She's having a really rough time of it lately and nothing we do seems to lift her mood.
It started with a handbag that my brother was buying for his girlfriend. When it was delivered to my mum's office she couldn't help herself and had to have a look at it. Of course she didn't realise that she had a dot of ink on her thumb which very quickly transferred itself onto the stupid bag which very quickly sucked it up like a sponge. Quick side note, Radley handbags made from incredibly soft leather probably aren't the wisest choice for a bag, not if you plan on using it anyway. That little flumox cost her £75!
Then she received a letter from the very lovely people at Disability Living Allowance who are clearly trying to get some money together for the Christmas party this year. Basically my grandfather died two and a half years ago in the early hours of the morning on 22 May. From what we can gather from the letter because he had the absolute cheek to die before midnight on the 22nd, DLA would like their money back for the period 9th May to 22nd May because he wasn't alive for all of it!!! Well needless to say that didn't put her in good mood either.
Neither did the fact that because she was absolutely seething in work over it a woman managed to confuddle her and walk off £157 better off by managing to get away without paying for her electric bill and a postal order. Alright, that one was my mum's fault because she wasn't concentrating but keep in mind that this woman comes into my mum's post office at least twice a week and chats away asking after Chloe and my mum's family and when you consider that her actual change should have been nothing but a handful of coins instead of the handful of notes she ran off, it really makes you wonder what is it about this time of year that brings out the worst in some people!! That's another £157 that will have to come out of her pocket if she doesn't set eyes on the woman again this side of Christmas.
My mum has always had a hard time at Christmas. She gets so wrapped up in the money side of things, somehow convincing herself that the more money she spends the better Christmas will be when in actual fact it always turns out to be the complete opposite, at least for her.
When it comes right down to it, although shops and supermarkets and toy manufacturers would love you to think otherwise, Christmas and money don't really have anything to do with each other.
I'm trying to get across to my mum that Christmas dinner won't be any more special if she buys the huge turkey and cured ham instead of the roasting chicken and a couple of gammon slices at an eighth the price or that Chloe's going to any more over the moon with the £200 go kart instead of the £40 one. Alright, the child said she wanted a Ben 10 go kart because she saw it on tv but I can tell you know she won't give a toss if she gets the plain black one with the 79p sheet of Ben 10 stickers slapped on it and better than that, her day will be the bestest in the whole wide world ever if we let her put the stickers on herself.
Christmas shouldn't be about money, but my mum has a hard time getting past that because when my brother and I were kids we didn't have any money and my mum usually borrowed to make sure there was something under the tree. Ever since then she's never really been able to overcome what can only be described as her hatred of all things Christmas. She's already trying to put a brave face on at a time of the year she can't stand and the slightest little thing gone wrong can send her into the depths of despair.
It's a real shame that something like money has ruined almost the last 30 Christmases for my mum. If I could just get her round to realising what Christmas is really all about.
Now I know that everyone has different opinions on what Christmas is really about, but for me Christmas is that its that special time of year when everyone (including your boss) agrees that you should have a few days off work and be at home. With family. With friends. With loved ones.
Whether you spend it at home curled up under a blanket by the fire, getting fat and merry, or driving clear across the country to be with ones you love. What it all boils down to is having a few days to just be together and no amount of pears covered in gold leaf and used as place settings on your table is enhance Christmas any more than it already is, just by having the people you care most about near to you.