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.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Get the GOSS!
Your round-up of this week’s biggest showbiz stories
Do your bit for the planet by booking a sustainable, eco-friendly trip as part of your next holiday in the UK
I GAVE MY HUSBAND'S EX A KIDNEY
Debby Neal-Strickland Merthe, 57, is closer than most to her partner’s ex-wife
I'M WORLD SCHOOLING MY KIDS!
When Lauren Elliot, 31, started educating her children through travel, she decided to keep going
How to wear stripes
Our fashion team is here to bust myths and prove that anyone can earn their style stripes
LOW-CALORIE COMFORT DINNERS
Enjoying an indulgent supper doesn’t mean you have to pause your diet, as these recipes from Pinch of Nom prove
WHAT'S NEXT FOR PHIL?
Phillip Schofield is set to celebrate two decades on This Morning, but are his days on the show numbered?
3 easy ways to...change your attitude towards managing money
Financial psychologist Kim Stephenson has worked with Mortgage Advice Bureau to give his tips on how to improve how you feel about your finances
‘IT'S LIKE HE DISAPPEARS'
She’s had the toughest few years of her life, and although her career continues to flourish, Kate Garraway admits the pain is ever-present
‘I THOUGHT MY CAREER WOULD BE OVER BY NOW!'
After 30 years on our screens, Davina McCall is busier than ever
SPINOFFS & ADAPTATIONS
A SWOONY BESTSELLER
The Never-Ending Launch
Entrepreneurship is a marathon with no finish line. Are you exhausted? Henry Rose founder Michelle Pfeiffer knows exactly how you feel.
Root & Ritual
Timeless Ways to Connect to Land, Lineage, Community, and the Self
How Self-Reliant Was Emerson?
Transcendentalism, the American philosophy that championed the individual, emerged from an exceptionally tight-knit community.
ORIGINAL MOVIE Every floorboard creak and unexpected noise will have you spooked long after you’ve finished watching this haunting tale of isolation and what director Adam Salky calls “the terrifying unknowability of people.”
Lily & Charlie's DREAM WEDDING
They do! On Sept. 4, Lily Collins tied the knot with director Charlie McDowell at the Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado.
ERIKA JAYNE: I WANT OUT
SOLAR COULD POWER 40% OF US ELECTRICITY BY 2035
Solar energy has the potential to supply up to 40% of the nation’s electricity within 15 years — a 10-fold increase over current solar output, but one that would require massive changes in U.S. policy and billions of dollars in federal investment to modernize the nation’s electric grid, a new federal report says.
KEN MICALLEF KLH Model Five LOUDSPEAKER
In May of 2019, I heard about a promising jazz vinyl and hi-fi estate sale happening on New York’s Upper East Side. Little did I know then what treasures the dig would yield.