Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas stuff

We've decided to more or less ignore the festive holiday this year. Out we will go on the 25th to a very nice restaurant - not our favourite Michelin starred one- but the one in our town (still gourmet but not in the same league) and we (Mr FF, his ma and me) will tuck in to food that I have not tired myself out making. Presents will not be exchanged, none of us have anything that we want or need - budgetary constrictions mean that extravagance is out of the question but here's the thing - I'm just bored with Christmas. Is that sad? Also ever since my mum died on 25th Dec about 13 years ago it has not been the same. In fact I can clearly remember the surreal day at Whittington Hospital, North London with Santa and his elves dispensing pressies and mince pies and wondering whether to approach the family sobbing by a bedside.

Still you can't grieve for ever and even thought the first few years were a very sad occasion one has to think of other people and just move on - which I have done, although obviously hidden inside a lot of thought is happening.

As for Christmas number one records - why doesn't anything like this ever reach that high spot? I guess because Simon Cowell isn't involved.


Dumdad said...

"Bored with Christmas. Is that sad?"

No, not really. I can't say I get very excited about the event and over the years as a journo have had to work on Christmas Day anyway.

But my kids get very excited about it and I enjoy watching them getting excited. I LOVED Christmas as a boy when everything was magical and special.

To sit down as a family for a meal, though, is not a special event for us - we do it at least once everyday and four times on weekends.

I think your idea of going out to a restaurant without bankrupting yourself is an excellent one.

Phil Lowe said...

Good Lord! I am the first to comment on your very popular blog. Give Mr FF lots of love and cuddles. They cost nowt. Enjoy your special meal and revel in the fact there are no pots to wash.

That's a good recipe for Christmas.

I'm looking forward to seeing an adaptation of A Christmas Carol being done at a friends school - and the royalty cheque pour moi as I wrote the show.

Phil Lowe said...

Bah Humbug! Beaten to it by one minute! lol

the fly in the web said...

Christmas Day did not used to be a public holiday in Scoland, so I did not become accustomed to the hysteria when young...then never really took to it later.
Lovely idea to go out and celebrate.

Carol said...

I've never been a huge fan of Christmas...New Year has always been much more my thing!! Your plans sound wonderful!! (This year will be tough because it will be the first Christmas without Chris's Mum!!)

Still, we've booked a cottage in Cornwall for New Year and the two of us + best mate Tom are going for a few days R&R. We'll eat too much, drink too much, laugh until our stomachs hurt and do some exploring....perfect!!

C x

Ayak said...

I consider myself fortunate to live in a country where Christmas isn't celebrated. It's just another day here, and I prefer it that way. I hate the unnecessary extravagance that Christmas has become, particularly these days when so many people are desperately hard-up, many without jobs, but still feeling pressure on them to spend money they don't have just to keep up with everyone else.
Yes..I think a low-key inexpensive Christmas is a very good idea!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Christmas was always a bit sad sack in our household - so I've always loathed the rampant consumerism of the whole thing, Christmas is a lot more fun nearly everywhere else where it's mainly about having a lovely meal together.

We do solstice in our household.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Christmas is hard for me too -- lots of family politics get stirred up at this time of year. I much prefer Thanksgiving here. It's a shorter holiday, and there are no presents involved, just spending time with people I love. Honestly, I'd rather give a present when I find something and it strikes me that someone dear to me would like it. Not because I'm supposed to have something for them on a certain day of the year (other than, say, a birthday)!

I'm sorry about your mother -- even though it was 13 years go, that doesn't make it any less painful in some ways, I imagine. Hugs.

Steve said...

I'm almost admiring... though having young kids around does enable me (even in my humbug moments) to get a little into the Christmas spirit! Good for you - though sorry to hear of the pain behind your decision.

Ann said...

I am with Carol on this FF, prefer New Year, all Scots do, a time to celebrate, and wake up next morning, heid doon the lavvy pan, swearing never again.

The first Christmas is very hard Carol, though your plan sounds perfect, don't forget little me, I wont take up much room, and drink very little, ahmm.

I still like Christmas, and will have the tree, and all my beautiful suns, moons, mirrored balls to hang up, will spend most days trying to keep Tommy and Charlie from opening the presents under the tree, and I love the Christmas feast, we all eat too much, drink too much, but it is good, then of course Dr Who is on the TV Christmas night.

Such a day to die FF, especially that day, you think of it of joy and happiness, for you of course it is a day you lost your beloved mum, a day that will be always tinged with grief.

It must be strange for you Ayak, to live in a place that does not celebrate Christmas, and yes I agree with you wholeheartedly, too much is spent at Christmas, the pressure on parents to spend is awful, to get into so much debt for one day.

willow said...

Yes, it is sad. Christmas is always a big deal at the manor. It's a rare time when all three kids are here. I look forward to it all year. And it's not the gifts, although we do exchange them, that are the main attraction. It's the poker game with the silly hats that I enjoy the most.

