Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year despite the work involved and all the mixed emotions. In our home Santa still comes to my nineteen year old son James, because of his ten year old sister Phoenix (thank goodness he loves her!) They also get pressies from good old mum in the morning and after lunch.
On the rare occasions when I was actually Christmas shopping alone, tears filled my eyes because naturally I remembered my late husband John. It was me that had introduced him to a real family Christmas. I remember the look of surprise on his face when there was a stocking from Santa for him. As I walked around contemplating what I else I should buy the children and indeed, whether or not I could afford any more, I could hear John say, “Just get it, honey!” So I did. I was born to shop and born to give, so that is what I have done and I feel good about it. (Some of the shoppers around me may have been slightly concerned!)
To say that the last sixteen months have been a struggle, both emotionally and financially, is a huge under-statement but we are still here and we deserve some happiness and fun. Apart from mountains of toys, Santa also brought Phoenix some new boots and trainers. When she saw them, her face filled with joy and she said, “Mummy, I don’t have to wear the same shoes to school everyday now!” Holding back the tears, I gave her a huge hug. Not once has she complained about missing out on certain things, that she used to have. Phoenix is a truly special little girl. Santa even put chocolates out for me!
A few times, James joined me on my shopping sprees. His main presents really focused on clothing since his appearance is important to him. He likes quality, which obviously comes with its own designer price tag. In one of the shops we visited I felt like Richard Gere in the film Pretty Woman when he took Julia Roberts shopping! I wanted my baby boy to experience the service and to remember what it is like to feel good. It was great to see him smile again and we both had so much fun together, which we both desperately needed.
We had a number of invites to go out for Christmas lunch but tradition dictates that Christmas lunch is at home. My children and I collected the 7.5 kilo turkey from the butchers on Christmas Eve. Don’t panic, it wasn’t just for the three of us, although, there is a lot left over! I just believe a turkey should look like a turkey and not like a big chicken. Whilst collecting our turkey, the children convinced me to buy some fireworks, which I am not a great fan of, but it is Christmas. We then went to a Spanish cafe for breakfast. On returning home I began preparing the honey-glazed gammon and doing all the last minute wrapping-up etc. In the evening we joined friends for a few Christmas Eve drinks.
Christmas morning arrived to screams of joy which sadly are a long time over-due, but I am so pleased to hear them again. One of our Christmas Day lunch guests seemed genuinely impressed by the spread and surprised that I had done it single-handed. Apart from the turkey, which tasted beautiful, we had the home-made stuffing, honey glazed parsnips, sprouts, carrots beans, roast potatoes with a hint of garlic, mash with swede and yorkshire puddings. The bread sauce could have turned out a little better, but it still tasted fine. Naturally, there was cranberry sauce (which I did not make!) and big, fat, juicy gherkins and gravy. The children had their own ‘champagne’ and we, the grown-ups had ours. I’ll be putting the bottles out in stages! Once we had eaten as much as possible, it was time for the fireworks to have their moment of glory. Wow, some of them were really loud. There went a few euros that I’ll never see again, but it was worth it to see the joy on the youngsters faces.
It was a lovely day and James, Phoenix and I are finally beginning to smile and laugh again. We deserve to have happiness return to our lives and we will be sharing it with our real friends.
On that note, I really must go and finish tidying up before going to one of those real friend’s houses for some more festive fun. Have a Brilliant Boxing Day.