I'm a very, very lucky young man. I'm very quickly starting to get a handle on what that actually means, because I feel like I've taken it for granted.
I'm a grumpy young man. Grouchy? Grumpy? I don't know. I'm somewhere between Russell Howard and Jack Dee (or so I'm told), and I'm not really a huge fan of Christmas. I explained to my Y9s that if Christmas was one week long, I'd love it, but it's not! It's two months long! The build up tires me out and I struggle to get excited about 'The Big Day'.
I'm very lucky. Three years ago, a wonderful, pretty young lady agreed to move in with me. 18 months ago, we got a dog (Rupert and he's mental, but I love having something greet me at the door with all the excitement in the world after a long day at work). 5 months ago the aforementioned young lady agreed to marry me and we're in the midst or organising an incredible wedding in Northern Finland (a week's stay here, with a wedding here and two nights here) with 12 of our closest relatives.
We're very lucky. We got to spend Christmas Day with our loving families, taking the dog over to my parents where we were given presents to unwrap after unwrapping presents at our own home, were fed a wonderful home-cooked Christmas dinner and then left to spend the remainder of the evening in our cozy and warm home, watching whatever we wanted to on our big TV. We were lavished with presents and gifts of money by our families, the same ones that are helping out with our wedding in a large way, and we looked at one another and said 'It's too much'.
We're on the same page. 'It's too much', We don't need anything. We want things (We're not dead!). But we don't need anything. I broke my phone on Saturday and without thinking twice bought myself a brand new 64GB OnePlus One. I don't need it, though. But I want it.
'Black Friday'. My fiancée works in retail and the stories that she has, and those from the news, are awful. Do they need a £100 TV so much that they're willing to cause physical harm to someone?
'Boxing Day Sales'. After weeks and months of buying presents, and a day of unwrapping things that people don't need, they decide that buying more things is what's important to them. It's all too much.
In the last week of term, I was involved in two things. The first being our school's OAP party, where we welcome the local aged population to have a bit of a knees-up and send them away with a care package of non-perishables and a Christmas present. Our Year 10s were nothing but outstanding with them, tending to their every need and staying with them whilst they waited for taxis to take them home. I also organised a house-based staff Christmas quiz, for Y7 and Y8 to 'watch' and support. It was lovely to see so many in the room, after a bloody hard first term, enjoying themselves and letting their hair down. After this, everyone went to the staff room for a leaving speech and a drink and I packed up after the quiz, getting a bit thoughtful.
The long (sorry about the previous) and the short (upcoming) of this is that I think my lack of enjoyment of Christmas is all my own doing, and I'm determined to make this different next year.
* Purchase 4 - 6 'Christmas' mugs from somewhere (ideally reduced in price...) and invite friends over for hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows in the build up to Christmas next year.
* Set up a whole-school 'Secret Santa' on Elfster.com for next year.
* Decorate my classroom, overnight, with a full-sized Christmas tree, fully lit and trimmed for my form's last year in school and to celebrate the end of their December mocks.
* Take a small Christmas treat to each dog at Dog's Trust (It's not their fault that they're alone at Christmas!) and potentially do the same for homeless people with dogs.
* Christmas Cards! And not just to my form next year. I'll send them to all of my family, colleagues and (potentially) neighbours! (Grown up, or what?!)
I asked my parents to cut back with us a little next year. I'm not sure they'll listen, but giving more may put my mind at ease over it! :)