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.

Christmas In The Sun

A few days before Christmas I couldn’t decide whether the sparkle of the festivities had begun to dim with age.

 

beach-1102692_1280

 

It’s not like they don’t go as hard here in Australia, it’s just different to what I’m used to and so takes a little longer to get the Christmas juices flowing.

 

In spite of being tight on cash when I was a child, Mum always made Christmas a massive event at our house, that included trips into London to taste the first roasted chestnuts in Oxford St and to see the Christmas lights. Here, outside of the plastic commercialism offered by the malls, I’m finding it hard to locate my Christmas spirit and when I see images online of fog and frost and the twinkling lights in London, I feel a familiar sense of yearning.

 

This year, I feared that the old man – more commonly referred to as Scrooge in December – would finally succeed at blowing out all the Christmas lights on my efforts. He began to torment me with his favourite song ‘Christmas is nearly over’ the day before Christmas Eve, and there were a few moments there where I almost succumbed to the pressure and joined in with a sigh of surrender.

 

Christmas holds few surprises these days with older kids. It’s too risky to buy them some random gift in the hope they’ll be gracious enough to pretend they like it, hence generally they know beforehand what’s under the tree so we’re not subjected to resting bitch faces over the turkey.

 

Even more boring is that these days I have to employ some restraint around the excesses of food and alcohol because my blooming middle-aged baby belly doesn’t possess the same recovery skills of its youth. There is some middle-aged wisdom that helps us remember that what we put in our mouths these days isn’t going anywhere else afterwards and that two portions of Christmas pud probably isn’t an option with the three to four months of bikini weather that lie ahead.

 

The radio helped. Smooth FM cranked out Buble and Mariah and as the first whiffs of Delia’s red cabbage wafted from the cook top, by early evening on Christmas Even I felt my Humbug stony heart begin to melt and a sense of excitement emerge as the combination of aromatic Christmas spices began to circulate the house.

 

Christmas morning dawned and we awoke before the kids – something I still need to get used to, although the Princess had been sniffing around the balls in her stocking for at least an hour – and I lay there for a few moments and questioned how I felt about the day now. Then in bounded Kurt, a ball of puppyish excitement, followed by NC, who snuggled into bed next to Scrooge to share a mutual look of disdain at how the brainless half of the family sucks them into this annual festivity so cruelly each year.

 

And in spite of the temperature, the lack of snow men and the distinct whiff of barbies being heated in readiness, Christmas had arrived.