Baby’s first Christmas? Ho ho ho. That has just given me the perfect excuse to hardly bother with the festivities at all.
1) Christmas cards- remember those days when you sent Christmas cards to pretty much your whole year group at school and received 140 cards in return to display on your bedroom wall? Now that we’re adults and have to fork out for stamps, we’re not quite so generous with our Season’s Greetings.
Like doing the ironing, I truly believe that life is too short to write Xmas cards. If any of my acquaintances are offended that I won’t be sending them a bit of overpriced card that they barely glance at before leaving it to gather dust on a bookshelf until the 6th of January, I can only offer my back-up excuse which is that I’m suffering from so much middle-class-eco-mummy angst about the impact my recent use of disposable nappies rather than washables is having on the environment that I don’t want to be the cause of the needless death of yet more trees this Yuletide.
2) Family- that’s (allegedly) what Xmas is all about after all (unless you’re religious, in which case I’m led to believe that it’s about something else baby-related); spending quality time with your nearest and dearest no matter how much they irritate you for the rest of the year. I feel that I should make it clear that the fact that we live in a bloody draughty house which costs a fortune to heat has had absolutely no influence whatsoever on my decision to spend the entirety of the festive season at my parent’s house. Obviously I have told them that I don’t want them to miss a single moment of this wonderful, nay, ‘magical’ celebration which is Christmas with their first-born grandchild.
3) Decorations- given that we’ll be spending all of the festive period away from home then it seems …erm… a needless waste of time to go all out on decorating our home for Christmas (or even to bother getting the box of tatty tinsel down from the loft). No tree, no lights. If anyone questions this rather joyless lack of Christmas tat, I have chosen to declare my allegiance to the true origins of Christmas: while the days continue to get darker and shorter so to will my home remain dark and unadorned. Such a shame that the Winter Solstice falls when we’re away otherwise my home would have become alive (and quite possibly ablaze) with many-stranded garlands of fairy lights and innumerable candles.
4) Dressing the baby up- since when did it become part of the Christmas tradition to stick your baby in some fancy dress costume and put their photo on Facebook for your ‘friends’ to coo over (or snigger at your appalling taste)? If dressing your baby up as Father Christmas/an elf/a snowman/Mithras etc., makes you come over all warm and gooey inside that’s fine, but if, in his teenage years, the boy accuses me of failing him as a mother because there are no photos of him dressed up as a Christmas Pudding I shall claim that I chose to abstain from dressing him in comedy synthetic fibres as a way to preserve his dignity and as a mark of respect for his infant self (not that his mother is a bit of a cheapskate killjoy).
5) Food- I’m an atheist vegetarian (need I say more?). I have also yet to discover the appeal of farty-smelling sprouts and have had a pathological dislike of dried fruits since early childhood and thus fail to see that there is any joy to be had from mince pies, Christmas cake, the abomination which is Christmas pudding or indeed any element of the traditional Christmas lunch. My one concession to festive fayre will be the over-consumption of Stilton. I believe that my mother has already purchased some in anticipation of my arrival.
6) Drink- This time last year I was pregnant and weepy (not because of the hormones but because I was stuck in my draughty cold house and couldn’t even get pissed to cheer me up a bit). And this year? Breastfeeding.
Though I will have the occasional glass of wine, the desire to guzzle a whole bottle of Prosecco (oh, and a G&T haven’t had one of those in ages ) while strong isn’t quite as strong as my desire not to cause any potential harm to my boob-monkey (though if I were to follow the advice of Hale (2012) “mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal,” I’d never breastfeed again).
7) Presents- of course I’ll be handing out gifts to those people I really can’t avoid getting gifts for but unlike those excited new mothers who have been posting on baby forums since August asking what everyone is planning to get their little darlings for Christmas and have not only purchased, but also wrapped and piled up under their carefully decorated tree multiple gifts for baby (photographic evidence of which has been available on Facebook for some weeks now) I am planning on getting my 10 month old absolutely nothing for Christmas.
Yep, you read that right. Nothing. He already has lots of books and brightly coloured bits of plastic which he chooses to ignore in favour of playing with plug sockets, the kitchen drawers, the stairs and the dusty bottom bit of our kitchen radiator so why would I spend money on buying him yet more toys that he shows an interest in for approximately 2 minutes? He’ll no doubt be given yet more soft toys and plastic things by the rest of the family and I’m pretty sure that he a) has no concept of what Christmas is; b) will not have any memory of this (or next Christmas) in later life and c) really won’t care that his parents haven’t bought him anything because he’ll be far too busy trying to eat wrapping paper.
Happy Solstice, everyone.