40 before 40: Be less of a Grinch

A dad trying to be less of a Grinch with his sons.

It’s fair to say that I’ve made a fairly slow start to tackling my 40 before 40 list. A glut of family birthdays – including my 39th – and the ninja-like nature of Christmas have combined to keep me otherwise engaged.

However, the festive season is the focus of one of my challenges. Namely to be less of a Grinch. While I love Christmas as well as the last week or so before it, I admit to being grumpy about all the hype that tends to start in early November.

So, for this year at least, I resolved to share other people’s enthusiasm for the entire month of December. I decided to be a ‘festive yes man‘. Albeit with the stricture of not breaking the bank.

As the next week will be characterised by eating, drinking and being merry, I think it’s fair enough to assess how I’ve done now.

Last year, we vowed not to put up the tree in early December again. But it obviously meant a lot to the kids, so we said yes. Indeed, the boys were both in their Christmas jumpers writing their cards before breakfast on 1 December!

We also watched Elf a week or two earlier than we normally would and I’ve said yes every time the kids have asked for Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You even though I hate it.

Similarly, I’ve said yes to every request to watch The Snowman. As a result, I no longer feel quite as much sympathy at the denouement as I once did, but it proves that I’ve been good to my word.

We did most of our Christmas shopping online but inevitably had to brave the crowds once or twice. Despite horrendous queues and even more horrendous toilets at our newly reopened local shopping centre, I didn’t snap at a single rude person.

I also didn’t sneer at any of the decorations and even ordered a festive bake at Greggs. Unfortunately, they had run out, but I made an effort to ask for something festive so that counts, okay?

Elsewhere, I joined in with all the festive songs at Rhymetime without complaining. I even got a sticker for being ungrinchlike. Is that a word? It is now!

What’s more, at the last Rhymetime session before Christmas, Santa turned up to give out presents to all the children.

We’re good friends and he knows how much I hate being called ‘Tommy’. So, of course, he did. I still didn’t revert to my old Grinchy ways though.

I’ve even initiated Christmassy activities. We’ve baked gingerbread biscuits, made festive LEGO models and created various things with the contents of the craft box.

So I think I’ve done very well indeed in my efforts to be less of a Grinch. It was tricky at times, but I feel good about it.

In fact, the only member of the household who has been one is the cat.

So far, she has knocked over the Christmas tree and tried to eat things from the aforementioned craft box.

I have to say that this behaviour suits her character much better than mine.

So that’s my first 40 before 40 negotiated. Only another 39 to go.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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