I’m a big fan of Yuletide traditions, I have a few of my own.
Every year the kids believe our Christmas tree comes on a slow boat from Norway, traditionally (and purely coincidentally) arriving the same day our local garden centre sell off their misshapen oddities at half-price.
I spend November planning an original, imaginative and crafty advent calendar, and then traditionally, on the 1st of December, text Janet asking her to pick one up from Poundland on her way home.
And I spend most of the year promising to take down last years decorations from the hallway and then traditionally, come December, gloat about how I’ve already decorated the hallway.
But there are some traditions I’m not entertaining.
The Black ‘midnight scuffle over a discounted TV in Asda car park’ Friday for one. Back in my day we had a word for Black Friday. Friday.
But I have a theory on this, because the rise of the Black Friday madness mirrors a far more troubling issue. Something we as a society really need to address. The demise of the bagsy.
There was no higher authority than the bagsy. Everyone knew where they stood.
You saw it, bagsied it, problem solved. No arguments, no stampedes, and definitely no wrestling a granny over a toaster.
And if it was perishable you licked it.
Life was much more civilised in my day.
Another tradition I’m not entertaining is the elf-on-a-shelf. Now I’ve no problem with people who want to out-elf each other on Facebook, it’s just not for me.
I have two kids and a questionable standard of housework. Any elf would need to burn the house down to get his mischief noticed.
There’s also no need for my kids to be spied upon when they already have a tale-telling brother in-house.
And they definitely don’t need to be scared into behaving. If I’m not getting any help over Christmas then I don’t see why the monster under their bed should?
But there is one tradition I’ve succumbed to that I wish I hadn’t. The Christmas list.
I hate the Christmas list.
There was no such thing as a list in my day. I remember writing a letter to Santa with a stub of a crayon; asking for a new crayon.
There was no toy catalogue to look through either. I made do with half-a-dozen pages at the back of the Kays catalogue, and when no-one was looking, sneaking a peak at the lingerie. Page 476 I think. Who am I kidding, it was definitely 476. And there was a nipple on page 481. I’m not proud.
The problem with the Christmas list is they already know what they’re expecting to get, and more pertinently what they then don’t. The unbridled joy of the surprise that I remember as a child has been lost, and that can’t be a good thing.
So next year the traditional Christmas list is being untraditionalised(?) Banished with Black Friday. Shelved with the elves.
And now I’ve got my gripes out of the way I can start looking forward to the traditions I genuinely love.
The night-time walk (and a drive in their jammies) around the neighbourhood looking at the Christmas lights. The trip to see Santa in his grotto. Decorating the tree as a family. The Christmas Eve sprinkling of glitter and porridge oats on our doorstep to guide Rudolph in, and leaving a magic key out for Santa.
But most importantly spending time with family and friends, because when I think back over my happiest Christmas memories they were all family affairs. Well, apart from playing with my sisters Girls World but the less said about that the better.
So if you’ll excuse me I’m off to buy some tinsel and mince pies.
Did I mention I’ve already decorated the hallway?