It’s just gone 10 o’clock GMT. Dinner has long since been consumed. The kids are, one by one, crawling off to bed tired, but expectant. The presents are finally all wrapped up and put under the tree. Say what you will about tinsel and lights, but to me the tree never seems to looked truly decorated until the presents are in place. The food has been prepped, wrapped and is currently sitting in our fridge ready to be cooked for the Christmas Day feast. I am sitting sedately at the computer surfing the ‘Net for the Christmas sales. Everyone else may be done with buying gifts, but with two children whose birthdays will be taking place within the next 10 days, I’m still in shopping mode.
On my left side is a bottle of Bailey’s Cream and a small glass with ice. On my right is my hubby, Awesome Dude. He is quietly observing the festive season in his own inimitable style. Watching ‘Public Enemies’ on the telly. Instead of straining my ears to catch the light, sweet tinkling of the bells on Santa’s sleigh, I am being serenaded by the staccato blasts of Tommy guns. ‘Tis the season.
Today while stocking up on bread and milk at the store, I witnessed several shoppers on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Their perfect Christmas was about to be ruined because there were no mince pies, Christmas puddings or fresh turkeys to be had for love nor money. Somehow this was the fault of the harrassed shop assistants. Or so one would think given the grief the shoppers were giving them. ‘Tis the season.
I must have spent at least 40 years trying to get Christmas ‘right.’ Getting the right tree, the right decorations, the right presents. I spent hours picking out the right Christmas cards to send to everyone who had sent me one. I tried to orchestrate Christmas Day so everyone would be in the right place at the right time so Christmas would go just right. Guess what? I never got it ‘right’. And because I felt I hadn’t gotten it ‘right’, I felt guilty for ruining everyone’s Christmas. I therefore resovled to try harder and get it right next year. And the cycle would start again.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally realised that the ‘right’ Christmas is whatever makes people happy. OK, so maybe watching John Dilinger getting a bullet to the brain is not everyone’s cup of tea but…so what? Awesome Dude enjoys these kinds of films. To him, this is the ‘right’ Christmas. The kids are developing lives of their own so they’re not into structured ‘family time’ on Christmas Eve. The oldest is chatting to her boyfriend on her phone, the middle girl is relaxing in a bubble bath and the boy is in his room playing on his Wii. OK, so it’s not a Disney Family Christmas. But it’s the right Christmas for them. And me? Now that I’ve finally torn up my first-class ticket for a seat on the Guilt Trip, I can finally have the ‘right’ Christmas for me.
And what is the right Christmas for me? Anything really. With everything pretty much wrapped up, I can indulge in whatever takes my fancy. I might do a bit of cross-stitch, read a book, have some quality time with the kids on their own, whatever I like. Tomorrow is Christmas Day and we’re going to enjoy it together as a family. And apart as a family.
Well, it’s getting late now. To all of you from all of us here’s to a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Festive Yule.