I didn’t think it would happen to me. I mean, it happens to other people but me? I thought I’d been so careful but it just goes to show, Competitive Christmas Syndrome can strike at any time.
I started off well, back in early December. We didn’t buy an elaborately hand made advent calendar house/felt wall of pockets to fill with presents. (We bought a cut price Hello Kitty calendar on Dec 3rd).
We resisted the urge to buy a real tree (even though they do look much nicer in all of the Facebook photos) and instead erected the slightly knackered fake tree we bought half price from Homebase ten years ago. I didn’t even Instagram photos of my decorated tree (well, there was too much mess around it, really. No one wants to see that.)
But then it started to seep in. I started to succumb to the pressures. I saw so many photos of twinkling lights on trees and children grasping small wooden toys they’d found in that day’s felt advent calendar pocket. I’d watched countless mums stage elaborate photos of their Elf On A Shelf every day. On Pinterest, I waded through pin upon pin of handmade-this and salt dough-that.
I caved. I was in Paperchase and saw a Christmas-themed ink stamping kit. With a sweaty brow and while slightly panting, I bought it along with some brown card luggage tags and (overpriced) brown paper. Then, in Wilko’s, I picked up some polka dot ribbon and in Tiger, I bought some sticky-on red love hearts and trees. I couldn’t stop. As I was walking home from the shops, I could already see the Instagram photos that I’d post.
But it didn’t end there. Today, Christmas Eve, I gave a gift box to each of the family. Inside, they found new PJs, a decoration for the tree and a giant chocolate coin (the three year old also had a Christmas book and a fabric envelope addressed to Santa, from The White Company).
As I was buying the gift boxes from Paperchase yesterday, I chose patterns that would look lovely in photos. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Am I beyond help?
No, I think it’s still possible to retrieve myself from the pit of Competitive Christmas Syndrome. See, there’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful real tree, or decorating it in a faaabulous way. It’s OK to have an handmade advent calendar, filled with wooden toys and treats. It’s even fine to have an Elf On A Shelf (yes, really, if you’re that way inclined, it’s fine.) Making your own elaborate Christmas gift tags and getting handy with an ink stamp is OK too. And there’s nothing wrong with me starting a new tradition of gifting PJs and a tree decoration to my family every Christmas Eve.
But to save myself, I need to do all of the above (well, minus the Elf – that dude is creepy) and not slap it all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s fine to just enjoy Christmas moments as a family. Can I do it? I’ll let you know NEXT Christmas.