I’m haven’t been feeling Christmas the last few years; I know, I know, blasphemous, but it’s the truth. Just call me the Grinch. I’m 32, I don’t have kids and I just don’t get excited anymore, it’s a strange feeling. However, I won’t bore you all and complain about the holidays, instead I’m going to take you down memory lane and share a few things that made my past Christmases unforgettable and really special.
From the age of five, my younger brother, mum and I all lived with my Nan and Grandad. My Nan adored Christmas, it was totally her jam, and she went all out; the amount of decorations and singing Santa Clauses that woman had was ridiculous. I swear to whatever deity, she had at least twenty of them. Our house had a grotto-like feeling from the beginning of December and I loved it. As soon as the sky began to show any signs of greying, my Nan would insist that all the twinkly lights be turned on and for the house to come alive with decorative snowmen and snowflakes. To say that Christmas was magical was an understatement.
Every year my brother would eat the whole of his Advent Calendar on December 1st
whilst I played big sister and acted extremely cross at his lack of willpower. Then everyday afterwards he’d beg me to share my daily chocolate with him. It wasn’t going to happen, the chocolate in those things are tiny, it can’t be shared, and I was no fool. I never share chocolate. Never. Well, unless it’s with my nephew.
We had tins of yummy goodness on every counter; I’d pick the strawberry flavoured chocolates out of the tins of Roses, they were my favourite, and I’d eyeball anyone that ate one.
On Christmas Eve, before our bath, my mum would let my brother and I unwrap one present. I don’t know why she bothered wrapping them because each year it was new pyjamas but we loved opening them nonetheless. I’m a pj fiend, I’d happily live in my pyjamas so loved receiving new ones. When it was time for bed, every year, probably until I was in my early twenties, my Nan would sing to us as my brother and I climbed the stairs. When we were really little, we’d hum along or sing the odd word because we didn’t really know it but by the time I was ten, I was singing the whole song with her.
Christmas Eve is hereAnd we go off to bedAs we climb the stairsAnd nod our sleepy headsWe take our stockings offHang them in a rowAnd quickly jump right into bedAnd off to sleep we go
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Every year she sang that to us and I promised myself that if I ever have children I’d always sing it to them on Christmas Eve. Children aren’t in my future but I suppose I can always sing it to my dogs! And both my grandparents were dog lovers so I think they’d approve.
As I got older, I’d decorate the Christmas tree for her and she always made out like I’d done the most marvellous job. She came so alive at Christmas and her love for it was contagious.
I miss my Nan and Grandad more than anything; along with my mum and Pops, they made it so Christmas really was the most wonderful time of the year and I guess that’s why I struggle so hard with it now. It’s been almost ten years since we lost her and I thought I’d never celebrate Christmas again, I couldn’t bring myself to because all my memories involved her and it hurt too much. However, I know she’d want me to enjoy it. She’d want me to celebrate and keep her love of the festivities alive.
I’ve got a 7ft tree this year, it’s massive and decorated in traditional colours that I know she’d love. I’m going home to celebrate with my family and I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll always be hard but she was a joyous person and would want that for me, too.
My Nan also celebrated her birthday in December and each year she’d receive a poinsettia from a family member; she loved them, so I’m making that my new tradition. Each year, I’m getting myself a poinsettia in December in memory of my Nan.
Christmas is a time to celebrate but it can also be a struggle; reach out to friends and family, ask for help, and don’t suffer alone.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?