Merry Christmas

Christmas 11 063

They don’t tell you about
the dark and drizzly dawn,
or the slippery grey slush
should it ever really snow at this time of year.
Nor the hideously over-crowded shops,
or that early-waking panic
that there’s still so much to do.

I wish that it was over.

Neither do they mention
the endless frustrating wrapping
when the sticky tape sticks
only to itself,
the ribbons tie you in knots,
and you find that every single gift
that you bought is
oddly shaped.

I’ll be so glad when it’s over

And did they tell you how
difficult it is to dust decorations?
Or how the tree starts to droop
and drop needles
and baubles to the floor,
and the poinsettia starts to die,
way too soon.

It better soon be over

No-one said that we’d have
nothing to eat for a week
because all that food that
is crammed into cupboards
and covers the worktops
in the kitchen is
for Christmas’.

Oh, when will it be over.

Ah, but did they tell you of the unbridled joy of it?
The shredded un-wrapping paper wantonly strewn about the floor?
the mince pies and mimosas for breakfast?
The jolly music that you were so sick of yesterday?
The luscious smells of long roasting
permeating the festive rooms,
flavouring the laughter with anticipation?

The pulling of crackers?
Silly jokes and hats and clinking of glasses?
The sated sleepiness of afternoon,
watching Christmas specials,
then silly games in the evening
and staying up ‘til three
not wanting it to be over?


Glum Fairy


I’m feeling a bit guilty about this since I actually love our ‘silly fairy’ who is pictured here.  We’ve had her for years, she replaced glum fairy, who does still live in the box (well, you can’t throw fairies out can you?), but never gets to sit on the tree because of her holier than thou demeanor.   Merry Christmas!

I’ve never been fond of the fairy
that sits upon our tree
she looks so glum
with that branch up her bum
I think she’s judging me

She lives in a box in the attic
from new year through to yule
amongst the other dusty things
I suppose it does seem cruel

Her silver dress gets wrinkled
her wings they get all bent
and as for that shiny halo
I’ve no idea where it went

She glares at me from the tree top
as I slurp my wine
and scowls when I pinch the chocolates
that are hidden amongst the pine

She needs to lighten up a tad
start bringing some good cheer
‘cos if she carries on like this
she’ll stay in the box next year

The Christmas Tree Forest



We are lucky that, close to where we live, there is a forest where they produce trees for Christmas.  Traditionally, my husband would take our daughters up to the forest to choose a Christmas tree for us, while I stayed at home and raided the garden for sprigs of holly and tendrils of ivy to decorate the house with.  They would usually be gone an hour or two, spending plenty of time finding the ‘right’ tree – not too tall, not too small, good shape, with no awkward sticky out branches, and bushy right to the top, it also had to be one of the type that doesn’t drop needles all over the house, so they were pretty picky, but they’d always come home with a perfect specimen wedged in the car.  They’d demand hot chocolate to warm themselves up before we set about covering said specimen in so many baubles and lights that you could barely see it anyway.  We always, always, had Christmas music playing and would sing along in loud discordance with tinsel around our necks and baubles hanging from our ears.

The girls can’t get home to choose the tree these days, so me and my husband trek to the forest together. We went last Friday, and for some reason, just saw a tree and thought it would be ok (it is) in less than five minutes.  We came home and decorated it in wistful silence. It looks pretty, but I wonder if I’ll ever stop missing the old days?

A Ghost of Christmas

Every year I buy myself a Poinsettia at Christmas. The shelves of pot plants with their brilliant red bracts (see all you doubters…I knew they weren’t proper flowers) in all of the supermarkets is a sure sign that Christmas is nearly here.  Lets face it though, within a week of purchase, most of those poor plants are languishing and wilting in our overheated, too dark, living rooms.  Mine are really no exception.  Normally I can barely manage to keep them alive until Christmas day.

