I ventured forth into town again today, this time to meet my Mum. As you know, we usually go on an adventure on our Friday off, but I am still too sleepy for such things, wonderful as they may be. Then Mum came up with a great idea- we would meet in my town rather than hers, and have breakfast-brunch instead of lunch, which meant I could go home and have a good sleep in the afternoon. Bliss!
The bliss of being outside in the autumnish morning (there is not that little nip in the air so characteristic of a true autumn morning!) has not worn off, and nor has just being among people. We had breakfast in Cafe Rouge...a pot of tea for her, a latte for me, and a Croque Madame apiece. It is so relaxed in there, and every time I go in, I think I must find out what cd they play so I can have it in the background at home, close my eyes and pretend I am in Paris.
After that, we went for a very gentle stroll around the shops. And here I had pause to blink. By my calculations, a week ago yesterday was my last proper day out, and then I was in the house until yesterday...but to look at the shops, I think I must surely have been at home for a month or more! For suddenly, there is Christmas, everywhere! Mince pies, gift wrap, baubles...you name it, it is there to buy.
Now I have rather conflicted feelings about all this. If truth be told, I have been working on Christmas gifts and cards at home for a while now. But in my defense, nearly every gift I am giving this year is home made. And most of them are not Christmassy in themselves. So I don't feel like I am doing Christmas things when I am sitting and knitting in the evening, or going to the shops to buy a square of white felt..for people who craft, we need to start early if we want to really enjoy the making of the gifts, rather than end up in an awful flurry towards the end.
The last few years, I have been able to really enjoy the Christmas season because I started planning early. It is blissful to sit in Starbucks sipping a peppermint bliss hot chocolate, knowing everything that needs to be done has been done.
But...I really don't want to see overtly Christmas things on the shelves in September. The Co-Op near my work had advent calendars in August! I cannot see the point (although I must confess that I have not tried very hard!) of having mince pies for sale which go out of date before it even gets to November, let alone Christmas! The most ridiculous thing of all is a cardboard sign for a display of Cadbury gold coins and snowmen with the wording 'Putting the Magic Back Into Christmas'. Now I know Mr Cadbury couldn't hear me, but I really wanted to scream 'no you are not, you are draining it away!' How can children be excited and really enjoy the build up to Christmas when it starts before Halloween? How can any of us?
The last Christmas or two I have followed the scrumptious plan at http://www.brocantehome.co.uk/ which is just right for me. The lovely Alison guides you through putting together a card list complete with addresses that you can use year after year, sitting down and having a good think about things early in the season, and then doing scrumptious things little by little until you wind up on Christmas Eve with a house which is all of a twinkle with the sparkle of candlelight and happiness, mulled wine in hand, peace in your mind.
I am lucky enough to be friends with the lovely Midori Green in real life as well as blog life. She has written a lovely post about planning ahead for Christmas. We both have similar thoughts-if I had to put mine succinctly, I would say that I am all for planning ahead, I just don't want to be bludgeoned with Christmas every time I go to the shops from September onwards! Read her lovely post here:http://midorigreenuk.blogspot.com/2009/09/christmas-planning-part-1.html