Sunday, 16 December 2007

Campaign for a shorter Advent season

Because it just goes on too long.

Well, for our way of celebrating Christmas it does. We're near enough to Christmas for me to begin to feel worried about getting everything I want to do done, but not near enough for me to start jettisoning unimportant things, like vague thoughts about decorating new areas of the house (which every year I think about, but never quite manage) and baking new kinds of Christmas goodies (ditto). The peak season for carol concerts and extra services has begun, so Chris is exhausted and I'm beginning to forget what he looks like. I've done my early preparations as far as possible, like sending out cards and the majority of presents, but there are enough loose ends left that I'm gently twitching, and feel the need to write Lists of Everything.

And yet it's still too early. We don't decorate until Christmas Eve (the picture is from last year). If I baked Chris's Christmas cake now it would stale before the day arrived. I had meant to relieve some of my frustrations by applying the marzipan I have to my Christmas cake this weekend, but I forgot to get a cake board, so that didn't happen. I wanted to get further on with his Christmas socks (the only bit of knitting I have with a deadline, and they're about 65% done), but my tense shoulders and the small gauge were not agreeing, so I was forced to turn to the hap shawl to relax my muscles again. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. He's got his Christmas socks with needles in before now, and he won't mind a bit. I will, though.

How can time move so fast and so slowly simultaneously? It happens every year, so I know that some time in the next week it will click into place, and I will begin to feel like I know what I'm doing. I'll calm down, pour myself a whisky, and go through the Radio Times Christmas and New Year Double Issue with a highlighter pen, marking all the programmes and films I want to watch. In the end I will watch about a quarter of them at their transmission time, remember to video about half the rest, only a handful of which I will ever get round to watching. But I won't mind, because about halfway between listening to the Nine Lessons and Carols on the radio on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and going to midnight mass I'll have remembered yet again that Christmas isn't a competition, and there is no wrong way of doing it.


jeanfromcornwall said...

It's funny how it catches us by surprise every year!
But it doesn't matter in the end. Remember the year when we moved house on December 4th, and had nothing prepared.That was one of our best Christmases wasn't it?

Jean said...

We do our tree on Christmas Eve too, to coincide with the King's College carollers on the radio. That for me is absolutely the moment when the whole horror of the past month suddenly clicks into place, our party assembled, however many or few we are, that little boy -- I understand he doesn't know that it's going to be him, until the moment before -- in his piercing unsupported voice, "Once in Royal David's city..."