WHY IT’S THE PERFECT YEAR FOR A REBEL CHRISTMAS (WITHOUT BREAKING THE RULES)

So here it is Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun…if in a slightly strange and socially distanced way. Christmas 2020 may by the year that’s memorable for all the wrong reasons but as an eternal optimist I’m looking for the positives and thinking that this could be the perfect opportunity for a Rebel Christmas… without breaking any rules. Read on to find out why!

Thinking back to previous Christmases and what I’m going to miss this year, I’m picturing feasting in vibrant local restaurants with friends and colleagues, wandering around snowy winter markets with a cup of festive cheer, the whole family crowding round the dinner table sharing terrible cracker jokes, and the seemingly endless wrapping paper mountain being shed across the living room. Possibly what I’m not remembering is the fight over the last bag of Brussel Sprouts in the fresh produce aisle, getting up at 6am to squeeze a ginormous bird in the oven that we’ll be eating for weeks, stressing over whether that snakeskin hat and gloves set really is what mum’s been dreaming of all year and the sigh in the pit of my stomach as I drag it out for yet another rich, calorie laden meal.

This year is going to be different for everyone, whatever Tier you’re in you will be affected in some way by a random and cruel virus that has made this one of the hardest years many of us will ever have faced. And for that you all have my deepest empathy and my warmest wishes that it’s as good as you can possibly make it under the circumstances. I’ll be holed up with my gorgeous other half and his elderly mum, with hopefully the kids stopping by at some point but sadly will be missing my folks and brother who I’ve seen twice all year. But those are the rules and I totally get why we need to keep everyone safe. So although I’m advocating a Rebel Christmas I am most certainly not encouraging anyone to rebel against the rules. So what is a Rebel Christmas?

Well, if you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know Rebel Heart is all about being you, not being alternative or outrageous for the sake of it or to prove a point, but being brave enough to be who you really are in your heart. It’s about sharing those little quirks that make you beautifully unique but sometimes slightly embarrassed. It’s about doing it your way and trusting that if it’s with the right intentions, your tribe will always get where you’re coming from. It’s about doing, saying, wearing, eating, being whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Which got me thinking about Christmas and how much I (we all) do to please everyone else on the big day … whilst neglecting ourselves. This year without anyone else to please it truly is the perfect time to enjoy your Rebel Christmas and here’s how I’ll be spending mine:

JOLABOKAFLOD – I BEG YOUR PARDON?

Nope that’s not me swearing in Swedish – it’s actually Icelandic for Christmas Book Flood and relates to the Christmas Eve tradition of giving books and chocolate to loved ones and then spending the evening with scented candles burning, reading and eating. Christmas Eve can so often be a last minute dash of handing out presents, a mad cleaning blitz of the house and then squeezing in a couple in the pub just to be social. So this year I’m thinking I might not even get out of my PJ’s, spend the day watching some soppy Christmas movies and then laze away the evening toasting Jolabokaflod.

WRINKLE-FREE HANDS

My folks live a couple of hours away so we’ll usually have some or all of them up for a couple of nights, plus we tend to have a Jam Night when friendly musicians bring round their instruments and their left overs and we all tuck in and rock out to a medley of punk, rock & pop. But sadly there will be none of that this year. The upside of that however is less cleaning, no bed linen to change and no clearing up empty beer cans. The house can have a quick flick & a hoover on Christmas Eve and that’s it – I’m not doing anything more than that – the Spring clean can wait for Spring!

BOXING DAY BLUES

The day after the night before is usually either a mad dash to the football (Rotherham United in our case) or mopping up the people we didn’t see on the big day. Whichever it is, it’s a case of up, showered, dressed and on parade reasonably early followed by eating more of the same, drinking and then getting home just in time to crash on the sofa. But this year, we can’t go anywhere, we can’t see anyone, and the shops are shut so I might manage a stroll around the village, but apart from that it’ll be long bubbly bath, books and sofa… although no doubt with the still obligatory cold turkey!

THE TERRIBLE TWIXTMAS

Then we’re onto that weird time between Christmas and New Year when you might have to pop into work one day, although you barely know what day it is, when you’re not really sure if you should still be saying Merry Christmas to people in the street and it’s Baileys and Brandy Snaps for breakfast. Again, it can be a mad dash around the people you still haven’t seen or an afternoon cheering on men in tights at the panto. But this year, I’m predicting walks on the beach, actually taking time to appreciate my Christmas presents as opposed to discarding them in a corner in the busyness and giving my tum a bit of a break from yet more trifle and treats.

GOING OUT BUT IN ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

With the pubs and restaurants closed in our Tier there were no long conversations about where we were meeting, who made the list to be invited, debates about whether we were eating or just drinking and then having to find the outfit that was classy but forgiving after a week of eating. I’m not saying we’re going to eat jam sandwiches and be in bed for 9pm this year (although we might if that’s what we want to do) but it’s more likely that we’ll make ourselves some nice dinner, probably catch up with a few friends with some bubbles over Zoom (in our pants if we want to), head to bed when we feel like it and wake up feeling vaguely human the next day.

It might sound as though I’m being hugely ungrateful for all the Christmases past – I’m not, I would have all of the stress, the organising and the messiness back in a heartbeat if I could. I’m just trying to be optimistic and actually remember some of the times when I have thought ‘Bloody hell I wish it could just be me and the hubbie, on the sofa, in our pj’s for a few days’ because actually this year, that’s exactly what I’ve got! In my Rebel Heart I am the organiser, the one who wants to see everyone and do everything. But actually, there is a little corner of my heart that sometimes yearns for things to be a bit quieter so this year, I’m listening to that little corner and granting it it’s Christmas Wish – but for one year only!

However you spend your Rebel Christmas I sincerely hope it is as peaceful, enjoyable and as safe as possible but also that it gives you a chance to do a few of those things you might want to do, but have never had the chance! Merry Christmas!

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