As of a week ago today, I had not sent a single Christmas card and had only gotten Christmas presents as necessary: I exchanged with Catherine and Elizabeth in November (I think I gave you Xmas cards, girls, if not, I apologise) and I took a birthday and Christmas present to London last week. For some reason, the Christmas spirit eluded me - I wasn't interested. The Advent hymns at mass had been lovely, but offered only a brief glimpse of said Christmas spirit. I'd bought my Christmas cards but found that the moment I considered writing them, I felt the need to clean the cats' litter tray...Holly and Poppy were seriously impressed.
I tumbled into this week unprepared: sans my usual list with 'cards' on one side and 'presents' on the other. Sunday was the sabbath, I told myself, no shopping then (plus, I was coming back from London). Come Monday, reality ran by and said, 'tag, you're it', thus ending my attempt to avoid it. Christmas was 7 days away; the time had come.
Occasionally, my life adopts a soundtrack. This week's: Mission Impossible. "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write out your list, post/hand out your cards, get all your Christmas shopping done, and get gifts to everyone before Christmas...you're excused if your friends are in Italy or Germany. This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds."
Lunchtimes, evenings after work (thank you, Borders and Thursday late night shopping!), Lodge duty, afternoon coffee - all these were fair game for the necessary shopping, writing, etc. as the "Mission Impossible" theme ran through my head. As usual, I found that once I started, it fell into place and started taking care of itself. I really need to learn to take the advice I used to give students, rather than living by the maxim, "Take my advice, I'm not using it."
And a funny thing happened on the way to shopping for friends' presents and sending cards with a personal line or two. As I wrapped them and gave presents to friends and saw their faces, Miss Scrooge began to edge towards the door. She was given her final notice on Thursday, when I grabbed a tag from the Giving Tree at Borders and bought something for a 7-year-old girl in hospital. Rach and I discovered it last year finishing our respective last minute shopping tasks, and it put the biggest smiles of the Christmas season on our faces. That's going to become a yearly tradition for me, I think.
Once the shopping was done, cards were posted on Thursday (and they have all reached their destinations - mazel tov, Royal Mail!), presents were wrapped, and all those who were in town had received theirs...the last one at 7pm tonight. Go me! Mission impossible accomplished, and more blessedly, the theme has faded from my life's soundtrack - for now.
Today, I did the next week's food shopping, saw off my last housemate, and settled in to cocoon over the next several days. The house, at long last, is mine for a few days...bliss.
I'm going to come clean - I'm spending Christmas *on my own* this year - and as much as I've loved the times I've been away and the people I've been with, I can't wait. I want to wake up late, schlep in my pyjamas, play air guitar to "Bohemian Rhapsody" on VH1 Classic, pop Christmas lunch in the oven, read, snooze and watch "Dr Who" and "Hogfather". My introvert needs a bit of pampering - there has been a lot of 'tugging at my skirts' over the year - and for a change, my introvert is going to get it.
Starting with a bath using a red, glittery bath ballistic from Lush.
Absolutely, erm, lush. Happy Christmas, everyone, and see you after "Ruby in the Smoke". Not that I'm planning my hols by the telly instead of religious observance or anything...