Well I have survived another Christmas – a time of year I used to love so much. And as my boys got stuck into their stockings at 10.30, I was wistfully reminiscing about the years when they would rush in our room at 4am shouting “He’s been! he’s been!” Now soon after the stockings are demolished they leave to go to their father and the family I was once so close to.
My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I used to take it in turns to host Christmas Day and we all had different roles. MIL generally supplied the turkey, the pudding and the Christmas cake. SIL and I shared doing canapés nibbles, starters, buying crackers and so forth. It was always a joy to watch MIL and SIL make the traditional brandy butter together and I swear every year it got more boozy! The three of us worked well around each other with carols blaring and a glass or two of wine to help us all along. FIL always made the red cabbage and everyone had to have at least one sprout and eat it! The MIL hostess trolley was duly taken to whichever house it was needed in and by golly that thing was a Godsend!
And I am sure that all these traditions still go on without me…
However this year both MIL and FIL were quite poorly and my niece was helping with the cooking. This is one of the reasons I am more than happy that the boys spend Christmas with their father and his parents, as I don’t know how much longer they will have their grandparents and they are all very close. It was always our tradition that Christmas Day was with his family and then we went to my family in Sussex for a few days. And this has continued in the fact I always see my brother and his family on Boxing Day. Apart from last year when I was away over Christmas with BackPacking Granny for which I will never be forgiven!
This year I was invited to spend Christmas with a girlfriend and her family – it was wonderful – relaxed, informal with terrific food – which we carefully staggered! Starter – followed by the Queen’s speech. Main – then a little snooze on the sofa! Christmas pudding was watching Strictly Come Dancing and finally an amazing cheeseboard with Call the Midwife!
And although I was in bed in the house alone on Christmas night, the house was full on Boxing Day. I cooked my own turkey on Christmas Eve and we had a huge ham, pickles, cold sausages and cheeses – and played lots of parlour games. Took the dog out and all crashed to a Christmas movie where I watched in awe at how quickly four young adults (my boys and my nieces) could demolish a tub of Celebrations!
I still dread Christmas every year, just because it always brings back the happier memories of being part of a family. I loathe the Christmas adverts and the pages in the supplements boasting the perfect Christmas – it all looks so twee and smug. But Christmas this year was joyful and warm. I spent it with people I may not be connected to by marriage or blood, but they love and care about me very much.
I look to 2018 full of hope and wish everyone a peaceful and happy New Year.