I have a lot of close friends and family birthdays in October, then my Goddaughter and I both have birthdays mid-November. For me, once all of the birthdays are out of the way I can start thinking about Christmas and Christmas shopping in earnest.
Views on Christmas at Number 27 are at complete opposite ends of the scale. I love Christmas. Martin says he hates it, apart from the fact that he gets time off work.
Last year I made a stand. I got fed up listening to Martin moaning about buying and putting up the tree. So I just said, OK then, we won't have one! And we didn't! And, result, he didn't like not having one, so this year, I am hopeful that buying and putting up the tree will be a joyous event at Number 27, taking place very early in December.
I am a bit embarrassed to say that I am not in the least bit religious and love Christmas for all the wrong reasons. So, here goes with 10 things I love about Christmas:
- Christmas lights
- Christmas songs on the radio
- Putting up the tree
- Christmas shopping
- Wrapping presents
- Curling up in front of the fire with just the Christmas tree lights on
- Two Bank Holidays, three, if you include New Year
- It's proper Winter, cold outside, but cosy indoors
- Eating stuff you wouldn't normally
- Spending time with family and close friends
And, for the bah humbugs amongst you, here are 10 things that Martin doesn't like about Christmas:
- Christmas Adverts on the TV from as early as October
- Christmas music playing in shops
- Old Christmas pop songs, get some new material!
- Having to think about what to buy me for Christmas
- Santa knocking on your door asking for money
- Taking the tree down
- How early it all starts
- Christmas present shopping
- Knowing that it will only be a year before it happens again
This year will be my first Christmas since giving up work and I am really looking forward to a really relaxing and enjoyable run up, with plenty of time for planning, shopping, wrapping and visiting friends. At least all Martin should have to do is to turn up and look like he's enjoying himself.
Over recent years, more of my Christmas shopping has been done on the Internet. It is just so easy. You can find what you want, at the best price, see if it's in stock and get it delivered, usually for free. There are lots of places to find unusual, but really personal, gifts, such as Not on the High Street, as well as being able to find all of the specialised bits and pieces that make the perfect present.
I tend to start tentative Christmas present shopping in Early Autumn. I normally start trying to tune in and listen really well to my friends and family to see if they give away any possible perfect present ideas and, if they do, I make sure I keep it in mind.
Then it's time for list making. I write a list of who I need to buy for, so I can jot down any ideas immediately that they spring to mind. I then have a good look through any bits I've got left over from last year, as I normally end up with a few bits and pieces that, for some reason, didn't get given away.
Then it's a good old browse through the Christmas catalogues for the big chain stores like Next, Marks & Spencer and WHSmith. If I'm struggling I will resort to asking family and friends for their Christmas lists, but it is much nicer finding that perfect something that will come as a complete surprise.
And don't forget everyone - check what wrapping, bows and ribbons you have at home, before you go out shopping. As you can see, it looks like I must have hit the January sales this year and definitely do not need to buy any more - however pretty it looks!
This year I am really hoping that having that bit more time will make the whole Christmas Shopping business a much more enjoyable experience.