However, this year I bought a hardy little blighter.  Believe it or not, It still looks as good as the day as I bought it and…yes, we’re halfway through February!! It is a first, so I thought I’d share this little reminder of the festivities with you. 🙂

Pieing Solo


Christmas eve eve and I’ve been baking mince pies.  It’s strange baking christmassy goodies on my own. Up until now my daughters have made the mince pies.  It’s been their thing for years. Initially, when they were small, they played with the pastry by my side, stuck their little fingers in the filling, and basically got flour everywhere. As they got older they started seriously helping out. Cutting the pastry circles and spooning the filling in carefully so as not to get burnt bits stuck on the outside of the tin.  They cut out holly leaves, and santa faces (sort of – they have never quite mastered them!) as decoration, and eventually were able to make them way better than me.

It’s been one of those little Christmas traditions. For the past few years as soon as they both arrived home for the holiday, however late in the day it was, and having not seen each other for months, they’d be out in the kitchen giggling together over the mince pie making, while I sat with my feet up for a bit. Of course, they still ended up covering themselves and the kitchen in flour.

So I was feeling a bit wistful this afternoon, all on my own having to make my own mince pies!

Families build their own traditions around Christmas almost without realising. I’m sure I have carried some from my childhood with me, and so has my husband, and blended together they have made our own Christmas’s special, albeit predictable: Watching Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve, opening presents in the morning while it’s still dark outside, Mince pies and Bucks Fizz for breakfast, Christmas music blaring out all morning, and of course crackers, turkey and trimmings, lighting brandy on the Christmas pud, a nap after lunch, Dr Who and Strictly on the TV, then board games until two in the morning or thereabouts.

This year, the girls won’t be home.  Both working.  So for the first time, as far as we can remember (we traipsed between parents before we had kids), my husband and I will spend Christmas day on our own. I am kinda looking forward to a slobby day, might even be a pj day, but goodness me will I miss my girls.  They are coming home the first weekend in January though, so don’t have to wait too long, and we’re having a proper Christmas then.  Turkey, presents, mince pies…

Wishing all my friends in this lovely blogsphere a wonderful and peaceful Christmas full of surprises and laughter. xx

What’s yours?

I have to confess that this is a fairly recent addition to my long list of Christmas traditions and Christmassy favourite songs.  I hadn’t heard it until about three or four years ago, and since then I have made it my ‘official start to feeling Christmassy’ song, especially this version by the fabulous Mary Margaret.  Of course, I have absolutely no idea who Mary Margaret is, it’s just a video I found on you tube, but you’ve got to agree, the girl has talent!!

Anyway, just had to share it with you (the whole world should see it!!).  I’d love to hear what song brings the most Christmassy feeling to you.

p.s. this is closely followed in my list by ‘The Little Boy who Santa Claus Forgot’ but I didn’t want you getting all depressed 😉

Tell Father Christmas not to bother

October, and already the shops are filling with Christmas ‘cheer’.  For the first time this year though, for us, Christmas is cancelled.

Now, I’ve often thought about cancelling it before. For a start, there’s the hassle of Christmas shopping.  Fighting through hoards of harassed people to find gifts that you know will be gratefully received, but will probably be stuck at the back of the recipients cupboard for all eternity. The queuing to pay, only to eventually be served by thoroughly cheesed off staff who have had their brains fried by the constant loop of ‘Jingle Bells’, and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Frankly, you’ve only been in the shop for ten minutes and you would willing smash the damn tannoy yourself.

Then there’s the long heated discussions about who is going where, and when.  Which mum is coming to us this year? When are we going to see brothers/ sisters/nieces/nephews… ?? Are they coming to us or should we go to them?  Who’s staying over? Will they want lunch the next day as well??

Once decided, there is the happy task of food/drink shopping.  You park in the one spot left in the supermarket car park. The little one.  Next to the bollard that you scrape as you pull in.

You get a trolley with wonky wheels that insist on going in the opposite direction that you want to, which makes you swear loudly, turning heads and forcing mothers to cover their children’s ears. The supermarket is packed with people all standing chatting in front of the aisles that you want to go down. The shop has run out of just about everything you’d planned to buy, and you know you’ll have to repeat the visit again before the big day. Yet still you end up paying over a hundred quid and having a trolley load big enough to feed an army, and somehow you’re going to have to find room for it all in the cupboards when you get home.

You’ll guess I’ve never been a big fan of the run-up, but I do love Christmas eve, when the wrapping is finished, the turkey is ready for popping in the oven the next day, and we sit down to watch ‘Carols from Kings’ with a glass of sherry.

