It's December! My favourite of all the months! December isn't just about Christmas for me; it's not even about Hogmanay and making exciting plans for the coming year; it's also my birthday month and Steve's and three family members' and several of our favourite friends'. December is all about celebrating the people we love.
This December, of course, is extra special (if less alcohol-soaked) not just because we've got so much to look forward to in 2015 but because (all being well, touch wood etc etc) it's our last chance to spend the festive season as a childfree couple. This means we can sleep as much as we like and eat as many unhealthy things as we want and socialise whenever we feel like it and refuse to socialise whenever we don't and never feel like we're being bad influences or depriving grandparents or becoming burdens on those friends who have historically complained about having children in their homes or worrying about finding babysitters.
We intend to make the most of it. Largely by sitting around on the sofa in our pyjamas and eating Lebkuchen.
As much as birthdays and Christmases shouldn't be about commerical excess, we have abandoned our usual £30 spending limit for each other - this is probably the last year for some time when we'll have disposable income so we're treating each other a little more than usual. We have also banned any baby-related gifts because this year should be all about us.
But that doesn't mean the rest of our celebrations will become all about spending money. I firmly believe that the festive season can be celebrated without spending a fortune on set menus and whisky shots and taxis everywhere. I'm all about the free events (like the Christmas lights parade) and the low key get togethers.
And as much as I feel the Pinterest-prompted itch (incidentally, here's my Christmas board) to smother every surface in fairy lights and sparkles, I'm repeating my usual mantras of "less is more" and "think how long that would all take to pack away" and will be keeping the Christmas decorations understated. Or as I like to think of them: elegantly minimalist.
I'm also refusing to stress myself with self-enforced baking and crafting. If I have the time and the energy to whip up a batch of mince pies, fantastic (I say "whip up" - I've never made mince pies in my life; they look like an awful lot of faff). If I end up buying mince pies from the Iceland down the road, no big deal - they'll taste really good and do the job perfectly well. It bothers me a little how often I see it implied that Christmas is an either/or thing: you spend a fortune on tat or you spend hours making everything by hand. Neither of those works for me. I'm aiming for somewhere in between.
And, as we move on through December, I'm intending to keep that in mind. As we get into Resolution Season when people start loudly criticising their own bodies and hating themselves for their bad habits, I want to focus on accepting not the limits of what we could do if we really, really tried but of what it is reasonable to expect of ourselves.
Because it seems a shame that after a month of celebrating all that is good in our lives, we turn to focusing on all that we're doing wrong.
Anyway, that's not what I sat down to write. I sat down to write about how much I'm looking forward to Christmas films and afternoon tea parties and quiet days at home and perhaps, if we're lucky, some crisp white snow. On days when I don't have to leave the house.
I sat down to write about loving December and those people I'm getting to share it with.
Hi! I'm a 30-something stay-at-home feminist mother-of-one. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland with my toddler, boyfriend and two black cats. I talk a lot about this stuff: