Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Totally nuts !

Hello. I get the feeling that something is soon going to happen. Preparations are being made, people are making lists and rushing about getting everything ready. I feel a sense of anticipation in the air, normal day to day routines are put on hold while the focus is on this one annual event. The tension is electric. It's like waiting for an explosion to happen, the fuse has been lit and it's only a matter of time till the whole thing comes crashing down. In just one day it will be over.

I am not part of this ritual, I watch and I smile, glad to be an observer not a participant. I will stand in the sidelines, ignoring the mayhem around me. I quite like these words from the poem If, by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting.
If you can dream and not make dreams your master.

My words.
If you can take control of your life, while everyone else is going bonkers.
If you can speak up for yourself and stick to your principals. No more Christmas shopping.
If you can show tenacity and stick with what you believe to be right. I can give gifts at any time.
If you can stick your head in the clouds but keep two feet on the ground. Be realistic with your money. No cash, no spend.

I read that there was a six hour wait to get out of Bluewater Shopping Centre yesterday. The place was gridlocked, people gave up and abandoned their cars, which only exacerbated the problem. I have no sympathy for these people at all, are they completely off their trollies? Why are they putting themselves through this torture? Totally nuts.

I shall make a trip to Tesco on Christmas Eve about an hour before they shut at 7pm. Hopefully most people will have given up and gone home by then. Not that I need anything, I have enough food in. But there might be a few bargains at ridiculously low prices and it would be a shame to miss them if it's something I normally eat and can be put in the freezer.

Countdown to Christmas, are you ready? Yep, I'm ready, bring it on and let's get it over with. Bah Humbug.

Lots of love,
Ilona xxxxxx

52 comments:

  1. I'm not part of the tradition either, it feels so good to breathe..though I might have a cider on Thursday night.

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  2. I completely agree...Have a happy day!

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  3. I went to Lidl and the Co-op yesterday lunchtime for my normal monthly grocery shop. They were both virtually empty, it was bliss. Obviously everybody was stuck in town doing their xmas shopping.... I feel very superior!

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  4. You are doing exactly the same as those other people ( on a smaller scale). You have just said that you have enough food in and you don't need anything,so why are you going to Tesco ? Same reason as the others. You might get a bargain. I hope you have a Merry Christmas anyway ( no bah humbug ! ) Best wishes to you for the New Year too.

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    1. Hi Caz. Yes, I have enough food in to see me through Christmas, but what about beyond? I have room in my freezer and it makes sense to plan ahead. There is usually food for sale at much reduced prices on Christmas Eve, that's all I will be looking for. It's how I shop all the year round, not just at Christmas. I will not be buying presents, or anything else that I don't need.

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    2. hi Ilona, the stuff that gets sold off on Christmas Eve are usually the perishable goods, that have been on display for a few days anyway. Guess they would be ok if you blanched and froze them. I had forgotten you had had a new freezer. The shops are open on Boxing Day anyway. Do you live far away from shops ?

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    3. Hi Caz. Tesco is 4.5 miles in one direction, and town is 4.5 miles in the other direction. I don't mix the two, it's either or. I have two free hours in the town car park and can walk to the various shops, including Aldi and the small Asda. I am rather hoping I might get some fancy cheeses from Tesco tomorrow.

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    4. Crikey ,quite a way if you don't have a frequent bus or a car. Shopping local would be expensive for you. Have a nice day on Christmas Day. Bet the furry kids will get spoiled. ha ha.

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  5. No bah humbug here. I love Christmas the way *I* choose to celebrate it, and precious little of that involves joining the mass of humanity at the stores, or leaving the house, really. I love staying home, baking with my family,decorating my house and enjoying the results with a nice drink. I love making my crafts. I enjoy helping my kids find thoughtful gifts to give one another. Maybe I am weird, but I tell people, Advent and Lent are not the times to get me to leave my house. Yes, I love the sights, the lights, the Carols. I even enjoy watching others scurry and worry. But, me...not so much. Peace and goodwill to you, and Merry Christmas!

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  6. yes, a super poem there! I like to send presents at different times of the year to people so they genuinely have a surprise! Not just birthday and Christmas, but when I think of something that someone might like (and which doesn't cost the earth in both senses of the world.
    But we've had the winter solstice ... we've got rid of the dire Trick or Treat and Bonfire Night and soon we can take the deckies down and look forward to SPRING!!!
    Margaret P

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  7. we just replace our normal everyday food shop for the week with christmas items so we just spend the same amount on food, I don't know why people make it so complicated, it is only one day, did you see the programme Eat well for less, the couple spend £577 for christmas food, that was just ridiculous! we have treated ourselves to a box of M&S biscuits as it is hubby's birthday on christmas day, Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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    1. I think anything from M & S would be a treat for me, ha ha. Merry Christmas.

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  8. Hooray to you Ilona ! What I can't understand is why the ridiculous amount of food and drink ! We can only eat a certain amount before we explode and the amount of waste there will be is unthinkable ! We do Christmas but in a modest way compared to most and mainly for my adult twins who both have mental health problems as they like it to be the same every year, must be because of childhood memories I think, but husband and I have just spent £10 on each other, but I know it will be one day when we can all relax and enjoy laughs.

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  9. Yep, I have mental health problems too. I don't like all the fuss about Christmas so it is minimal for me. I like my normal routine over Christmas (same as every day) - it keeps me on the sane continuum. Not for me a new sofa, party dress or make-up. Hope you are able to get something to fill your fridge/freezer. Oh, I forgot - I do get a cat Advent calendar every year - that makes my Christmas when I get it out of the cupboard every evening for my little cat. Simple pleasures......Natalie

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  10. Like Jo I haven't spent any more on food. We're having turkey on Christmas day but it was reasonably priced and will provide us with meals until Tuesday. And I used Tesco coupons for most of the shop so we are having a cheap week! We'll enjoy Christmas our way which doesn't include ridiculous overeating and panic buying!

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  11. Bluewater is our local main shopping centre. I can't walk round it anymore, but I go to the M & S, or John Lewis for electricals (they give long, free, guarantees). We haven't been for about 2 months now - but the nightmare of bring stuck in a queue like that fills me with horror!

    There are spaces for around 13 thousand cars - but you all end up in the same few lanes as you exit. It's a beautiful looking centre, but filled with designer shops - a lot of previously Oxford street shoppers go there now. I always think when I'm there about how much people spend - with bags and bags of things over their arms - on credit card? As I need to sit down a lot I watch them pass by - and count their designer carrier bags - consumerism gone mad.

    Often see (so called) 'famous' faces there. Len Goodman's nice though; always smiles and says hello - every time we've seen him he's been in M & S!

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  12. Ah a like minded soul when it comes to the festivities at this time of year, if I could I would hibernate for December. Blue water? Pah been there on my travels with George (from Woolwich) tis a frightful place indeed.

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    1. We take our severely disabled son there as an 'Outing' - as he enjoys it. Long journeys are now proving difficult.

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  13. I buy a few extras in because I will have friends round a bit more. I will not be bargain hunting on Christmas Eve, the freezers are full and I plan a change in my shopping come January. It will be roughly based on the way you shop, I also plan a year of buying as little as possible and most of that will not be new.

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    1. Hey Pam. I like what you are saying here. I too am going to do this. I may not buy the cheapest because I am wanting to buy quality and not support companies that don't compensate employees properly. Here's to buying with a purpose in 2016!

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  14. I enjoy Christmas with my lovely family and buy extra food because I am entertaining, having friends around, being generous with food and love, that is what this midwinter celebration is all about, there has been no queueing, we live deep in the countryside so have a good choice of farm shops or stuff out of the garden, please don't be so smug just because you prefer to be alone, some of us love having time off work and just being with family. Sarah. Dorset.

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    1. Hello Sarah. I hadn't realized I was being smug, that certainly wasn't my intention. My posts are about my life and thoughts, they will not always be in sync with everyone. Enjoy your time off work and your family Christmas.

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    2. Ten years ago I told our extended family I would no longer be buying gifts for them and would, instead, be making a donation to two food banks. I also asked that they not buy anything for our family - everyone complied and happily. For ourselves and our children and grandchild we have a celebration of togetherness with food. We do buy our grandchild a gift (online, weeks in advance) and I give my kids some cash (and since they were brought up by frugal parents I know they'll use it for needful things). No rushing around braving crowds of angry, frustrated, over-extended, tired shoppers. My husband and I also do not give each other gifts at any time of the year. Instead, we give the gift of love and respect everyday. I hope everyone's holidays are happy and that the new year brings peace and prosperity. Feed the children.

