The Christmas activities are keeping me busy.
The tree was up by December 1st – the first time in my life it has ever gone up so early. As a child, our tree would go up on Christmas Eve, though I’d managed to get it to a week before the big day by the time I was eighteen (I’m a persistent and successful nag). Dad and my Little Brother and I would put it up. Mum never helped. Too exhausted from all the shopping and cooking and wrapping and entertaining and working two jobs, I guess.
The Hub and I have always put the tree up on December 11th, exactly two weeks before. It’s enough, we feel. It gives us time to start speaking to each other after the enormous row over the correct positioning of tinsel (not up some people’s posteriors, as certain spouses insist). Because of his worsening M.E., the Hub’s help in the last few years has been nominal, an honorary directing role, in which the cast never listen (why change the habits of a lifetime?). The boys always helped me so I didn’t mind his slacking.
The past two years, it’s been just me. The boys are too grown up now. I think you can never be too grown up for Christmas, but I’m not a teenage boy/young working man so what do I know? However, they’re not too old when it comes to advent calendars and stockings on Christmas Eve. I emailed Tory Boy (22) to ask him if he was bothered about having an advent calendar. He replied:
Of course I’m bothered about an advent calendar! I will be expecting one each year until I have kids, when I shall be expecting one for each of us then.
My kid talking about having kids! I feel old. When my Mum was alive she would say the same thing when she bought the advent calendars for the boys and me.
As I am starting to feel my age and have to pace myself a little more, I took three days to put up the tree. It has individual branches so just erecting it takes a couple of hours. Lights and tinsel go on next; then the ornaments. It’s a massive job. In honour of the austerity measures I was quite restrained this year, and left off a lot of tinsel and ornaments. Not lights, of course: four sets, as usual.
Having the tree up so early led to an unexpected bonus: I have wrapped a lot of the presents already. No staying up past midnight on Christmas Eve for me this year!
I have started my round of Christmas events. Last week I learned to sign Away In A Manger and some other carols at a sing and sign event hosted at my church. On Sunday after church I went to my writing group’s Christmas meeting. We played fun and childish word games. Lots of laughter was heard. We had a bring & share lunch which reflected the tastes of each person: vegetable quiche, carrot sticks, grapes, cheese & crackers, and more. I took crisps, sweets and wine.
Last night I was at Write Out Loud. The theme was Christmas, so cue lots of Christmas poems. Two, at least.
Tonight I will be attending the Stockport Silver Band Christmas Concert at my church. It’s not Christmas without a brass band.
I plan to attend other events, and even host one of my own: a Christmas film night with some of my friends. I will provide wine, snacks and Love Actually, through which we will no doubt all talk. I must get around to inviting them before they get booked up.