SORRY KIDS I'M CANCELLING CHRISTMAS!
WOMAN'S OWN|November 09, 2021
Fed up with how commercialised the holiday has become, Tess Stimson has taken drastic measures
TESS STIMSON

A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law called me to ask what presents she should get the children. ‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘We’re not doing Christmas this year.’

‘You’ve cancelled it?’ she exclaimed. ‘Why, what did they do wrong?’ But Henry, 27, Matt, 24, and Lily, 19, aren’t in the doghouse. I’ve just decided we’re opting out of Christmas this year, that’s all.

Like for so many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has put things into perspective. Last year, like the rest of the country, we had no choice but to celebrate quietly – there were no office parties or festive shopping trips, or a big festive lunch with extended family.

My husband Erik, 50, and I were lucky enough to have all three of our children, and Henry’s partner Becca, home for Christmas, quarantining in our bubble. We all felt grateful to be together after the lockdowns, and we spent more time doing things like playing cards and board games with each other than we had in decades.

Lily made Christmas cookies, and the boys came home with a fresh Christmas tree and we all decorated it together. I think we all realised how fortunate we were to be under the same roof. So this year, I decided to go a step further.

I’m calling time on the whole commercial, tacky, excessive ode to materialism that Christmas has become. Scrooge? Well, maybe. But I think Charles Dickens himself would be appalled at what passes for Christmas these days.

The orgy of spending, gluttony and drinking that we indulge in every December is truly shocking. It’s no wonder everyone wakes up in January feeling bloated and broke. I’ll be honest, when I first told the kids, they were shocked. ‘Really? No Christmas? No presents?’ Lily asked, disappointed. But then she thought back to our low-key Christmas last year, and remembered that all the effort and preparations that usually go into making one day special are, in fact, over the top.

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