What is Christmas to me?

December the 1st is the day that Christmas begins for me, maybe someday it will be earlier, who knows?  I’ve had inklings since I was a child, I would end up in the US at some point in my life – it’s something I have always wanted in any case, but never had the opportunity to go through with it. 

I have in actuality had four opportunities, but… well you know about my life enough by now to guess what may have happened to those opportunities, huh?

Well anyway, who knows?

For now, it’s unacceptable for Christmas to start before the 1st December in the UK here by some people and over half of the population thinks it’s unreasonable a week before Christmas!  But hey ho, I am not part of the grumpy bums of the British public; I am one of those annoying jolly types!

So for me, it starts Christmas 1st – I mean December the 1st, how many times do I need to clarify that?  For goodness sakes woman, get on with your post!

Righto!

December the first is when I start putting up the decorations, especially the tree; I have to get it up by then, it simply has to be erected and decorated!  The tree dear, the tree!

I love my bright shining balls just dangling there in the right light – please get your minds out of the gutter, really… think of the children!

But honestly it isn’t the start of Christmas really… I hadn’t thought this post out properly have i?

Because a few days before Halloween is when we make the Christmas cake and the mincemeat for the mince pies, because we have to let it soak in the brandy and mature enough to be just right for Christmas day!  Hmm… yes, forgot about those!  Oh and the Christmas pudding that nobody, including me likes!

I also start buying presents around July to store away – so technically for six months of the year my brain is in Christmas mode.

Ultimately it’s unacceptable to play Christmas music before the 1st December, that’s my thoughts on the matter!

I am going to talk right now like I have no poverty issues whatsoever, because Christmas here sucks – I am talking about all the things I loved about Christmas before I came here and all the things I was excited to share with my children when I have Christmas with a family, but most things never turned out – basically, I am going to write this with as little bitterness as possible… if that is possible, as these days I am finding it hard to hold my tongue!

Write mummy a Christmas list in July, review it in October and write it again by your deadline the 7th December or you are going to be disappointed is my rule to Henry!

Think of anything after the 7th December too bad… well… maybe, but you can’t send it to Santa his inbox is closed after the 7th!

Shh, they don’t need to know otherwise!

I am also very good at talking about things with kids around at this time of year, when I accidentally blurt out a tradition like that and a friends kid writes their list on Christmas Eve because their parents have memorised everything they’ve nagged for weeks – I sit there and change my tune instantly with… but you see the deadline is different regarding postcodes, you see… you don’t live around here, you live there… different rules in different locations love!  Wink to the parent, she winks back and carries it over!

I love kids!

So, we buy edible advent calendars before the 1st December, I have one too, because I never grew up and you don’t want to hear my reaction if you tell me to grow up either and don’t you dare try and sneak my candy away from me and trick me into absent minded eating either, not if you are fond of living!

But that’s not all, you see, because I am crazy and excessive at this time of year, especially when it comes to children I love and adore and worship!

I make little felt stockings with numbers on them and shove them with mini gifts as another advent calendar – before we hit poverty it used to cost me £200 alone for just that!   We did it one year, when I won 3k on the bingo, Henry was 6yrs old, it was the year too, when I bought him a Pendolino train-set.

Spoil my kids?  Not enough!  Not by my standards anyhow!

I also like homemaking things a lot between the 1st and Christmas Eve. 

So, with that done – we then don’t do anything much until the 12th December – when I started the wrong tradition of singing the 12 days of Christmas with Henry every day after dinner, leading up till Christmas.  Only to find out two years ago that I got the days wrong and it is supposed to be sung from Christmas day until the 5th January, which is the twelfth night.  Ho-hum… so we go for round two by then, don’t we, now?

Paul has tried hard to make me only have one round –the right one, since finding it out, but Henry and I won’t have it!

It’s also tradition for me to constantly be on the lookout for new Christmas tree decors the whole month too and add them to the tree every so often as well as adding candy canes and chocolates to the tree whenever I like and yes, some days, not every day, I will allow Henry to choose a treat from the tree after dinner!

We also have instilled impeccable self-control in Henry over the years, where he knows there is only 1 gift coming from Santa and it’s usually the thing he wants the most or the rarest thing he could ask for – this means whenever a new present is bought it is wrapped and put under the tree until Christmas Day – Henry is really good at not trying to peak! 

However, Ray the rabbit is a menace when he is out at this time of the year and we have to barricade the tree because he thinks all the presents are for him!

Oh and that’s another thing, every pet has their own stocking too!

We only go to the local church for three reasons at Christmas, that is to see them put the village Christmas tree lights on, to go to the Christmas fetes or fairs they do and to gift to the shoebox appeal or food banks, if it hasn’t been a bad year for us!

When I lived in London it as quite common for my paternal family to do a lot of charity work around these times, as my family on this side are descendants from the people who founded the Salvation army! So a lot of relatives are involved in that particular charity as musicians and fundraisers. Three of my aunts were also fundraising performers over the years for them. Also my great grandmother was a general for the Salvation army for a time!

My father’s family are very into the charity mindset and I was raised to be that way too there is always someone worse off than you, no matter how poor you are, you have to try your best to still help others!

We are struggling this year, but its not our worse year – we have so far managed to donate three items of food for a food bank and we are hoping to gift at least £5 of our budget to help other worse off locals this year! Meagre, I know but we can’t afford much else!

Paul has always been frightened if I were to become a best-selling author and became quite wealthy due to my writing, that I’d go overboard with the giving, but I am not stupid! He knows I call him a Grinch!

The Winter Solstice is celebrated in this house too, with a special three course meal normally, but this year things are tight and that’s unlikely to happen! 

Christmas Eve is the busiest time of the year or was until the family that liked us, dropped us… because every Christmas Eve we are so busy baking home goods for the next two days, that we can’t waste time or space in the oven to cook our dinner – so being it was the time that we had a lot of guests, we used to put on a huge buffet table and snack on that all day and guests were welcomed to do so too!

Since nobody visits anymore there isn’t a point in doing that, so now it become a boring rush to the fish and chip shop!

I want my Christmas Eve buffets back!

Christmas Eve around 7pm we have a special movie we never miss – it’s a sin to miss that movie!  We simply must watch The Muppets Christmas Carol, It can’t be watched any other day in the month – because of the song “After all, there’s only one more sleep till Christmas”.  After we have watched the movie it’s off to settle things down before Henry goes to bed! 

This is where I would make a special magick concoction with my cauldron (yes I have one of those) filled with porridge oats, silver foil stars and edible glitter and pieces of dried carrot and I will say an incantation as this is the magic dust that attracts Santa’s reindeer!

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

Come and bring Santa on the sleigh tonight

Bring with you Rudolph and his nose for light!

Yeah I know my version sucks – but the kids love it and I got the whole village doing this since Henry told them about it at nursery when he was 4yrs old!

Henry also knows about the magical flying donkey the Italians have and asked why Dominic isn’t up there with the reindeer, I say it’s because he is a spare in case anyone is sick!  That keeps him happy!

So we sprinkle this magic reindeer dust down our front garden path, so it glistens in the night to show the reindeer we’re special folk, not normal humans here!

Also, we take the golden key of Santa and hang it on the reef of our door, because that’s Santa’s special key to get inside as we don’t have a fire place!

Then Henry leaves a treat for the reindeer, because Henry is a body shamer and thinks that Santa will die of diabetes if he adds another cake or pie to his diet and goes off to bed!

Meanwhile, we are baking until 1am, mince pies, strawberry gateau, pecan pies, shortbread – gingerbread houses etc, you name it!

Christmas Day, I am up before Henry!  Weird that!  But I am!

Always am!

6am, tired as Hell – but still up like a five year old raring to go!

Paul has to hide my presents until Christmas Eve because I can’t help myself!

I remember two years ago, they tried to trust me and Henry noticed there was a tear in the corner of his present he got me, and was like “mum, seriously”!  So they took them away again!

I can’t help it!

The thing that makes Paul laugh the most is when I open them, I am very careful with the pretty wrappings to unwrap them carefully and fold the paper neatly for scrapbooking – that’s if it’s really nice and unusual.

Anyway, we unwrap things slowly, taking it in turn so we can all see the joy in each other, until someone has more presents than someone else and we just let them get on with it after a while.  But we like to take turns, so we can appreciate things better and it’s fun to see people’s reactions!

I love giving presents!

We stop after around five presents so we can go and make breakfast, special Cinnamon plum compote on cinnamon French toast, believe me, its heaven and its very much an aphrodisiac!  Well for me anyway…

We tend not to eat lunch because dinner is usually 3:30pm after the Royal speech, my goodness, this will be the first year without Madge.  So sad!

Dinner used to be always excessive and leftovers eaten the next day either in the form of chips and beans with the cold meat or turned into a turkey curry! 

After dinner we all try to encourage each other to play board games… I don’t need encouraging…  and it’s the biggest thing I miss about Christmas.  They don’t like it much and will usually argue a lot over it – so I don’t bother anymore.  Nobody spends time together at Christmas in this house after breakfast; it’s such a boring shame! 

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, in my family it was always the special day where parents spent all day playing with their children and their new toys or going for walks together!

That’s Christmas for me anyway.

Thanks for reading!

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