How was it for you?
Quieter than planned, I expect.
I sincerely hope that this isn’t the new normal.
But it’s got me thinking about Christmas traditions, what we do and why we do it.
From when to put up the Christmas decorations to when to take them down again, via what to do on Christmas Eve, when to open the presents and what time to eat on Christmas Day – we probably all do it slightly differently.
And as this was the first Christmas I’ve spent on my own, I guess I’m thinking about what traditions I want to hang on to, and what to jettison.
I always used to read ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ to any children that might be with us for Christmas. I really missed that this year – it’s a wonderful poem and really sets the scene. No-one with me this year of course – that made me a little bit sad. A sort of pleasant sort of melancholy feeling, for times past.
This year I spent Christmas Eve afternoon with my parents. Mum and I have a plan (hope? dream?) of being able to go out for Afternoon Tea when this is all over. But as that seems a long way off at the moment, I surprised them with an Afternoon Tea in the comfort of their own home. I packed up a couple of cool boxes with sandwiches (crusts removed), scones, jam, cream, cupcakes and all manner of other good things, and took it down to them.
Mum managed to take the edge off it a little bit – in response to me refusing to let her help, she asked if this is what it’s like in an old folk’s home? But never mind – they enjoyed it really.
In the evening, I did what I’d planned to do – snuggled up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate (complete with cream and marshmallows). I decided to re-read ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte. It’s my favourite of all the Bronte novels – I love the interplay of a female author using a man as the narrator of the story. And the man in turn telling us what the female characters are doing and why they are behaving the way they are. Very very clever – and makes some very good points about the relationships between men and women that are still relevant today.
On Christmas morning, we always used to open our presents in our dressing gowns. Drink tea, eat breakfast (which can include chocolate if required), open presents. I would have done it this year, but it would have been a bit awkward with the lodger around so I got dressed properly before I went downstairs. Still had the tea and the chocolates though.
Once the presents have been opened, it’s time to start cooking – dinner at 2pm. This year I cooked for the lodger and myself. He brought the wine and dessert. We had prawns with smoked salmon for starters, then duck with orange sauce, roasted vegetables (carrots, beetroot and parsnips – looks very colourful and festive), stuffing, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy. And sprouts. They’re my favourite vegetable.
I don’t think the lodger liked them.
He headed back up to the attic straight after the coffee, and I settled down to just do what I fancied doing. I watched a bit of TV, read a bit. It was nice.
I’ll be taking my decorations down on New Year’s Eve. This dates back to the time when I was teaching – if I left them up until Twelfth Night, I would be back at work and life would be back to being hectic, and taking the decorations down became just one more job in a never-ending list of jobs. And besides, to be frank, I’m bored with them by then. I like the idea of starting the New Year with the house all tidy and ready to go.
How was Christmas for you this year? And what are your plans for New Year?
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