The meaning and perception of Christmas changes as we get older. I’ve noticed many different changes over the years in what Christmas means to me as I do get that little bit older.
No longer do I wake up at 5am, buzzing my little socks off to see what the big man’s brought me overnight. I don’t pen a letter to Santa, don’t leave out a mince pie and carrot and don’t count the ‘sleeps’ until the big day.
Christmas is a lot different now that I’m 26 and live away from home. Instead, Christmas means a host of things including new traditions, having Christmas where I live, then also flying back home to Ireland to also spend Christmas with my family.
It means seeing friends that I haven’t seen since probably last Christmas, catching up with family members I don’t speak to often throughout the year and revisiting old haunts and seeing how things have – most usually – stayed the same.
Losing the magic
Without young kids, it’s hard to keep the magic at Christmas. The excitement for Christmas Day, the list of presents they’re wishing for and the Christmas performances and outings they have leading up to the 25th.
It really isn’t the same when you get older, especially those first few years when the idea of Santa changes. The excitement disappears and more often than not, it just feels like another day of the month.
I guess, for a few years it all felt quite anticlimactic. There’s so much hype and expectation that leads up to… sitting on the sofa watching a Christmas movie and falling asleep after a huge dinner.
Working at Christmas
Plus, as you get older you realise that a lot of people actually work at Christmas. Having worked in hospitality from the age of 16, my Christmas Eves and Boxing Days were mostly spent working in the local restaurant and nightclub.
Not the Christmas spirit I imagined having in my late teens.
Then fast forward to now in an office job and I often choose to work those days between Christmas and New Year’s because it’s always the quietest time of the year and I can work on the sofa with a Christmas movie on in the background and not lose any holiday days.
With fragrance being one of the top gifts to give at Christmas, it’s probably not a shock that Christmas is my most busiest time of the whole year. So while others usually slow down in the run up to Christmas, I’m usually stressed and manic.
Think 7am starts in Selfridges for filming, trying to get influencer content turned around in 24 hours and getting everyone posting and live before mid-December.
Not very festive if I’m being honest.
Finding the magic elsewhere
Since it’s hard to find the magic at Christmas now without young kids and with working most of the time, I’ve had to find the magic in other ways.
Even with the changes to Christmas over the years, it still remains my favourite time of year. The decorations, the music, the festiveness, the city lights – you can’t really beat it.
To find the magic, I make sure to decorate my flat in the lead up to Christmas, to see the Christmas lights around London, to watch Christmas movies and get involved in anything Christmassy happening in work.
These small incremental events and things add up to getting me in the Christmassy mood and help to feel the magic in another way.
Christmas away from home
The second time was again in New York, but our first trip back post-covid where we spent two weeks over the Christmas period in the city.
It’s definitely a quieter time in New York as most citizens head home to spend time with their families, but you quickly realise that since Christmas Day is just a day like any other, it’s not unusual to want to spend it away from home.
Although even when I spend Christmas at home in Ireland, the lead up is usually in another location like London or Liverpool, which is what it’s been in recent years.
It’s almost like having two Christmases which makes it even more fun. But like I said, Christmas is just another day so often it doesn’t really matter where you are, as long as you’re with someone or people that you want to spend it with.
Just another day
This was probably the hardest pill to swallow as I got older. The lead up to Christmas is definitely better than Christmas Day itself.
When Christmas Day rolls around, you probably have family obligations to attend and go around visiting members of your family before coming home to have the biggest Sunday dinner you’ve had all year.
Once you’ve bloated yourself full of food and gravy, you’ll go to the sofa to watch a movie and fall asleep, to wake up a few hours later and continue to eat lots of chocolates and sweet things.
Next thing you know, Christmas Day is over and that’s it for another 365 days (366 days next year).
The best time of the year
I hope I don’t come across as bah-humbug in the above, but I really do love Christmas. Mostly I love the build up to Christmas and spending it super busy at work, but also socially, seeing lots of friends and having many outings.
It’s the best time of the year without a doubt. And I feel lucky to be able to experience the build up in different cities, and to then come back to Ireland to spend a few days with my family and friends at home.
The last few years, we’ve spent the New Year in New York and been able to also experience the Christmas lights and decorations there too. And if I’m being honest, there’s nowhere better to spend Christmas than in New York City.