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  15. Have a lovely time away from the hurly burly.
    xx

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  16. Ever watch 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' and the frantic shopping and decorating? I have never done the 'Whoville' Christmas thing. I enjoy Christmas but I'm not going into debt for it.

    I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas however you choose to enjoy it.

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    1. I have never seen that Judy. I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas too.

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  17. Christmas should be celebrated in whatever way makes you happy! I enjoy Christmas. Most of the gifts were made and found and being with family and/or friends is the most important thing to us. I wouldn't miss the fun for anything!
    Merry Christmas, Ilona, and thank you for writing your blog.

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    1. And so say all of us - HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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  18. From Elaine near Philadelphia: This year,I bit the bullet and STOPPED Christmas. Instead, months ago I began giving gifts to friends and family as opportunities cropped up, created by me. I ALWAYS said I didn't want to wait until December or a birthday, just liked the idea of showing affection... It sure took the pressure off me this month and I don't feel the slightest bit guilty. I turned 68 in August and I thought to myself that it's about time I made decisions to please myself, to look after my own well being, to stop living my life to please other people. Better late than never! Ilona, stay well and hearty and happy, thank you for your thoughts, and best wishes to all those who "read" you here. I feel as though we're all related in spirit somehow.

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    1. YAY Elaine, good for you. You are at the age where you can do what the heck you chuffin like. Enjoy the rest of your life.

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  19. A traditional but frugal Christmas for us. I make my own homemade pasta for the lasagna as a starter. My husband will cook the turkey, my son the veggies - their Christmas gift for me, a break from the kitchen, seeing I cook all year round. My gift for them is cash for two haircuts each. Greetings Maria x

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  20. I agree with all that you say. Last year I decided to cancel present giving amongst the family as nobody was in the position to buy presents financially. Someone had to bite the bullet. Two of my sons were a bit shocked but as my youngest grandson is 19 he was old enough to understand. We invest in food for the table and a glass of wine (or two) and time to sit and talk to each other. This year they think it's a good idea. I've reached the age that I find it so hard to watch parents struggling with debt to give their children everything. Maybe it's easier for me because I don't have any Christian belief and it's just another day.

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    1. It's just another day for me as well. Enjoy your family day.

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  21. I bought Christmas presents weeks ago mainly from charity shops and have totally avoided town centre shopping and massive queues. Part of my job involves driving so I've witnessed how clogged up the roads have got in the Christmas mayhem. I think its worse this year as people seem to have more money to spend or think they have. I have enough stuff and don't want more. The best present for me would be less pets ending up unwanted in rescues.Kristel

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  22. So feeling very happy. Also shoped today at aldi! No Turkey just a few extra treats with in our budget....beer wine and stolen bites yum. On the day we go out for lunch to my mums she will make pork loin in a cidar crème fresh sauce with mash potatoes and veggies. And crumble for pud!. New years eve lunch I cook and its a roast beef dinner and Christmas pud with custard! And lots of walking! No extra money will be spent......no crazy shopping will be done...looking forward to those two nice meals with family and time with my oh watching TV walking and knitting.... Hope to stay up for midnight with a drink but never seem to manage it...get very tired and go to bed!! Then woken up by fireworks!!!
    Some think I am boring but I am very happy wishing you all well Ginny x

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    1. You are not boring, your Christmas sounds just perfect.

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  23. One of my favourite poems and I love your sentiments. We have very little to spend but will be spending Christmas with our lovely adult children who thankfully feel the same. We will walk our dogs, watch a bit of telly and be thankful for what we have. Thank you Ilona for writing your brilliant blog and giving me loads of good ideas. I look forward to more in 2016. Have a very happy Christmas. Jane xx

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  24. Hi.I like your timely version of the poem and Kipling's original really hits home with me.I respect your choice and smile knowing you'll be home with the critters, walking Rocky,maybe reading a good book, being cozy, and observing the day as you choose.At this time of year,we have, what I consider a simple,meaningful time spent with close family on the eve,with a dinner,(German custom)and I light a votive for those we love that are not with us.Also was able to donate to charity this week.Christmas day is spent quietly at home.I am grateful for it all.Best wishes to you and everyone!D.

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  25. I gave up Xmas 25 years ago and it was one of the best things I've ever done. No cards, gifts, decorations, special food - nothing. No consumer capitalism insanity. It's just another day for me and my husband. We give presents to people and spread the love all year.