Jean said...

Christmas is so false in the UK. The retail frenzy lasts almost three months. Then you have the "January sales" where they sell off all the trash.

My mum died on 21st December seven years ago. Christmas has never been the same since. I really miss making mince pies and trifles on Christmas eve with her.

The French seem to have a healthier approach - in our village the shops were open on Christmas Day for the morning and there wasn't so much fuss made. We have only managed one Christmas there so far as we now have my Dad to consider. We'd love him to come with us but he's 81 and not brave enough to travel, which is a great shame.

Mark said...

Well I am going to be different because I like Christmas - but this is odd because I am normally the taciturn one who 'always has to be different.' I think having young children makes a big difference.

Now having said that we do Christmas a little differently differently to many - we hide away in our cottage in Wales; we do NOT do Christmas dinner; we just be ourselves and do what we like.

Nine years ago Jane had a miscarriage on Christmas day - that made it hard for her for a few years, but then Dylan came along. Life goes on.


...mmm... said...

Oh, I am sorry about your mother dying then too. How very hard to move on--a constant reminder on what can be a joyful day, but yes, a sorrowful day too for too many. for me, it;'s definitely both. let's face it, Xmas is just not the same elsewhere. I miss mince pies as you mention, xmas cake, etc. Still, all that will be there at the Xmas tea so be sure to show up!

i think too, without kids and thier excitement around, xmas is a rather odd holiday with a alot of undue pressure. I have no idea what will happen with mine.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Christmas has such a sad association for you. Personally I dread it but I think it's because it's a reminder for me also of people, times, and loves lost forever.

Angie Muresan said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. I can totally understand why it is so difficult for you to enjoy it. We love Christmas in our house. We don't focus on the consumerism aspect of it, as much as rituals and traditions. My mom is a Saxon German and she raised us up celebrating the Advent season, together with Saint Nicholas's arrival, the wee hours of December 6th, and three kings day January 6th. I do the same for my children. We light candles each night, read stories, go on nature walks (we live on the edge of huge woods), and enjoy the quiet and solitude of winter.

Laura [What I Like] said...

I have always loved Christmas, but I always enjoy some years better than others I suppose. Last year was a low key holiday with a dinner out with immediate family and it was one of the best. No work for anyone! Just enjoying each other's company. I hope you enjoy yours!

LadyFi said...

Oh, I still like Christmas - such a magical time for the kids! And we often have snow and lots of outdoor fun and just time to relax with each other.

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Oh,Ms. FF, what a holiday idea. I think it's because you need comfort that you are turning your back on the holidays. I force myself to participate a bit (for family) but I too have cut back. The loss of my parents has made me reflective on the holidays, too. I wish you joy, dear friend and thank you for your warmth on my Oasis blog. I think you might be spelling my name wrong- it has two "t"s and two "n"s. I noticed that you spelled it with one "n". I'm also on, but I still don't quite 'get' it. I posts my blog there, visit a few people and leave notes, also I have it linked to facebook...but I think it will evolve in someway? I keep going back and trying to see what I'm missing. :-) I hope to see you on facebook! xx

A Super Dilettante said...

Christmas is not the same if you don't have a family. It’s been a crazy year. I think I shall have a quiet time like I did last year. It was the best Christmas ever in solitude (I'm not being sarcastic. Although my friends don't understand how you can have a quiet Christmas). I think the only thing I like about Christmas is getting cards from people and knowing where they are and what they are up to...who is marrying who and how many kids they've got, etc.

bindu said...

Holidays are always more fun when you have friends and family visiting. We don't celebrate christmas, but our festivals slip by without notice too, unless we have family here.

Jennysmith said...

Poor FF. Losing your mum like that. No wonder this has left a mark on you. I hope you have a lovely time anyway.

Have invited you to a xmas outing xxxx

ps I've been to that Whittington Hospital

Ken Devine said...

It's not the best time to go is it, and I can only guess at how it might affect the family.

Christmas is best when you show evidence of unselfish actions. I love Christmas but hate what it means in so many people's lives. I doesn't have to be that way.

I enjoy hearing about your life's experience and opinions.

cheshire wife said...

Christmas is over rated and when all is said and done, it is only one day. So much time is spent on the build up, it is unbelievable.

Susie Vereker said...

How sad.
But restaurant good idea. At least it is not as expensive as New Year's Eve in France.

Susie Vereker said...

I meant how sad about your mother, not Christmas.

French Fancy said...

Dumdad - children in a home is what Christmas is all about really (that sounds like I mean an orphanage but you know what I really meant)

pHIL - Oh well done on writing the adaptation - not an easy job

fitw- goodness, it seems we are not the only ones not to get all caught up in the Christmas spirit. I guess Hogmany is more of a big deal for you

Carol - if this is the Tom with whom you stay with when in London then he must be the perfect best friend to want to spend the new year with - have a good one.

