So this is Christmas
I’m writing this one week till Christmas Day, and like most other people in the country I have no idea how or with whom I will spend it. Not because there haven’t been numerous calls and messages in the weeks leading up to this, where we have all thrashed out details of venue, timing, menu, drinks, gifts and travel arrangements.
Just like most other people in the country I was looking forward to a ‘proper’ Christmas Day, where long established family rituals were played out and we would look back to the lockdown version of festivities this time last year as a temporary, never to be repeated aberration.
But, despite having cancelled the social events we had planned for the next few days so that we can follow Chris Whitty’s advice and prioritise what really matters for ourselves, ‘events dear boy’ may well take over.
For many years we always went to my in-laws for Christmas Day. They maintained a highly productive kitchen garden which included richly fruiting raspberry canes. My mother-in-law would make summer puddings with the raspberries and freeze some of them. Our Christmas dinner included the traditional pudding combined with one of the summer puddings. As the years went by and she grew elderly she began to forget to defrost the summer pudding the day before Christmas, with somewhat disastrous results. We learned to call and gently remind her to remove it from the freezer on Christmas Eve.
In recent years I have assumed the Christmas summer pudding mantle, admittedly using frozen berries. Lockdown last year meant that the berries never made it out of the freezer. I only hope they get put to good use next week.
My most chaotic Christmas was when I had to get presents for a newly enlarged family whilst learning to cope with my first baby, born at the end of November. Sometime around December 22nd my husband and I suddenly remembered that we needed to go shopping for more than just nappies and vests. Sleepless, I staggered round the Army and Navy department store on Victoria Street, daughter in sling on my front, trying to recall the names of my relatives and wondering what to buy them, at a point in my life when I had no income and my husband was setting up a new business.
Far worse than the shopping was Christmas Day itself at my parents’ house. The baby had colic and screamed through most of the evening. Various aunts appeared at my elbow during the festivities, offering advice, consolation and other words of wisdom that frankly I could have done without. Ironically, a lockdown Christmas would have suited me very well that year.
So once again we will roll with whatever punches Covid throws at us. I hope we will all be able to get together indoors and will happily accept a ‘circuit breaker’ after that. I hope you get to be with your loved ones and that your best laid plans do come to fruition.