As we are all gearing up for the holidays, we may all be feeling some ahem stress. Stress over what gifts to give (always my biggest issue), what parties to attend, how your budget is going to handle the extra out-flow this month, and how to be in a million places at once. And since I’m just as crazy stressed as the rest of you, I thought I’d ask for some advice from a guest poster.
I’m super excited about today’s post, because today we have a guest poster, Lia, who runs the blog “Ramblings of a Singleton” and if you’ve ever checked it out you know that she focuses on making her blog a forum for others to share their stories. So I love that today she is sharing her story. Rambling’s is, as Lia describes so well, a forum for people to share their dating and relationship stories regardless of their status. Whether you’re single, dating, married or divorced, Ramblings is written by people like you, for people like you! From 1 December, it will be celebrating the festive season. Visit the blog, check it on facebook, or follow it on twitter. Now then, on to the goodness that is Lia’s post.
Nollaig Shona Ó: Christmas in Dublin
First off, I’d like to say a big thank you for the invitation to write a post. Mrs Marriage Adventure has twice been a guest writer over at Ramblings so it’s nice to be able to re-pay the favour, especially since this is one of my absolute favourite blogs!
As I write this, Dublin is under several inches of snow; pictured in this photo is O’Connell Street, the main road in Dublin City Centre. Those of you living in those States where such weather would not prompt the raising of eyebrows, please don’t scoff. We do rain well here in Ireland, but snow tends to shut the country down. The thing is, we’re not used to getting it. Up until last year, bookies gave huge odds on a white Christmas, but never had to pay out! Nonetheless, the current blanket helps create a lovely festive atmosphere.
I LOVE Christmas! When I was invited to write a post about surviving the holidays, I found myself thinking, this isn’t a time of year to be “survived” – it’s to be embraced and enjoyed!
Then I thought back to last year … to battling and pushing my way down Grafton Street (Dublin’s main and busiest shopping street), wishing that I had a cattle prod to get through the crowds! Shopping on a lunch break is not to be advised, especially when you have only a vague notion of the gifts you want to buy! I promised myself, I’d never do it again.
So this year, I’ve turned to my trusty iPhone and its wonderful app store. Introducing … Christmas!! There are plenty of holiday themed apps out there at a range of prices, all offering different features. But Christmas!! is my favourite. Not only is it free (!), but it has a handy ‘gift list’ section. Instead of fiddling with bits of paper on which I’ve scrawled info (which I will inevitably forget to take with me), all I need to know is available with a touch of a button (or, more accurately, an icon). Let’s face it: you’re more likely to remember to take your cell with you, than a piece of paper. It even has a status feature with which you can prioritize gifts or mark them off as purchased. Genius! The app also has a pretty cool advent calendar and a games feature that is unlocked from 1 December. And, if I’m being honest, I might just have to test them out too when I’m on the train on the way to work in the mornings.
The point here – even if you don’t have a smart phone – is organisation. Yes, I’ll still be making the mad dash on my lunch hour, but at least I’ll know where exactly I need to go, for whom I’m buying, sizes, prices, ideas, etc. But I think the really key to smart shopping is the internet. Even if you’re not a fan of buying on-line, browsing websites gives you a great idea of what’s actually in the shops and can be all important in that pre-match strategy that’s central to successful, relatively stress-free Christmas shopping! That said, never underestimate the amount of time you have or the size of queues: there will always be the person returning an item; counting out change; or unable to remember the pin for their bank card!
But, I suppose for me, surviving Christmas really means surviving the extended families’ unrelenting need to question my relationship status. I am an eternal singleton and every holiday season I field dozens of questions from aunts and uncles, concerned that I’m going to die alone. Honestly, I’m not even thirty yet! But I’ve gotten pretty good at it. For instance, I’ve learned to side-step the “would you not like to have children?” question with, “have I showed you the latest picture of my God-daughter, Ruby? She’s the cutest little thing”. Shifting the conversation in another direction is the key!
All of the above aside, as I mentioned at the start, I really enjoy the holiday season. Once upon a time, I used to think that Christmas was for couples, and felt that I missed out on doing festive activities because I’m on my own. Now I don’t mind standing alone during the interval of Handel’s Messiah at the National Concert Hall. But even if you’re not confident enough to do that, being alone doesn’t have to mean missing out. St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, always puts on a production of Handel’s Messiah – and plenty of single people go to mass alone. There are alternatives out there!
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, one of the most enjoyable things to do at Christmas is to take in the lights. I love just strolling through town (best done once the stores have closed their doors), hot chocolate in hand, snuggled in my scarf, looking at the lights. It’s amazingly calming. Amidst all the chaos and craziness of the run-up to Christmas, I encourage you to set an evening aside to do the same. It’ll leave you with a lovely, warm feeling inside!
I think I’ve rambled on enough at this stage; thanks for sticking with me!
Nollaig Shona Ó
(Irish for Happy Christmas to all)