wasn't much better - until I got to catch up with a friend over coffee to exchange gifts. Finally I felt the first shiver of anticipation. That feeling that something nice was about to happen.

Thursday's events were the catalyst to finding my long-lost Christmas spirit. I can't say that they were earth-shakingly exciting or even that they'd work for everyone but they certainly worked for me. It was the simple act of donning aprons, cranking up the oven and the electric mixer and filling the kitchen with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and chocolate. And, most importantly, doing it with a friend.

Spending three hours chatting, chopping, measuring and mixing was fun and exhausting and made me remember how wonderful Christmas can be.

So this morning I put on my Christmas shirt and headed back to the shops to tackle the last of my to-do list.

Feeling the joy of the season made the expedition a happy one. I felt relaxed. I smiled. I watched children high-five Santa. I smiled. I nearly walked into someone who'd changed direction suddenly and, surprisingly, I smiled.

And just to set the record straight, I have not taken any mood-altering drugs - legal or otherwise - to produce this feeling.

It must be a Christmas miracle.


  1. It's practically Dec 20th (will be by the time you read this) and I still don't have my tree up. No presents wrapped. No cookies baked. You can tell how much spirit I have. Now, send me some my way, please!

  2. I think I need your Christmas shirt. I'm moments away from heading out to tackle a shopping expedition myself. It will be crowded (Singapore always is). I am shopping for: My husband's cousin & his family. I have NO idea. We are seeing them to exchange gifts TOMORROW. Right. TOMORROW. I'm going to have to channel your 'decisive', too! I will also be shopping for a gift for my husband. He already won the gift giving contest this year (got me a new hydration pack!)...and I'm fresh out of some of that Christmas magic north, would ya?

  3. I love Christmas although the busyness of life gets in the way. I love love love the Christmas tree. I haven't wrapped yet except for work gifts that needed to be done by today. Glad work is ending so I can really get in the frame of mind.

  4. I'm not done shopping and have nothing wrapped or baked. Oddly, it's not bothering me too much. I think the whole nothing baked thing might actually be a good thing. I'm not able to run off the calories right now anyway!

  5. WooHoo - hooray to the Christmas spirit!! The best part of this whole post - your Christmas tank!!! It is icy and in the teens (F) today - I would love to need a Christmas tank!!

  6. I never am in the Christmas spirit until I'm done with working which is now. Closing my work year with a Christmas lunch always helps. But I have to be honest, the Christmas spirit is not totally here yet but I'm confident it will soon.

  7. Ack! I'm so with you - I still have one son to buy for, and the stress of it is making me very grumpy! After my run this morning, I MUST, MUST, MUST go shopping! I hope I find my Christmas spirit like you did. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I have found my Christmas spirit just in these last 3 days. 2 lunches and 1 dinner with my best friends and the shopping (gifts for children and grandsons) done. Inspiring post.

  9. What a Beautiful Christmas shirt!
    I can easily find my Christmas Spirit as since today I'm off work and I won’t have to go back to work until Monday December 30th.

  10. I absolutely love that quote!! I have to admit a little wine has been helping me along this year!! Merry Christmas to you.

  11. Oh lovely. Sometimes I think you just have to 'try' to get into the Christmas spirit and you can make it. I'm a bit like you though and leave everything until the last minute!!!

  12. I saw your comment on Miss. Zippy's site and stopped by. So glad you've found your Christmas spirit ~ if even for a day :)
    I'm about to check out how old your boys are (I have two - 9th and 7th grade... there aren't as many of us out here in the blogging world that I've found with kids my sons' ages!).


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