First things first you mustn’t say ‘xmas’. We’d have been killed for that at home. Just imagine the perfect Christmas multiply it to infinity and that’s what we had growing up.
On Wednesday my daughter Shaylyn turns 18 and tomorrow, Saturday we’ll be having a family lunch to celebrate followed by her party, starting at the house before moving to town. A party of teenagers, in my house… Just letting that marinate with you a minute…yes…I know.
In the spirit of that I decided to leave my ‘last week of November, pre-Christmas tidy‘ to next week and I’ve spent the week writing instead. On the 26th of October I set myself a deadline for Christmas, another 10,000 words. As of this morning I’ve written 15,443 so I’m happy, very happy. I always have to beat deadlines but even still this one shocked the hell out of me and let’s face it I’m never very serious about cleaning anyway.
Well for a long time Christmas begins in this house with December. With Shaylyns birthday on the 4th I came round to decorating in time for that plus I love the run up anyway, always have.
I’ve been fortunate to have never had a Christmas without Santy in it, can you imagine? He hadn’t stopped coming to my youngest sib Martha when he had to start coming to my daughter Shaylyn and there’s been no let up since then.
The month ahead looks like a big blur of loveliness. On the 1st decorations go up and my ‘Nigella Christmas’ comes down. I just had Shaylyns last parent teacher meeting and next I have Saoirses first teacher meeting. I have Shaylyns school concert, Saoirses Christmas play and lots of planning and cooking and parties to do.
This year we have no babies (thank goodness) but little ones brim full of the magic and there’s myself and Shaylyn and Adrian all nostalgic over Christmas ads (have you seen the Tesco one?) music, movies and memories.
This time 18 years ago was about college deadlines plus ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Nothing to do with the food just the idea that by the time this milk went off there’d be a baby here. ‘Nine months’, I was told once, ‘nine months is enough time to get your head around it,’ oh dear!
A few days later there was snow, I was holding Shaylyn and walking the floor of our flat in Rathmines. I remember the sun was shining in an old sash window and I had a long skirt and a million things on my mind to do and be done and then out of nowhere it seemed ‘Fairytale of New York’ came on. It was a shock and I think it came on just for me. A reminder, a promise, a guarantee.
Christmas, like life it changes, but it does end up what you make it. Put a lot in, get a lot out, there’s sadness in the changes but beauty too and then you win.
Wishing you a most happy December