Tuesday 14 November 2017

Is It Christmas Yet?

   Christmas is only 41 days away. Yes, really. 5 and a half shopping weeks. Oh dear.
   I don't know about you, but I'm not in the zone yet; Christmas gifts are far from my mind. I'm not sure what it is, but everything feels a little late this year, and that which has arrived seems to be popping up out of nowhere. The John Lewis advert just sort of suddenly happened, other Christmas ads are trickling out, but that's about all. It's very strange, and my enthusiasm has been slow to set in, too. I am excited, I love Christmas, but I'm not quite ready for it yet. I think when Heart start playing Christmas music at 6am on December 1st, I'm not going to kno what's hit me. Advent calendars (what, a girl can't have two? Chocolate and marshmallows are not the same thing) will probably go three days before being opened...
   Speaking of the John Lewis Christmas ad, what do you all think? Personally, I can see why it's gotten mixed reviews - it was a little strange and I didn't really get the message or story. There's a monster under the kid's bed who he suddenly befriends, stays up all night, falls asleep in school, the monster wraps him a gift, then disappears...but doesn't? I'm lost, to be honest. The monster was more strange than cute or scary, which itself made it kind of creepy, and it didn't feel Christmassy at all. I've worked that last part out, though. The mistake John Lewis made with 2017's Christmas ad is this: the bedroom. Most of the advert takes place in the kid's bedroom, which has no hint of Christmas in it. There's a small tree in the barber's, there's a Christmas tree in the living room, but that's all I really saw. It's been pointed out to me that people don't tend to decorate bedrooms - strange to me, since decorate every inch of the house - but on the other hand, there's a monster living under the kid's bed. Also, what about bathroom ads? No one's bathroom is that big. My point: TV land isn't real, so why not add some tinsel, some small lights or a small desk tree to the kid's room to set a stronger Christmas vibe.
   Yes, I am complaining.

   But, this week, I am trying to get myself into the Christmas frame of mind. No, my Christmas music will not be played until December 1st and decorations will not go up until December 8th/9th, but I'm going to start in other areas. I'm not a particularly social person, but I love going on little Christmas outings once a week as of mid November, in part to get me away from my shop and whatever stress or fret it's burdening me with, but also to experience a little more Christmas. High street stores have wonderful displays, so I love to go out from one to another and look at all the shiney things; I like to go to historical or wildlife locations with friends for simpler days out like castles and forest reserves and so on, and tag along for some easy-walking & disability-friendly outings with my parents. It's simple things, but when you're stuck inside all day every day, any chance to get out should be snatched.
   I also have a few Christmas products to review and particularly festive recipes to test, which I've held back until a more appropriate time, and I think that time has come. I have made half of my gift guides, but they've been quite straight forward to the point that they were suitable for birthdays and such too, so that's not yet contributed. Fortunately, my Etsy Favourites features are usually left until near-last-minute to ensure I'm featuring things that are actually available to purchase. Handmade products can sell out fast and may well be made in low quantities, or be one of a kind. I don't want to advertise a product that will have sold out a week before because it can be really irritating for the would-be customer.

   I admit, though...sometimes I wonder why I get so excited over Christmas. I'm not 5 anymore - indeed, that little Christmas secret was broken to me at 12 (I believed hard) - so I struggle now to find the magic. Don't get me wrong, I do my damnedest to inject magic where I can, and I really do enjoy Christmas, but the fact that it can never be what it once was tends to elude me until about the 18th. The closer it gets, the more miserable I get, until I make peace with it and try to make it the best I can and enjoy the adult aspects of it.
   I blame my parents for giving me epic Christmasses every year.
   Now, though, it can be a stress more than much else, and above all else it's because of my shop. I never know how it's going to go; I used to do quite well, and had the stress of being one person trying to fulfill orders for a few hundred and I'd work from 9am to 11pm on it 6 days a week - but last year was easily the worst Christmas I'd had since I'd opened in July 2011. This year I'm doing a fraction better, but I'm teetering, and it's seriously stressing me out. Fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have a small family and small group of friends, so I have few to shop for and entertain, and while I am creative and can often make something out of nothing, there's only so much that can be done.
   And on that note I'll segue smoothly into an order deadline reminder:

Europe & Worldwide: Nov 27th
USA & Canada: Nov 30th
UK: Dec 15th*

   But, all that said, excited I am, and looking forwards to dipping my toes into Christmas. My first expedition is this weekend, and I have my eye on one little thing I'd like to buy myself once all my Christmas shopping is done, so I have a goal to work towards.



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