I’m having a bit of trouble getting in the Christmas spirit this year.
I must confess to feeling terribly unfestive at the moment.
It’s mainly worry about the future, given the economic crisis, which is now keeping me awake from about 4.00 onwards (thank you pre-menopause).
I know, I shouldn’t complain, as although we are self-employed and therefore precarious, we are better off than some – at least we have no mortgage hanging over us. Or even two mortgages, like some of my friends who were advised to buy to let and are now watching money disappear down the drain at twice the speed. Or like another friend whose bank has called in her business loan without warning because of the Madoff scandal. Or another, whose company is down to two-day-a-week working in order to avoid layoffs – neatly slicing off three-fifths of the family income.
However, it can feel a bit unChristmassy generally when you live in the countryside because you’re not surrounded by reminders such as tinsel and lights. There’s not much in the way of lights or decorations in our local villages – at least not during the day (too expensive). You really need to be near a town for access to that kind of thing and since most of us are seriously economising on presents this year, we’re avoiding the temptation of going shopping and all those pretty, enticing windows.
I went to the supermarket the other day and even that was almost empty of people – normally at this time of year it’s packed (I notice too the reappearance of beggars, which I haven’t seen for 12 years, since the last recession).
The economy clearly needs some sort of boost. Today I was reading about Milton Freedman’s joke idea of dropping money out of helicopters to get people spending. Might work, actually, especially if the notes were time-critical. If someone gave me 500 euros right now and said I had to spend it in a week, I wouldn’t have any trouble doing so. In fact I could get the economy moving single-handed!
I’ve managed to get the tree up at least. The French tend to do this earlier than the Brits, many of whom remain superstitious about the ’12 days’. And we’re eating Stollen already, though we’ve put away our Christmas chocolates and mince pies to begin on Saturday – the start of Christmas week – so that we don’t get TOO fat and porky over the holidays.
Anyway, I think we’ll do the ‘ville illumines’ circuit in a day or two and try to get ourselves more in the mood. It can be really beautiful on a clear night. And maybe a Christmas market for some pain d’epice and ginger bread.
Right, off to deck the halls with boughs of holly. If I can find any holly that is. It might have to be cornus this year, but at least it is loaded with beautiful red berries. And maybe put the Christmas Oratorio on the stereo – a bit of Bach might do the trick nicely.