I’ve just come back from a week with friends who might as well be family; this year I played Santa, having organised the secret santa which always consists of thoughtfully made, cooked or thrifted gifts for people we have all known for nearly 10 years. Each year the gifts seem to get more beautiful, the kids get more thoughtful and creative, the joy more lovely to be part of. I adored sitting under the tree this year and calling out the names of adults I love and children I adore and have watched grow up and would do anything for. Having agonised over my own gift making this year, it was lovely to see it well received and hear the excitement around the tree as other opened presents and thought the same.
It’s been a long time now since we had a family Christmas that was anything other than just us; we’ve celebrated alone, for all manner of reasons, since the year Amelie was born. I like it that way, now more than ever since Christmas is always tinged with a little too much sad, but this year it particularly brought home to me just how different a Christmas it is to I had as a child. I loved turning up at my Nana’s and my aunts, the thrill of different food and different decorations, sleeping in a put me up bed, racing down to see who had what. But I love our way too.
This year I seem to have more bah humbug that even the other two years since we crawled through Christmas without our first little boy. I’ve also discovered how much more I expect from this time of year, how much more I want and get. Not gifts really, there is nothing I want that will ever arrive in a box under the tree, but how much I value knowing I am loved, thought of, known and understood. That’s why that secret santa makes me so full of warmth I think, one gift from someone only thinking of me and trying to get it right means a great deal. Being surrounded by people who would notice me wistfully watching a 2 year old boy get a present and press my shoulder – that counts for a great deal.
This year we’ve gone in for the ‘something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read’ maxim for girl gift buying. Actually I do add three more – something to make, something to watch, something to play. And pyjamas. It’s quite lovely to have children who are old enough and discerning enough to appreciate thought more than quantity.
This post happens to be a sponsored one, but in fact I saw this advert a couple of weeks ago and loved the sentiment behind it. My heart melted a little bit at the young man and the hair dryer.
So tell me, in these times of ‘austerity’ and when thoughtless consumerism is leaving a slightly tangy taste in your mouth, what makes Christmas special for you?
Sponsored by Boots.