The 7 Best Ways To Find Your Christmas Spirit If You’re A Grinch

In spite of my newfound, VERY mature thoughts about the insignificance of consumerism in my life at this time here, I have launched myself full throttle into Christmas.

Living room with full of Christmas decorations.

To be honest, I’m a bit of a Christmas tragic. We were fortunate to have a mother who made the festivities so special for us that even though she died in December, the month remains my favourite in the year. In some ways, I suppose, I want to uphold her tradition of Christmas madness because it feels like a celebration of her life. My sister is as bad. So much so, we have an annual race to get the tree up first. I won this year. (Just saying, Ange).

When we lived in the UK, we used to wait until mid December before we put the tree up – although I’m sure that has changed as the world gets more and more embroiled in the commercialism of the season. But here, in Australia, we kick off the celebrations much earlier, probably because it is the start of our long summer holidays, or possibly for the benefit of the many migrants who struggle to find their Christmas spirit.

I fully commit. While many of my British circle don’t feel Christmas is the same in a hot climate, I have embraced the morning swim on Christmas morning with gusto, followed by turkey and Christmas pudding – even in 35-degree heat!

Needless to say, by late November I’ve already mentally signed off for the year and entrenched myself fully in plans for our annual Chrissy Drinks, what to wear on the special days, and Christmas shopping. This year, I’m even going to see White Christmas with some fellow Christmas freaks.

So, if you’re a Grinch and need some help in the Christmas spirit department, here are my 7 great ways to find it:

1.Add some sparkle to your home. OBVS, a tree is the best, but if you can’t be bothered, a liberal dose of tinsel and coloured lights will do the trick. I have a rather fetching bauble head piece that I wear.

2. Nothing beats the aroma of Christmas spices. I still make Delia’s Red Cabbage each year, even though everyone in the family hates it. The smell of cloves and cinnamon push me up one more notch on the Christmas madness scale.

3. Fish out the Christmas movies. I can recommend the latest piece of schmalz from the UK – Last Christmas – in spite of the reviews. Emma Thompson is superb, Emilia Clarke is magnetic, and Henry Golding makes for some lovely tree candy. Although, for my money you can’t beat The Holiday or the Christmas scenes in Bridget Jones.

4. Go to Aldi and stock up on all their yummy Christmas treats. It is a scientifically-proven fact that calories don’t count at Christmas and while you might think you don’t need that DIY Gingerbread House, of course you do!

5. Christmas music – At home, in the car, in the shower. Sex is good, but absolutely nothing beats dancing around the kitchen to Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

6. Give/Donate/Be Kind. So we all know that the old saying that giving is better than receiving is a load of old bollocks, but even the biggest cynic knows that nothing beats the high to be had from “giving.” If you can find a way to donate or help someone at Christmas, I promise you’ll enjoy yours all the more. Whatever your budget, even the tiniest act of generosity can make a difference to those less fortunate than you. Buy charity Christmas, donate some cash, help the koalas, or thank the firemen, but make a difference! This year, I’m going to “donate a plate” for the homeless via The Wayside Chapel here.

7. Don’t be a Grinch and you might actually enjoy it. Be positive. Don’t worry about who you don’t like or who doesn’t like you at Christmas lunch, family feuds, or undercooking the turkey. There are fewer and fewer occasions when families and communities get the opportunity to simply BE together, so whether you are religious or not, look at Christmas that way. It is a reminder about what is important. No one’s really coming for the turkey (who would?) or the booze – they’re coming to see you, to see each other. They’re coming for that magical sense of belonging that lose sight of in our busy lives. Christmas has this incredible power to reinstate it.

Fortunately for me, after almost thirty years together, Scrooge has resigned himself to my craziness at this time of the year. He refuses to indulge in it – evidently, he has picked up that it is much safer not to burst my Christmas bauble – but each year, he dutifully buys the ice for the Christmas party, mixes the drinks, and then (I imagine) he rolls his eyes the minute my back is turned. On Boxing Day, when I am rocking in a corner, he skips around the house singing his self-penned “Christmas Is Over” song with gay abandon.

4 thoughts on “The 7 Best Ways To Find Your Christmas Spirit If You’re A Grinch

  1. I’ve done the opposite of you, moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere and discovered that suddenly all those Christmas traditions actually make sense 🙂 One of the things I love about Sweden in December is the way it lives up to my clichéd idea of the perfect Christmas. While you are out and about, everyone is rugged up drinking glögg, kids are skating on impromptu rinks, the streets are covered in snow and the Christmas lights twinkle brighter than you could ever imagine on these dark northern nights. I was telling one of my good friends back in Adelaide about it and she said it sounded like a fairy tale. I guess it is. It is exactly like the white Christmases I’ve seen in movies, on television in books and on every Christmas card I’ve ever received.

    I’d always thought that Christmas felt a bit ‘tacked on’ Downunder. A red velvet suit is not suitable attire for a portly gentleman anywhere in Australia in December. And I don’t think a Christmas roast and plum pudding with hot custard was ever meant to be eaten in 40°C degree heat (not that you could ever tell my mother that). There are things I miss – big juicy red cherries, golden peaches, the streets bursting with jacaranda flowers, Carols by Candlelight on a balmy evening …

    However, I fully embrace the Scandinavian Christmas – On December 1st I put up huge paper stars in the windows along with Advent lights, I go to the outdoor Christmas markets in the snowy town square, I bake saffron buns for Lucia, I make Christmas toffee and Swedish ginger thins (albeit with kangaroo, koala and shark cookie cutters) and cook a traditional Swedish smörgåsbord for Christmas. I do beg to put up the tree early, even showing pictures of the Adelaide Christmas pageant as proof that Santa has arrived, but I’m met with a stony refusal – in Sweden it goes up on December 23rd. Mind you, it stays up until the twentieth day of Christmas (don’t ask) so we get to enjoy it until Jan 13th.


    1. Sounds beautiful. Perhaps Christmas is just special when you’re with people you love? We are lucky we’ve experienced both, and I miss going to Oxford St at Xmas and chestnuts and the pubs and the security of being wrapped up from the cold, but I also have grown to love our new traditions. Thanks for your beautiful account of your Christmas. xx


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