That's our opener!
Many would say Christmas has lost its real true meaning and is now all about love, family and smiling faces. We have traditions for sure, but each of us celebrate Christmas in different ways and this year, more than any other year, the Christmas season will be unlike any festivities we have known before!
There's a saying in Hull that when you see the lorries and trailers of the Hull Fair community trundling up the A63, you know the horrid wintery weather is just around the corner. And it's true. As soon as you see them, you also notice that the temperature is dropping, mornings are darker and the urge to put the heating on gets stronger. It's mid October but some locals also see that as a sign to start to think about Christmas!
Others wouldn't conceive the idea of thinking about Christmas so early, I mean we've not even had Halloween yet!
A friend of mine is adamant that she will never think about Christmas until after her eldest daughter's birthday on December 3rd. She says it's just not right. Another former colleague has a firm rule to only start shopping on the first of November but she won't put her decorations up until after her son's birthday on December 14th...and her son is married with his own family now but she still won't put them up!
My Mum, well she's a very different story. Even before we'd had Christmas, if there's a bargain or something that catches her eye, she'll buy it as a gift for the following Christmas and store it in her ever overflowing present cupboard! I wouldn't say she prepares for Christmas particularly early, as her tree and decorations aren't up until mid December, but she's certainly not put off buying her gifts early. She's often even wrapped them before the end of September!
In the TLKC studio we differ too. Amy has been revving to get going on our Christmas stock and planning since May. She's been dying to introduce our new Christmassy merchandise and artwork on the website for the last couple of weeks. So shocked was I when she posted it was just 100 days to the big day on our Insta account, that she threatened to come to work in her Christmas jumper just to wind me up! FFS it's only September!! The kids have only just gone back to school and we've not had half term, never mind the Christmas holidays!!
Amy is a Christmas junkie, a Christmasaholic, a Christmas nerd. Whatever you want to call her she is Elf on acid! She'd give Will Ferrell a run for his money any day! When it comes to preparation she's well on with it. Already mentally planning out where all 6 of her trees are going!
Jason is certainly not a Christmasaholic and definitely doesn't plan early. In fact I'm not sure he plans at all! The only person he needs to buy for is me. Just me, just one person. Whilst he'll go up into the loft to get the decorations it's only after I've asked. Whilst he'll climb up the ladder to put the lights on the house it's only after I've nagged and nagged. And whilst he does buy lovely gifts for me and they are all wrapped neatly, labelled and stacked under the tree the week before, that really is all he does. Steady away and not exactly big on Christmas fussiness.
I'm a mix really. I like to get the bulk of my preparation out of the way but I do like to browse amongst the Christmassy aisles and look at all the carefully displayed gift packs that you only see at that time of year (unless you count the school Autumn fair when the ones that weren't wanted tend to appear again?!). I love that heavy arm feeling tripping into the house on dark evening after an exciting Christmas shopping expedition. I then love to unload all the bags in a heap and sort them into the various drop offs that we'll do before I wrap them all.
All that said, anything that I know needs buying, I NEVER leave till last minute. Every year I fly round for last minute bits and EVERY year, my brother teases me because we have to stay up till the early hours of Christmas morning wrapping my Mum's stocking. However whether it be a Nintendo Switch or a Fingerling, the latest Fifa Football or Farting Slime, I'm on it as soon as the "I've asked Santa for it" alarm goes off!
Having a child on Christmas Eve did momentarily throw my Christmas timings a little I have to confess. Firstly he wasn't due to arrive until 13th January so nobody received their gift on time or wrapped that year! But since then, we've learned that you can't leave Christmas preparations, either decorations or gifts, until after his birthday, that's impossible. Instead we get everything ready, but park Christmas festivities for that day and focus solely on him. And woe betide anyone who gets him one shared gift or wraps his birthday present in Christmas paper!
So just from a quick scout round we reckon we have 4 types of Christmas planner: Early Birds, Steadies, Stallers and Last Minute Fliers!
Early Birds: probably already bought something before NYE and definitely going up in the loft in September to start bringing the decorations down. They're the ones with the Father Christmas countdown app on their phone and the ones who start getting excited when they can pull on wooly pullies and get their Uggs out as the weather changes.
Steadies: always keeping an eye out for bargains, collecting and filling their present cupboards all year long and usually buying double because they've forgotten half of what they bought. Tree always goes up 12 days before and comes down 12 days after the big day.
Stallers: like to be well prepared and get ahead so get the boxes down from the loft and buy all the 'must have' toys before anyone else but, always have a reason to stop all preparations such as child's birthday or parent's anniversary and then, and only then, can the real preparations get underway.
Last Minute Fliers: "I can't believe just how fast Christmas has come round this year!" is something they say every year as they race round the half empty aisles trying to cobble together half appropriate gifts for loved ones out of what's left on the shelves. Christmas Eve is always without fail when they are still decorating the tree and wrapping all their gifts.
At The Lovely Keepsake Company we don't care which one you are, as it would be a strange and boring world if we were all the same. Each one of the Christmas Planner Characters we've identified have hilarious stories and anecdotes and makes this wonderful season what it is. We each, all in our own way, enjoy the festivities and we all get there in the end. Some with more time to spare than others, some with more appropriate and welcome gifts than others but all, without doubt trying our best and doing it with love.
Which one are you?.....