I am taking part in this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As a new blogger, I truly need the practice and would really welcome feedback. This is my submission for C ...
Yes, I admit it, I'm a tad bonkers about Christmas. I love the decorations, the lights, the food, the crackers, the family gathering, the gift selection and wrapping (especially the wrapping) and decorating the tree. These days, I live in a small apartment and have down-sized quite dramatically pretty much everything - except my christmas decorations. Clearly something is not quite right there.
In the last few years, I've given some thought to why Christmas had become such a "big thing" for me. I realised that I associated it with the happy endings we always see in christmas films - that of love, family and happy ever after. During the final failing years of my long term relationship, I worked harder and harder to make christmas perfect, controlling each and every aspect of it. I so desired the happy ending, that I put on better and better christmas productions each year.
But then I stopped. I said goodbye to the ex, told my daughter it was fine with me if she spent Christmas with her boyfriend's family and woke up on Christmas morning alone. The church bells were ringing as I went out for a walk around my tiny village. Each person I passed greeted me with a cheery wish or a wave. I packed a bag and spent the rest of the day with my parents, It was a quiet day, with no fuss, but they are elderly and I had them all to myself - a rare treat. The family descended the next day and we celebrated with our usual crush and chaos. I'd shed a tear on awaking that christmas morning, but found I'd regained the simple magic and lost the Martha Stewart-like need for perfection.
Christmas has been pared down over the years - my instigation, but one that's been eagerly supported. Now its about the time we get to spend together, the food, the conversation, the wine (for the lucky non-drivers), the silly games and a brief exchange of token gifts - all beautifully wrapped and ribboned, of course! I'm afraid there are some aspects of Martha Stewart that my mother and I have been unable to trim ...
Last year - for the first time - I didn't have a tree as my (utterly fabulous) 6-foot tree would just overwhelm my apartment. So I donated it and rather than going for the minimal twig option, I decided to go my own way. I scoured charity shops and bought vessels of all shapes and sizes - bowls, vases, large glasses - just so long as they were made of clear glass. I made arrangements with my (again) utterly fabulous ornaments, intertwined with lots of short strings of single coloured lights (red, green or white).
I tried to persuade the bloke that it was all rather minimal and tasteful but - in truth - it was probably as maximal as good taste would allow. He twitched a bit - change bothers him and change that involves expensive breakables is probably his worst nightmare.
On the day itself, the bloke and I travelled to be with my daughter and her boyfriend. They're doing up their flat and were still nailing wood over a (worryingly large) hole in the living room floor as we arrived. There was the amount of chaos you'd expect in fitting 18 extended family members into a smallish flat, but my daughter produced a relaxed and lovely meal, her boyfriend was a perfect host, people never stopped talking and we didn't leave till nearly midnight. It was lovely. Really very lovely. I've no idea what will happen next year, but I like it this way.
Do tell me your Christmas tales ...