Christmas started for us after last posting date, it would have been impossible for it to have started any earlier really. However, by Friday we were down to a dribble of parcels and the last few got sent off on Saturday morning.
It’s amazing how late some people will leave things. (Says the woman who was still shopping on Sunday, but at least i didn’t try to have the nerve to do it online!)
So Friday we mostly spent tidying up this and that and wrapping the various bits we’d got on Thursday night when we’d all gone late night shopping together. That was nice in itself, the kids were lovely, we did the obligatory carousel ride and Josie’s face was just a joy (Amelie sat on a horse who was called Buttercup’s real name, so her cup overflowed with happiness… makes it sound slightly as if she wet her knickers 😆 ) The staff in the M&S cafe complimented me on my children, which i was slightly incredulous about, given they were just being fairly normal; apparently not many groups of 4 children can be trusted to go and pick a table to sit at without adult supervision? 😯 What is the world coming to….? 😉
Over the last few weeks of mayhem, one of the things i have managed to make time for has been story reading and trying to do a few assorted activities around them. We’ve made time for “While the Bear Sleeps” every night, done Christingles with the Beans, talked about various icons of alternate solstice related festivals and generally tried to inject a feeling of something both spiritual and celebratory into the season. I think i have finally come to the crashing conclusion this year that i cannot align myself with the Christian faith, i simply cannot reconcile myself to some of the horrendous decimations of culture that have been performed in its name and in a sense, that feeling has set me free a bit. I don’t think i am ever going to find a path that is for me, but what suits me is to hold in honour and respect the traditions and faiths and stories of the world as a whole. It felt much better this year to read the Christmas story and discuss “the green man” as a pagan figure and talk about light and regeneration and God and glory and worthiness. I thoroughly enjoyed setting up a Nativity alongside a Santa Claus in claret and brown fur holding a bough of yew. It felt much more “right”. We filled the house with holly and lights, berries and candles and talked about improving life for us and for others and honouring the world around us. We sung songs and carols and generally made merry, so to speak. Perhaps it isn’t the true spirit of it, or perhaps it is, i don’t know, but it felt right.
Friday morning i had to dash into Stamford to pick up a DS Lite for Maddy i had managed to reserve at the last minute after Amazon told me they couldn’t deliver ours, after all, until February. Soon discovered why Stamford’s Argos had the most wanted toy in the Kingdom: it’s situated in the parallel universe that Sir Beanalot often visits when you send him over the road. I had directions, which abandoned me 3 miles from where it turned out to be and i followed two other lots to no avail before eventually going into Morrisons petrol station and filling the car up with £80 worth of diesel which i said i wouldn’t pay for till they told me where to go! 😆 Fortunately it was made worthwhile by Morrisons having all 5 of the DVDs i needed on display in the petrol station and knowing where Argos was, and i finally got home with 2 minutes to spare to book a last minute courier.
Never did get round to cancelling the Amazon DS, which arrived yesterday 🙄
Saturday morning is a blur, i must still have been parcelling, but in the afternoon Anna came over to cut everyone’s hair and colour mine. Did a round of lovely cuts but did mine too bright for me, which i didn’t decide till after the 3rd child had asked me when it would change back, so she came back Sunday to lowlight it. Looks great now (for me). While Anna was here the first time, Max went and got a (huge) tree and we set it up and the kids decorated it all on their own and did a fabulous job. Looked lovely, still looks lovely, but i do think it’s funny how a tree in your living room seems perfectly normal before Boxing Day and then seems utterly bizarre immediately after. Maddy has already asked if we can take it down; she’s had a tough Xmas this year 🙁
Max did us a variety of lovely meals over the few days before Xmas Day; one of which was a spectacularly lovely 3 course one on the Sunday night, after we came back from another stint of Xmas shopping (the one with the red knickers.) Also visited my favourite cafe which is run by a chap i sold his first ever mobile phone to, when he brought his little boy in in his pushchair. Little boy now 12, we of course have our 4 and he always looks amazed by them as we don’t go in often and tend to produce a new one for each visit. (Although last time i went in was the day before i stopped being pregnant and he asked me if i was having more… but anyway.) It’s a lovely, odd little friendship, one of those sort of “nod to the greengrocer” type ones that seem to belong the the past now; i’ve always really valued the friendliness of those occasional “hello, how are you?”‘ moments.
Christmas Eve mostly consisted of i can’t remember what, aside from the trip to see Kate, Summer and Madison but towards tea time i took the girls to the local church for an Xmas children’s service. Oldeworldy church with very chirpy young vicar (was a cross between our friend Jez and Ben Elton!) who played Pass the Bomb, Monopoly, Hangman and various other games with the congregation’s children, all with a theological point. It was based around this book and the references to Jesus being the likeness of God in the Bible. Liked it a lot, might even go from time to time although towards the end i did begin to suspect them of the guitar, clapping and hands in the air variety of churchgoers, something that leaves me cold (if i’m anything, i’m a natural Methodist without the teetotalling!) Either way, it pretty much entertained the girls, even if it lacked the gravity of the very ‘high’ crib service we’ve been to in previous years. (Still didn’t really feel up to that this year.)
Came home to a lovely tea followed by Track Santa at Norad, snacks out for Santa (hmmm….. i have suspicions of my elder daughters this year!) and stocking hanging. Had adorable conversation with Josie when i asked her if she knew what was going to happen, realised she didn’t and explained about presents etc. Her face was an absolute picture. With a face full of glee she whispered… “Do you think he might bring me penguins?”
Oh yes, i think he might 🙂