It never fails to amaze me how quickly time passes and the older we get the faster it seems to go. Here we are 20th December and the Christmas Machine is rolling forward in its usual out of control fashion dragging us all along with it.
As I rush about buying presents,icing cakes, bringing the Christmas sparkle to the house, I feel under pressure and overwhelmed. I will not rest until the last present is wrapped, the last card written and the food prepared. But would I change it ? Not for the world. In our family Christmas represents a time for tradition and a coming back to a safe and familiar place. The continuity of Christmas is as important as the rituals we perform every Christmas Day.
Forget the religious aspect for us it’s about being together with the people we love most in the world. It’s a chance to shut the world out and just be a family. Admittedly as I remain stalwart in my singleness there is no man at my side ( toyboys would not quite fit in those rather large shoes) but it matters not. It’s a time for catching up with old friends and rolling from one hangover to another using Christmas as an excuse for behaving badly. Not that I have ever needed help with that.
When Christmas Eve arrives I exhale and know that we are ready! prepared! Organised! As I look at my row of Christmas cakes and Yule logs all sitting on the table decked with fat little robins and ribbons waiting to be claimed, I feel a great sense of achievement . Not because I made them but because despite another year full of sadness and joy, we have survived and like Christmas life goes on. The cake making is a ritual and one I enjoy. As the kitchen gets covered in chocolate icing and small fingers get involved I take the time to reflect on the year that has passed. With the Christmas songs turned up to full volume I turn the pages of the year month by month in my head.
I relive the Birthdays,the holidays,the successes, the failures, and then there was that delicious Toyboy in July oh and August and…Of course during all of this there was the constant anxiety and worry about mum her failing health keeping me in a constant state of high alert. Waiting ..always waiting for “The call ” the one I knew was coming. As I turn that page a gloom descends the images still vivid in my mind the colours strong and sharp. The circle of life like Christmas is continuous and relentless. Good then to finish the year with a celebration it’s ok to deal with the loss of a loved and move on. It’s not only allowed ! it’s essential in order to survive.
So with that in mind I am looking forward to December 25th which as usual is run to a strict schedule. My recipe for a fabulous Christmas Day goes something like this..
9 Oven on, Open Father Christmas presents With Matilda and Laura Carol Service on TV
10 Get dressed up make up on
10.30 ..Rest of the family arrive (although Rory is often Late) exchange of presents..there are so many this takes a while. bacon sandwiches and coffee
11.30..First bottle of Champagne gets opened Christmas music on a Full blast. Our friends arrive ..more Champagne..
12…More friends..more Champagne
12.30..Kitchen dance..this year we will be performing throughout the day to Pharrell Williams Happy
1 …check dinner more Champagne and coats on to walk through the park to pub
1.30 ..meet with friends more drinking
3 ..walk home from pub check dinner…more Champagne Kitchen dance
4 ish ..Get seated for dinner ( this year 15) eat sumptuous feast prepared by Kate ( Laura does starters I do prep)
6..post dinner slump some TV maybe a nap . .Then more Champagne , Kitchen Dance to liven everyone up.
The rest of the evening is spent playing board games, dancing ,more Champagne and finally the inevitable Turkey sandwiches pickles and cheese. Our day may seem regimented but it works. The rituals represent family traditions that everyone looks forward to . My Children grown up as they are like the routine it makes them feel safe and secure in the knowledge that whatever the up and coming new year may throw at them we will be back here again next year, together and with those we care about most.
However you celebrate I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas and may the new year bring you joy! I intend to go out and find mine.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL