As ever, I’ve been rather behind and fraught over Christmas preparations, but we’re getting there.
I’ve been working hard on the first draft for Book 3 of my La Cour des Roses series and I’ve had to be very strict with my daily word count, so Christmas decorating has been a bitty affair – throw a few things on the mantelpiece one day, write half a dozen cards the next, wrap a gift five minutes before I’m due to meet up with someone (although I do take time choosing those gifts carefully) . . . You know the kind of thing, and I’m sure I’m not the only one!
I’m allowing myself a break over Christmas, so I’m looking forward to doing a little baking, drinking a little mulled wine, watching my favourite Christmas movies, and spending time with family and friends. That’s after I’ve finished cleaning the house, thinking about what we’re actually going to eat over Christmas, the gifts I haven’t got round to buying yet . . . Aaargh!
I must admit that Christmas feels a little flat to me this year as this is the first year the four of us won’t be together as a family. My 21-year-old daughter is now living back with us after finishing Uni (although she always came home at Christmas anyway), but my 18-year-old son is abroad for a whole year as a volunteer, teaching novice teenage Buddhist monks in Thailand. That will leave quite a gap in proceedings (although fewer fights over the TV and the chocolate, I suppose!)
Our tree went up last weekend. We do like a real tree, but the problem with having a small lounge is that they take up an awful lot of room. This year, we managed to find a real one that was narrower – great for space-saving, so my husband has given it a thumbs-up.
But neither myself nor my daughter like it quite as much, somehow, so we will be lobbying for a fatter one again next year, I think!
There are many bits and pieces dotted around the house – reminders of Christmases past. I like a little sparkle for the mantelpiece . . .
When I moved out of my childhood home in my late teens, my mother gave me the baubles from our family tree. I loved those baubles. Very fifties, very vintage. But the first year I used them was also the first year I had a cat and, young and naive as I was, I had no idea what a dangerous combination that made. So many of those baubles were shattered.
The few I salvaged, I now keep safe, hanging a small number from this wicker frame over the mantelpiece, well away from our current feline friend, and arranging a few in an antique trifle bowl that belonged to my mother’s grandmother.
I like to have a lot of natural things out at Christmas time – a wooden bowl of pine cones collected on walks in the woods when the children were small, dried flowers etc.
And you just have to have candy canes, don’t you? Preferably hanging from every available perch. They disappear at a surprising rate!
In the run-up to Christmas, there will be the usual visits to family and friends. I’ve already seen a few, so not too many to fit in now. Along the way, we’ll try to go on a few walks – and hopefully get some fresh air and sunshine, if there is any.
On Christmas Day, my parents and one of my brothers will come for Christmas dinner. My mother has dementia and doesn’t like to stay too long, so when we’ve driven her and Dad home, my brother will stay a little longer. He is a real ‘Bah, Humbug’ at Christmas, so we’ll force him to watch a fun children’s movie that he thinks he’ll hate but secretly always enjoys (with the help of a glass or two of wine . . .)
On Boxing Day, my other brother and my niece will drive north from Birmingham for visits to my parents and us. We only see them a couple of times a year, so it will be lovely to catch up.
The day after, we’ll drive to Lancashire to visit my husband’s stepmother, and then his brother and wife.
And then we’ll collapse in a heap, I imagine . . . and it will be back to work at the keyboard for me.
By New Year, I’ll be desperate to take all these deccies down and get back to normal!
In the meantime, I would like to thank all my readers and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