Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Who is Christmas for?

Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents, ” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. Louisa May Alcott ('Little Women')

Ignoring (as so many of us do most of the time) the religious aspects of Christmas, the obvious answer to “Who is Christmas for?” is ‘the children’. But at what stage does this end? In relation to her teenagers wanting a single large present, Expat Mum wrote “I'll have to go out and buy them silly little, (inexpensive) things that probably will never see the light of day again. It makes me feel better.”

We have exactly the same problem. Junior wants some clothes but he doesn’t want to get them until the New Year. So an envelope with money in it is the answer. Asked if he wants anything off his Amazon Wishlist his answer is “No – just money.” Well, hard luck, Junior. Christmas has just stopped being for the children and is now about me and I want to have the presents under the tree – not just mine and Jo’s but some for Junior as well. So I’ll be getting him some things off his Amazon wishlist and a couple of cooking items. He may glower on Christmas morning (especially as he’s not a morning person at the best of times and won’t be looking forward to a traditional sit-down-at-the-table Christmas meal) but I’ll explain that Christmas is as much about giving as receiving and I enjoy giving. (Actually I probably won’t say that I’ll lie and say I had an Amazon voucher to use up – I’m a coward like that.).

The presents, of course, will be wrapped and under the tree. Which brings a further question – who is the tree for? Again, no longer is the answer ‘Junior’. It’s for me. It’s a few years now since he and I decorated the tree together and Jo watched and took photos.

Nowadays I do all the decorating and if I’m really lucky he’ll pop into the conservatory and say ‘Yeah, it looks good’ - but only when he’s prompted by Jo saying ‘What do you think of the tree?’

I think that even if I lived on my own I would have to have a tree and decorations. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree...

Then there is the traditional Christmas meal. Firstly, Junior has difficulty dragging himself out of his den (where his ultra large TV is situated) for a meal. He often cooks his own meals now and almost without exception he heads off to his den to eat it. So the first issue will be getting him to sit at the table with us. The second problem will be that he won’t be hungry. He doesn’t normally eat until some time around midnight so the idea of a meal in the middle of the day won’t appeal. Then we’ll go through the ‘I don’t like sprouts or mash or...’ at which stage he begins to sound like a six year old again. No, without doubt, the Christmas meal is for the adults.

Face it folk, once your children reach their teens the whole concept of Christmas becomes something for the adults. The only consolation is that eventually (and it may be a long time off!) your teenagers will become adults and Christmas may once again be for them.


  1. Meg: "It's so dreadful to be poor".

    Anyway, nice tree. The Man Child is definitely luke warm about the whole thing but the Queenager is beside herself. We are in the midst of a massive snow storm here (USA)and the temperature Thursday will be in the single digits (farenheit, mind you). I'm dreading it, but not her.

    My mother was toying with the idea of not putting her tree up this year (because it didn't go with the new decor). I just wront "Bah humbug" in an e-mail and apparently she's changed her mind, put it up and even admits it looks nice.

  2. Hi Expat Mum, I have to admit that is as far as I ever got with 'Little Women' but they are a great first couple of lines!!! I actually have a Christmas hat with 'Bah Humbug' on it but I should really give it to Junior.

  3. My eldest beautiful daughter (aged 17 years and 9 months) is BESIDE herself with excitement. She has reverted to being 3 yet again. Your tree is bee yoo tee fll

  4. Great post!..and I am going to tell you that I feel better now.. because my kids are now 20 and 14 and the traditions are becoming more "for me"..and sort of a pain in the butt for them.. which breaks my heart alittle.

    *sigh*. But I insist on the traditions, and they will someday appreciate it... I hope?

  5. guilty admission: Yeah it matters to me that the CFhristmas meal features my mother's brandy sauce and the apricot balls I've made since before they (the wombfruit) were born.

  6. I must be lucky but my 28 year old is coming home for a 10 day holiday over Christmas,his last before he marries in May, and he has been e mailing and texting daily with a countdown of days since late November!! Maybe they appreciate all the home traditions once they have their own place? My youngest (10) is exploding with excitement, more that Big Bro is coming home than anything, as she doesn't like any of the festive food except carrots!!! (That's easy, then!) Good luck with yours! I love your post and will call back! x

  7. It is always for the kids...but having said that they assure me that they don't mind if the mahoosive tree isn't up this year, that gifts will be few and far between and the meal not quite up to my usual standards. All three create their own christmas traditions and some carry on those we have shared as a family. If they did not come around neither JP nor I would bother...and would both be perfectly miserable.

  8. Ah, fair Scriptor, I too have one of those at home - A Changeling, he was swapped by the 12th Birthday Yule Elves, no less!

    Ah, and then the grandbairns will come along, and our eyes (and hopefully the bairns')will sparkle again!!! - the quality of the posts here these days is just twinkling like all the lights of the North Pole - Fabulous! x

  9. Lawdamussy, the last Word Verification there was 'genes' - Say it ain't so - That they're genetically predisposed as Teens to despise Santa and the Elves??!