Reclaiming the Christmas mojo: or faking it til you make it
So it's here. December. Season of Goodwill to All Men (and Women and Children.) I think that this year I've lost my Christmas mojo a bit.
Chiswick Boy's birthday is at the end of November and normally serves as a marker between normal life and Christmas. (Eight – eight I tell you! How, how, how have I got a little boy who is eight? In my mind he's still a baby.)
So 1 December really should be a chance to pop the balloons, and the champagne, and bring out the glitter. Only this year I'm not as organised as I was last year. So last night I decided to unpack my mojo along with the tinsel, and get into the spirit of comfort and joy.
Fake it til you make it
I think that one thing with the Christmas Spirit is that faking it til you make it really does work. Yes, trappings are only skin deep. And any Christmas film worth its salt will tell you that the real Christmas spirit is found inside.
(For full Christmas movie experience it needs to be delivered by angel dressed in a suit, or a cute kid with impossibly long eyelashes, or a talking dog.)
But just like slapping on a suit makes you feel you can conquer a job interview – slapping some pomp and Christmas tat / bling on a room makes you feel that you're ready for the Christmas spirit.
So it's trappings all the way.
Here are my favourite ways of faking the Christmas spirit until I really feel it!
1. The wonder of magic – elf
I had never heard of the Christmas Elf before a couple of years ago, when I found threads upon threads dedicated to him on Mumsnet.
He first arrived at our house two years ago, and returned last year.
So we were delighted when Elf (or Elfie as we call him) arrived with some fanfare yesterday morning. Despite his diminutive appearance he managed to ring the doorbell himself, and when Chiswick Boy unlocked the two inner bolts, the three outer bolts, the burglar chain and the yale catch – he was there, covered in North Pole glitter and clutching a handwritten letter for Chiswick Boy and a 1,000 piece Ravensburger Christmas Disney jigsaw.
Elfie does something scampish every night and in the morning Chiswick Boy leaps out of bed to find him.
2. The wonder of idling – A brief interlude on the nature of jigsaws
Slight aside – I'm a bit of a jigsaw fan but only allow myself to do them at Christmas, starting on 1 December.
I don't know why I deny myself this bit of joy the rest of the year – probably my Catholic schooling. If you're enjoying yourself you're probably doing something wrong. ('Why have you got that smirk on your face Chiswick Mum? God can see what you're up to….'. 'Nothing, Sister Agnes.') (Slight break from realism here – the nuns at my convent school didn't really call me Chiswick Mum. That would be weird.)
Ravensburger absolutely do the best jigsaws (and this isn't a sponsored post haha!). The pieces always fit together really nicely, they are all the same size and the picture never falls away from the backing.
If you're not a jigsaw fan then you're probably backing away now thinking 'who is this nutter waxing lyrical about uniformly sized jigsaw pieces'.
But the sense of order appeals to my inner geek. Piece by piece I put together the whole picture – and day by day in December, Christmas also falls into place!
3. Under promise and over deliver
A director at the day job once said to me in a 1:1 (that's work jargon for a conversation!): underpromise and overdeliver – that way everything you do will be viewed as a success.
I think this is hard for me. Is it hard for you? Is it hard for all mothers?
Because I genuinely want to be all things to everyone – and do them perfectly. So I spend most Decembers OVER-promising and UNDER-delivering.
Iwant to be that mother that works on the bric-a-brac stall the school fair, and throws perfect mince pie parties, and arranges a sequence of jolly holiday play dates (I am rubbish, rubbish, rubbish at that last one.)
And I want to the be the person who lives in a clean, tidy, Pinterest-ready house. With no clutter or piled up dishes. Or overspilling laundry baskets.
But I also want to be that creative earth mother who has crafts at the ready for every day in December. Who handmakes Christmas cards for the entire class. Who has a perfect family Christmas photo ready to slip into all the family-and-friends cards. (Cards by the way which are written, addressed and stamped by the 1 December.)
The mother who stays in doing arty peaceful stuff all December. Who also – by some feat of space/time travel – spends all of December going out and about doing festive stuff with family in London. Who also miraculously spends all December making sure she's at the pulse of all things local, and gets involved in everything Chiswick and environs does.
You see the problem?
So this year the last part of my faking it til I make it is to try not to promise to make it perfect. The inner control freak in me balks at the idea.
But here's to faking it til you make it…