I love the morning itself often dragging everyone else out of bed early.  Even when my daughters were young, they were never ones for getting up at the crack of dawn it was always me waking them

‘lets go and see if Father Christmas has been!’

He always had.

The smell of Christmas dinner cooking while we ate mince pies and drank Bucks Fizz. Playing with the daft games.  Eating chocolates.  Lighting the Christmas pudding with Brandy.  Falling asleep in the afternoon.  Eating some more.  Drinking some more. Playing raucous board games ‘til two in the morning.

Yes, overall, I pretty much enjoy the actual event.

But as I said, this year, for the very first time, Christmas is cancelled.

Our doctor daughters have so far been lucky with their shifts and have always managed to come home for Christmas.  This year though, it’s their turn to work, one has to do a long shift on Christmas day and the other on Boxing day (though they live and work at opposite ends of the country – just an unfortunate coincidence!).  So me and my husband will be on our own.  For one reason or another, we won’t be seeing any other family either.  It will be very weird.

Of course, we’ll try and get together at some time, either before or after the ‘big day’, and I’m determined that ‘our christmas’ will be exactly the same as everyone else’s whether it fall on the  1st December or the 1st January.   I’ll still have to do the shopping and the wrapping. We’ll still have the tree, and the presents and the turkey, and it will still be brilliant.  And I keep telling myself it won’t matter when we do it, as long as we’re all together at some point.

But secretly, whilst being really, really proud of my hardworking daughters, I’m still very sad that I’m having to write to Father Christmas and tell him not to bother to come on the 24th!

Written as part of the Writing 101 challenge – ‘think about an event you have attended and loved and you’re told it will be cancelled – your voice will find you’.

No Ho Ho

Now I promised myself I wouldn’t write a post about Christmas.  Too obvious.  It’s all been said before. It’ll only be yet another tick in the ‘are you a scrooge’ box.  Bah humbug…

But this is relevant.  Honest it is.  It’s about how not working is even more brill at Christmas time.

I’ll be frank, like many others, I dread Christmas, and the overlong run-up to it.  Good grief, even back in September people were asking me if I’d started my Christmas shopping. No I bloomin’ haven’t.  It’s wrong. Starting that early is wrong.  Suppose I see something better nearer the time? Suppose someone asks for something in particular and I’ve already gone out in mid-summer and bought early? And besides, buying presents should get you in that jolly ol’ Christmas spirit just at the right time.  Should.

In reality,  I’ve always left it to the last minute.  We live in a small market town, which is nice, but not especially good for full-on Christmas shopping sessions, so I’ve always had to take a day off work to go to the nearest shopping mall, and a day is never enough. I’m not one to pick up the first thing I see and buy it.  Oh no.  Instead, I’ll make a mental note and go back to it if I can’t find anything else, which I invariably can’t.  It doubles…triples, the time and stress involved.  Then, of course, you ‘re trying to manouevre through crowded aisles with huge heavy bags that are cutting into your fingers and turning them as blue as the air is from the cursing.

‘why don’t you shop on-line?’ you may ask.  Well, this would be a very sensible option, but of course, working full-time, I have never been home to take in the parcels when they arrive.  I don’t know which I hate more, those cards through the letterbox asking me to ring to arrange another time (I’m always at frigging work don’cha know), or ‘we’ve returned your parcel to the depot.’  Which means a trek across town to queue up while a surly post office bloke searches through a mountain of other peoples parcels before asking me for identification which I more often than not have forgotten to take.

Anyhoo, this year it’s different.  This year I have shopped on-line at my leisure, and been at home to accept my post from the smiley delivery folk, all of whom, to a man/woman, are relieved that for once, someone is home and they haven’t entirely wasted their day.

I’ve also ferreted about in the corners of our town which remain untouched by the pound shops and bargain stores, and managed to find some lovely privately owned shops selling unusual and delightful bits and pieces.  It was actually fun.  You actually get to chat to the shop owners, who actually care.

So despite not having so much dosh to spend (perhaps partly because of that too) this year my Christmas shopping has been, so far, happily, relatively stress-free. Now just need to face the supermarket to stock up on a mountain of seasonal food….ho, bloomin’, hoho…