This morning I awoke to what is laughingly referred to as my "rest day". Mrs The Millbrooker was still in the frozen Midlands of Bath, and I had only the one day to start and complete all my Christmas shopping. Well at least I didn't leave it until Christmas Eve.
Normally I'm a good deal more organised but with all the upheaval at Millbrooker Towers involving roof rebuilding, furniture reorganising and painting and decorating it all got a bit behind this year.
The morning was spent in frenzied but aimless wandering around Plymouth looking for inspiration. I found my hand often wandering to some bit of sparkly tat or other before replacing it firmly on the shelf from which it came.
Is it me, or is all this rampant buying of rubbish that we don't really want and certainly don't need all getting a bit much? Perhaps I'm just getting more curmudgeonly. Perhaps I'm getting more aware of waste and the need to just stop buying so much stuff, so many things. So many things that end up getting thrown away.
Mrs The Millbrooker and I live in a house filled to the brim with stuff. Loads and loads and mountains of stuff. We don't really need anything else to be added to this mountain of stuff, but here I am considering the purchase of all sorts of nonsensical things in the name of "fun" or "Christmas spirit". I'm very pleased with myself that I resisted almost all of it, but still managed to sort out enough in the way of presents to avoid a monstrous feeling of dread that I'd not done enough.
This makes it sound as if I don't like Christmas; nothing could be further from the truth. In days gone by I was certainly something of a bah-humbug, but this was far more to do with the modern day obsession with tat and over-consumption than with Christmas itself.
Any frequent reader will know I'm an athiest, so Christmas has no religious meaning to me. What I do love about it though is sitting down to a ritualised meal with close family and/or friends; singing lustily at Midnight Mass (yes, I know it doesn't sit well with the atheism, but we've all got some contradictions in our character); enjoying some decent wine and conversation; wearing my top hat in public; saying Merry Christmas to strangers and meaning it; there's more, but you get the idea.
Right now, however, the tree needs putting up. The sitting room is still in a degree of chaos with furniture in places it shouldn't be. I don't have the ingredients for any of the festive meals. We need to print, post or deliver the cards. We need to write the Christmas round robin letter (yes, sorry, we're one of those couples that does one). Why do we do this to ourselves?