I feel like I’ve been around for quite a while now and as the Christmas Season is upon on I’ve been reflecting on my Christmas Story and I hope you will indulge me as I share it.
A Christmas Story
Once upon a time…ok maybe that’s a bit cliché, but bear with me. A little girl woke up in her bed to the sound of ringing. She was about four years old and next to her bed was her older brother holding a bright red telephone. The old fashioned type with a dial, if you remember them. The little girl answered the phone to hear her other older brother wishing her a Merry Christmas. The phones were connected with a wire and her brother was on the landing just outside the bedroom door. Technology wasn’t very good in those days.
As the little girl grew up she was in a family that truly celebrated Christmas. Shopping started early, presents and food piled up in (not so) hidden places and furniture was moved around to make room for lots and lots of decorations and a huge Christmas Tree. Her Mom would start making Christmas fairies in October, one for each of her siblings. She would use a cheap plastic doll and make it look amazing with crepe paper, pipe cleaners and glitter. Family arrangements were made, and visitors would arrived constantly from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day. A hall would be booked for the New Years Eve party. Her Nan came to stay and most of the visitors were for her, but the little girl had so much fun with all of her cousins. And there were so many cousins. Her Nan had eight children, her Mom had seven siblings, all those siblings had at least one child, most had more.
Christmas dinner growing up was always huge, so much food, a table full, and crackers and wine. They didn’t start eating until after the Queen’s speech on the television. Then after it was over they’d have a running buffet of constant food over the next few days. There was always trifle, cheese, crackers and pickle. Everyone who visited was tempted food galore. This type of Christmas continued right up until her Nan passed away at the age of 86 and long after the little girl had left home.
As a teenager, the girl spent Christmas Eve in the pub having fun with her boyfriend and friends and getting very drunk. Christmas dinner was still spent at home though, and no-lie in allowed on Christmas day. Then when the girl married and had her own family she would become one of the Christmas visitors. A couple of times her husband had dropped off her and her kids to visit on Christmas morning and then ‘forget’ to pick her up so she ended up spending Christmas back at home.
The girl tried her best to make Christmas as special for her kids while they were growing up as hers had been, and she did a pretty good job. When she became a single parent she started taking the children back to her Mom’s home for Christmas. But then Nan passed away and things started to change.
The girl spent many years not speaking to her Mom after something happened and was revealed at a family New Years party. It spoiled Christmas for a long time. The girl was now a grown woman and her children were tweens, but she she still tried to make it special for them.
Then she met a new man and family parties were arranged at her home. Some were successful, some not. She didn’t have the same party planning skills as her Mom no matter how hard she tried. After a couple of years she was given an extra special Christmas present, a positive pregnancy test. After 16 years she was expecting another baby.
Many things have changed for the woman now. She is much older and her children are growing so fast. She stops to wonder where the time went. She is now a Mom to five. She did make up with her own Mom tentatively after five years apart, but it was never the same. The year that they had planned to spend some time at Christmas her Mom didn’t go to plan. A month before, her Mom had been admitted to hospital, two weeks before Christmas they were told she was dying and there was nothing that could be done. She passed on Christmas Day. It was quick and brutal.
A few years late her little daughter Star, spent her Christmas in and out of hospital and fitted with a surgical halo. It was a tough time but they made it through and although Star still has the scars, it’s hard to believe it happened now.
Seven years later there was another Christmas passing, when her new partner’s Dad died on December 29th just as she had got him to hospital. Then a couple of days later she was back at the hospital and became ill with a condition she will have for the rest of her life.
A Christmas Story
So that’s my Christmas story so far. Christmas for us is about being as normal as possible. We try to have traditions, we try to make it special. We don’t have a huge build up. If you asked my kid’s now they probably would know that Christmas is near, but be surprised that it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow. We keep it calm, there is little excitement. We haven’t had a Christmas party for many years and haven’t been to many either. We rarely have visitors at Christmas. We see Graham’s Mom and his brother comes up from Dorset (well he didn’t last year because of Covid.) But it’s only one day. I usually see my eldest brother for a little while, but I don’t really see much of My family. I visit the important ones in the cemetery on Christmas Eve, that’s Mom, Dad and Nan. They are all together along with my Little Brother (Who also died at Christmas.)
Christmas can be tough for a lot of people, some are lonely, some are grieving, some have disabled children who just can’t cope with everything. I have a bit of everything along with my physical decline. I’ve given up trying to be my Mom or Nan and we ‘do’ Christmas our way, and mostly, it works.
However you do Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful time. And fingers crossed that 2022 starts to get a little better and we find a way of living with the pandemic that has ruined the past couple of years.
We have some wonderful Christmas Memories and you can read about them on this older post Merry Christmas Through the Years