Christmas is for kids so they tell me. Some adults - aka big kids - get just as excited about how many more sleeps it is until Santa comes. I like Christmas, don't get me wrong, I get well into the festive spirit(s), but I don't place any pressure on it. I love choosing gifts for those close to me and fill the fridge with tasty treats and bottles of fizz.
I prepare the same breakfast every Christmas morning (smoked salmon, cream cheese bagel with bucks fizz) whilst listening to Christmas songs and opening very few but much appreciated presents.
It's 10 years since I experienced my first Christmas alone. I was apprehensive and judging by the unprecedented number of calls I received that day, so were other people. The reason I spent it on my own was due to a break-up and imminent move so it made sense.
I had control over when, what and how I did everything. I loved it!
Since then I have spent a few more Christmases single. Some alone, other times I've been practically abducted into people's homes but I am quite happy doing my own thing. If I'm in love it's a great time to share but if I'm not it just seems a lot of pomp and circumstance. Not to mention an awful lot of money.
Even though it's not the first time I don't have a significant - or insignificant - other in my life at Yuletide, there is something new. There is someone who will see the magic of Christmas for the first time. My great niece now understands the concept of Christmas and the fat man in red that delivers presents in one night.
I remember being a child with the lead up to Christmas spent writing letters and making wish lists. Father Christmas even called the house one time to talk to me. Oh yes he did, I even heard the elves working in the background. I recall being mesmerised by the adverts luring me into their fake grandeur.
Boys' toy adverts were best; Evel Knievel performing tricks in sets George Lucas would be more than happy with. Tonka trucks cascading down sand dunes similar to the Arizona Desert, not to mention the Six Million Dollar Man getting all bionic on (re) construction sites.
I managed to wreck my Girls World's extendable ponytail in minutes. (Thinking of this I reckons Madonna based her Blonde Ambition tour look on the GW pre/post ponytail look).
I wasn't a Barbie girl; I preferred Sindy and coveted half of the items in Sindy's World. I was lucky enough to have her bed but I don't remember being overly disappointed at the things I didn't have. I simply don't remember there being the same pressure.
Now I'm older I witness parents pestered by their kids. The cost and peer pressure must be unbearable. There's another gremlin, the emergence since my day of children's TV channels.
I sat with my great niece a few weeks ago watching one for the first time in my life. After each episode of Bananas in Pyjamas or Fireman Sam were adverts aimed at their target audience. The little one sat wide eyed and asked during every single one, "Can I have that Aunty Debs?"
I gave answers which were variations on the following:
"It's very expensive darling"
"I think Father Christmas already knows what he's bringing you"
"It's probably not as good as it looks on television"
"It doesn't come with all that sand you know?"
"You don't want that, it looks rubbish!"
I read the small print at the bottom of the screen with indications of what was and wasn't included at extortionate prices.
Regardless of who Christmas is for, it's sadly a grown-up cost that can become an escalating debt until we - pardon the pun - rein it all in.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters - including myself - may be entirely fictitious.
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