Christmas approaches. Wild purchasing everywhere. Shops competing with bigger and bigger discounts and price matching. Harassed looking parents with bulging supermarket trolleys and reluctant children in tow. A sense of desperation almost in the air. Will we get it all done in time?
So there’s all of that. And there’s also all around me people talking fondly of family time over Christmas, the board games dusted down from the year before, giggling at the stories that get remembered every Christmas, watching favourite old movies and laughing or shedding a tear in the same places. Lovely to hear people at work talking about this time with young families or the first Christmas their grown up children will be coming home for the celebrations.
Others are planning to help out at the various homeless charities to make a contribution. While others again just ignoring the whole thing.
For us it’s part of a family coming together to make this as good a first Christmas after my mother’s death as we can for our father. Going somewhere different, a country cottage, board games, Christmas pudding, a decorated tree and a visit to the nearby church for some. The first of a new way to celebrate Christmas and be a family.
Mum never was a great fan of Christmas though she liked having her family about her. I remember her making mince pies while listening to Kings College Cambridge choirs singing carols on the radio. The aroma soon filling the house. The first bite while one was still warm. Unforgettable. I can almost smell and taste it now.
We will remember her this first Christmas without her and think of others who will be missing people they love too. It’s a tough time for many. And as Dad lights the indoor fireworks, an old indulgence of his, we’ll remember mum’s disgust at the annual smelly event and her loud sighed “Oh Timothy… Must you?” .
We’ll be looking back fondly and missing mum. Yet we will also be building our new way of spending Christmas, different bits of the family, new memories, new stories with our father. Precious times.
Wishing you all well over this holiday time whatever it means for you.