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    1. I find it so liberating to say I don't do Christmas. Like you, I love to gifts any time I like.

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  26. I made Christmas presents - Limoncello and florentines. I don't send cards but make a charity donation.

    Cheap veggies and champagne snapped up from Lidl and Aldi - turkey crown for the other half (I'm veggie), otherwise business as usual :) I hope everyone enjoys the holidays however they choose to spend them. XX

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  27. Went shopping last night thinking it would be quiet before the Christmas rush but it was heaving. Definitely will be booking a deliver slot for next year. Whatever you do over Christmas I hope it is peaceful and stress free. Debbie.

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  28. Hi Ilona, I gave up a few things that I used to do out of duty for Christmas. One is sending cards. I don't seem to get many cards any more except from the families who have young children and like to send the photo cards of their kids. I also bought whatever gifts I'm giving but I didn't go to the malls. I ordered gifts online. It was so easy and stress free. Also, with all the loonies out there wielding guns, I felt safer not going to the mall. I'm not hiding from the world but I am being sensible and for me, the online shopping gave me more time for other things. I have three grandchildren so I bought them gifts and filled up their stockings with little things. I have a 93 year old mother who is in a wheelchair and doesn't get out much so I usually buy most of what she needs. I bought her two sweaters and a bracelet for Christmas. That is about the extent of my shopping. I hate all the crowds and fuss. I was brought up a Roman Catholic but I don't practice that any more. For me, Christmas is just a day to gather with my family and friends. My neighbor has no one and she's basically all alone so I invited her over for Christmas lunch. We'll have a drink together and she enjoys chatting with my family. Hope you have a very nice, relaxing day, doing what you want to do. I really enjoy your blog every day.

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    1. Thank you Kearnygirl, I enjoy your comments.

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  29. My Christmas, as my life, has become so much simpler, and I have you to thank for that. Also, I loved hearing your radio broadcast on iplayer, you did really well. and how kind of you to make a bag for the presenter.

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  30. Another one here who has stopped present giving. It did go down like a lead balloon with some family members who do not understand frugal living and bemoan the fact that they are in debt but still spend like there is no tomorrow. We will have a nice family meal and clink our wine glasses in toast to our debt free lives and continued good health. And thank god we don't subscribe to sitting in 6+ hour traffic queues Madness

    Happy Christmas everyone

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  31. Dear Ilona, Happy Christmas and New Year to you. I always enjoy reading here and several years ago, after going into a wheelchair, began to take a page or two from your book. It started with an overall declutter of the flat, then progressed to an overhaul of the finances. Now, I am keeping track of what goes in and out in terms of the weekly shopping, costs for transportation, insurances, pets, etc. Happily, I am now debt-free as I am living on a fixed amount and have begun saving once again.
    Having people such a yourself who understand that this is another kind of freedom has been important. Thank you.

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  32. Merry Christmas Ilona! I am so happy you are doing it your way. It makes it all the better when one is happy and thrilled and not exhausted and near tears. I will be climbing in the oven after I take the turkey out.

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    1. Dear Tana50, I laughed out loud when I read your post. My current joke is wondering what the best mixer is for a little hemlock. (My son laughs, my daughter doesn't, but she still loves her mum.) I mainly do Christmas for myself, and my sweet memories of the work and love my mother put into making Christmas very special (with much "making" rather than buying). As for the religious side, I was raised Catholic, but don't practice religion--too many "church ladies" making life difficult for everyone, for one thing. But I love the story of the baby and the star and animals, and God bless us everyone, even if one doesn't believe in God. And of course, this reply is for Ilona, too, but I just loved the picture of you climbing in the oven--I hope it's gas and not electric! Unfortunately, I don't think I'd fit in my oven any more. Much love to everyone, Kate in Oregon

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  33. I heard about that too, definatley not for me, its enough to make me hyperventilate just reading about it. Were taking it easy here just pottering about getting odd jobs done, we have had 2 cases of shingles in our house and its exhausting us. X

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  34. Never ceases to amaze, people with piled-high shopping trollies, full of food enough to last a small country for a week, I'd bet most of it is in land-fill by New Year.

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    1. It's true about the trolley loads ending up in landfill and its so sad especially when there are people who would be glad of it.

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