I'm winning at this festive season, well that's what I'm telling myself. This year we started shopping for gifts earlier than ever which has taken a lot of stress out of December. We made a list of toys for the kids and stuck to it - a small assortment of thoughtfully chosen ones will hopefully mean smiles for miles after the guy in the big red suit has been. I don't think we're the only parents who made a conscious effort to pull back, pare down and try to make the season fun and meaningful. So far so good.

I haven't handmade a lot of gifts this year (collective sigh of relief from family and friends!) I've made bits and pieces for the kids - a couple of which I've been furiously trying to finish this week. Not having a million projects on the go has been freeing in both time and headspace.

Why is it then when we have all the gifts bought and mostly wrapped I still feel panicky when I'm near a shop? I still feel like I should be buying stuff, consuming stuff, amassing stuff and it's making me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I should be filling the cupboards with food - even though we don't actually host anyone for Christmas dinner and we aren't expecting a ton of visitors. I've never noticed this before because by this stage we are normally still picking up bits and pieces and are caught up in the last minute buying frenzy.

I'm resisting the urge to buy random stuff nobody needs. And focusing on making memories and to be honest keeping everyone calm in the lead up to the big day. I don't want the kids to peak too soon as it were and be too tired and cranky to actually enjoy themselves.

If you too want to avoid Christmas crap in favour of real Christmas cheer I suggest you don't bother visiting Edinburgh's Christmas Winter Wonderland. It has little to offer little ones, glum stall holders, too many sausages and rip off rides. It was good for pretty pictures though so I'll make you a deal. You enjoy looking at these and then go do something you really want to do, m'kay?

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