This song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QsR-D1HYnk is one of the best antidotes to those feelings. I really love how peaceful and simple it is. Actually, I have been thinking a lot about simplicity and Christmas and advent the last few days. I am sure I must have mentioned that I have been reading the Miss Read novels, many of which are set in the countryside in 1950s England. I have just finished A Village Christmas which is a selection of short stories, and I was struck by how every day life was simple, so the preparations for Christmas were special by contrast. In particular, the food that was eaten every day was so very different to today. On one hand it is wonderful to be able to get harissa paste and couscous and chorizo and arborio rice in a normal supermarket shop, but sometimes so much variety can be a little dizzying. There is a lovely little paragraph in which Miss Read feels she needs a drink of brandy to mitigate the rising price of butter when she receives her groceries and bill. A lot of the meals are meat or fish served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes. Good coffee follows cheese or fruit for dessert. By contrast, when you read about them making their mincemeat and puddings and cakes in readiness for Christmas, you understand more why they were special.
So, whilst I am not resolving to eat nothing but bread and butter for the next few weeks, it does strike me that it might be nice to try and simplify things during the season of advent this year. Not to go into denial, but just to pare things back a bit. I don't want to never have a coffee out, but for it to be a treat instead of routine. Lots of seasonal vegetables and satsumas, lovely and treats in themselves, and a little less rich food. I like the idea of there being more of a contrast between my daily round and Christmas. I will let you know how it goes!