Ayak - hurrah, another low key Christmas person writes in

to be continued - see what happens when I don't reply straight away - it gets harder and harder to come and comment

French Fancy said...

Lulu - our lovely Breton doc does solstice too - maybe that's the way for us as well (bet you hated the link - I nearly put in the body of text - Lulu don't bother clicking)

Steve -young children do make Christmas compulsory and if we had them then of course we would participate fully

ContemTroub - yes, large families en masse for celebrations like this can result in some very fraught moments - you have my sympathies

Ann - you put it so very well. I never mention my mum on Xmas Day - I did for the first few years and it inevitably made a very sad day for others - this was rotten of me really and I keep it all inside now.

willow - I love the thought of chez willow and the poker game

Jean - I so know exactly what you mean. With me I would stand beside my mum pinching bits of the chestnut stuffing that she was trying to put in the turkey - you with your mum and the baking, me with mine and the stuffing. Isn't it rotten - the sadness never goes away does it.

Yes the French do a very low key Christmas that suits us very well

Mark - oh poor Jane (and you obviously) that must have been so terrible. Thank goodness for your two healthy and happy boys. I love the thought of just a regular meal on the 25th.

mmmm - whatever you end up doing I hope it is a lovely time for you.

Ian - A shame we can't have a bloggers party for everyone who doesn't have kids. Kids is what Xmas is all about really

Angie - your Christmas - and other December rituals -sounds absolutely fantastic

Laura - thank you for that and right back at you!

Ladyfi - Snow means a proper Christmas and I bet you have the reindeer as well

Cynthia - now you're on my Twitter and Facebook pages and it's lovely seeing another side to you

ASD - About 20 years ago when I shared a flat with someone (a male platonic friend) he was away for Christmas and I spent it on my onw - it was one of the best times ever.

Ken - religious people such as yourself must find days like Christmas totally different from non-believers like me. I wish I had this faith but no, not a jot of it.I still appreciate it in others though.

bindu - the French are very family minded and every feast day is just an excuse for the family to have meals together - which is lovely. the French sure do seem to have large families - I think it's because the child allowance shoots up for the third child.

Jen - I remember when you mentioned Whittington Hospital (there is nothing worse than trying to get a death certificate there on Boxing Day)

cheshirewife - there are no decorations in the shops yet here, no lights, very little build up. It's great here that way.

Susie - I realised what you meant :). Yes, the French do love to make a thing about NYE -I don't bother with that either (I sound like such a curmudgeon)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. Since my Dad died on Boxing Day, I've ignored it for years.


Lane said...

That must have been so awful for you (13 years ago). I'm so sorry.

If I could go away for the holidays and come back when it's all over I would but the children and my parents love Christmas. Weirdos:-)

I enjoy it on the actual day, but the build up drives me nuts.

French Fancy said...

NWBD - much the best way although, having said that, this is the first year we will not have bought presents for each other or put the decs up - in 12 years

French Fancy said...

Lane - oh the build up, let's hope you emerge unscathed from oven fat

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, hope all is well with you and Mr FF. If you get my last letter, I want to say don't worry. No decision was taken after the committee meeting. I shall write to you again soon xxx

The Dotterel said...

What? You prefer that, to THIS???

French Fancy said...

ASD - letter in post and very very glad relieved with your news here

Tim - you've got a fine voice there, mister

Kathy said...

Hey you, I missed you big time, I was useless on twitter so gave that up quick smart. Thank you so much for your sweet comment and I am so glad to be back.

I am so sorry to read about xmas day being the day your lovely mum passed, that's hard and I can understand how you would feel, my dad's mum passed on his birthday and it is always a difficult day for him.

I know your meal with Mr FF and MIL will be a good one :-), we have our son coming over here for xmas so I will put up a few extra decorations but a quiet time is hoped for this year. speak soon, hugs, Kathy.

Suburbia said...

Would like to ignore it this year too!!

Just wanted to say thank you for all your support at mine, it is very appreciated.

French Fancy said...

Kath - yes, I've gone off Twitter now after an initial burst of tweeting. Glad your son will be with you for Christmas and that it won't be too long before you see your lovely Hayley again


Oh Suburbia - I've been thinking so much about you this weekend. You deserve so much better than this

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Yes, Christmas Day will be a little different for us too (after what happened last year). Grandpa South has been rescued from Heathrow. He is in his late eighties and diabetic...he was on a BA plane for most of yesterday on the tarmac. They did not give him anything to eat for 8 hours and then lost his luggage. Hey..service with a smile or what?

Brother-in-law has driven him up from London today and Mr. H. picked him up at Birmingham. They've just got back.

We'll enjoy Christmas Day all together and we can do it our way with him this our house (the B&B). It's all looking good.

Have a lovely time at the restaurant. It sounds fab! Hxx