What if I told you that you don’t HAVE to Christmas? How would that make you feel? If it’s even a tiny bit relieved let’s talk for a minute, if you would. I know what this time of year can be like. The stress and pressure, the expectations and traditions to uphold. It’s a lot. It was only a few years ago that I thought I might have a genuine panic attack in a Big W checkout line. I mean, gross.

Then something happened that changed the way we DO Christmas around here.

It wasn’t the year we decided to go a year on/year off with our families. Though, that provided some much-needed clarity around where we would be going and when. Though, that was good. And without grandkids for people to cry over, we were on a winner.

It wasn’t even the year that we decided to host, it was hot as heck, and I did my usual and drove myself insane trying to do it ‘well’. Though to be fair to past me, something happens to me when family and family’s family becomes involved. It’s like all my eldest child neurosis comes together to party or something. Anyway. That year didn’t change everything either. Other than my need for air-con and a pool peaking to about a thousand.

It was the year that we decided to just not. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision or if we were just worn out after a long year. But we bought most things online and wrapped them simply. I shopped for food that we wanted to eat and nothing more. We didn’t put up lights or a Christmas tree; instead piling gifts high on the coffee table in the corner. I bought champagne for myself that I enjoyed and gave no thought to anyone who might just drop by.

Let me tell you, friend, it was a revolution.

You don't HAVE to Christmas - Suger Coat It

Our first genuine Christmas without the weight of expectation on us (real or perceived). We made a giant cheese platter and drank champagne all Christmas Eve. Watched Christmas carols and other cheesy programming and fell into bed early, a little drunk but happy. The next morning we woke slowly. I even took the time to do my hair and makeup, put on an actual outfit with shoes and everything, before we ventured out. Piling gifts lovingly wrapped in no-fuss wrapping into the car, we sang loudly in the car on the short drive.

We still participated, I’m not telling you not to.

But we took a nap when we felt like it. We left when we were ready to go. There was eating and drinking, we contributed with easy to gather goodies or money (an idea Kel’s sister gave me, good one Tammy!). More than once we laughed so hard our sides hurt, loving the atmosphere created by having little people around us. And most of all, we spent a lot of the day cuddled up together soaking up all the goodness of family and each other. I mean, it was Christmas AF.

So this year, if it all gets a bit much, opt out. Say no and choose carefully what you say yes to. There are always more offers, more things, more stuff to eat and drink and buy at this time of year but that doesn’t mean you have to. This is your permission slip to partake exactly how much you want to and not a bit more. You’re the boss of your life, team, make Christmas your bitch. (hahaha, too far? Probably too far. My bad).


Photo by Neven Krcmarek and Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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