October is a bit soon to be using the ‘C’ word but as it’s my baby girls very first, we are very excited about Christmas this year!
Both my husband & I are big fans of the Christmas period, and as everyone, we have certain Christmas traditions that we look forward to carrying on with our little family. We’d also like to create a few of our own traditions and have been talking a lot about them recently.
Hopefully in years to come, Scarlett will cherish her memories of family Christmasses as much as we will, and hopefully we’ll still be upholding the three below that we plan to start this year!
1) My Nan loved Christmas and in my childhood was the absolute core of Christmas spirit. One of the highlights of Christmas Day was always receiving our sacks of gifts from Nan. Which at first sounds really shallow! But it was never about the quantity, it was opening little bits that Nan had found throughout the year, that she thought myself and my cousins would enjoy, usually including some form of troll (the gremlin type creatures, she didn’t wrap up internet bullies!) and nightwear. Nan is no longer around but we would like to make sure her vivacious spirit stays present in our little girls holiday period. Therefore, instead of the traditional stocking, Scarlett & any future siblings will receive a Lois Christmas Bag! With a few little pieces with a few ongoing themes, it may only be October but I’ve started looking for some small bits already, as I’m pretty sure Nan did, and I can only hope she’s looking down with a smile. Both my Grandmothers were incredibly loving and giving and Scarlett will receive the same.
2) I spent one Christmas Day on my own, in the dark and although it was sad not to share it with someone, it was one of the most rewarding Christmasses. Let me explain…! I was working at the hospital at the time and volunteered to do as many Christmas shifts as possible, reason being that a lot of my colleagues had young families whereas I was in my early twenties and my family were all South East so doing one shift meant I was unable to go; so my thinking was I may as well do as many as I can. I lived in a house share at the time & the house was empty, my best friend that I lived with had headed down to Cornwall as late as possible to keep me company but for the three days I was on my own. I should also point out that it was a student house share so we had electric on a card (you’re starting to see where this is going!). On Christmas Eve I got home from work at 2am and got in, deciding that as it was officially Christmas Day I would have a glass of port and open my Christmas Eve pyjamas, (a tradition my Mum started & one we’ll be continuing!) I got in, switched on the light and walked into the wall…the light never came on. Instantly I knew what had happened, so I headed down to our creepy basement to push the button that gave us £5 of emergency credit…but predictably, being students, we’d already used that option! A quick call confirmed that I would have to wait till Boxing Day to get more money on the card (this is also in the days before internet on phones & I had no computer that didn’t need electricity to turn on!) and so my Christmas Day dinner turned into bread and cheese! The story could be a tragic tale on a par with the matchstick girl if a) it wasn’t my own fault for being a lazy student and not ensuring there was electricity and b) if I didn’t have such a fantastic time at the hospital! What I learnt in 2005 was that there is a magic at Christmas and it has nothing to do with having the latest games console or buying lots of stuff. Patients had the biggest smiles on their faces when they saw family members come in or when the awful, (and I mean awful!) Father Christmas did his rounds. Visitors were so kind to all the staff who were working such long hours to keep their loved ones safe (I’m not including myself, I was just a receptionist but the Dr’s & Nurses were amazing) and despite the pain, the sadness and the hard things people were going through, not one shift went by without seeing several acts of kindness and happiness that you just don’t see at other times of the year. So yes, for the rest of Xmas 2005, I mainly sat in a cold dark house by myself and chatted to family on the phone, but I could only tell them what a great time I was having, they felt awful when they heard the house situation but it really honestly didn’t matter. And the true meaning of Christmas has always been very important to me, I’ve always tried to do some volunteering or fundraising around Christmas. We should all of course do it all the time but at Christmas time, a time that can be the best time ever for some, but also incredibly difficult for others, why not try and help them find a bit of Christmas magic. Therefore whether it be volunteering at a Crisis centre or taking part in a Santa fun run, or even just going to visit someone who may be lonely and appreciate visitors; we want to ensure that Scarlett sees the true magic of Christmas. (I’ll also try and be sure to teach her that if you live on a meter, you have to be more on top of keeping it funded!)
3) I set up a netball club in 2006 & we used to do a lot of charity events and other activity related things, the idea behind Hotshots (which I’m proud to say is still going!) was that anyone & everyone could take part and have an active lifestyle. In 2012 I implemented what I dubbed ‘Activity Advent Calendar’! For every day of December, behind each door there was an activity to be done at each participants own pace; whether the activity be 10 star jumps, or dancing around to your favourite Christmas song, for a few minutes each day, we all got active! I posted it online and others joined in, we had 50 people join the group, the youngest participant was my cousins little girl and the oldest were my Dad, Aunt & Uncle who took part as a team with more gusto than anyone else taking part, it was brilliant! Even family in Australia would take part & we all posted videos and photos and it was a nice way to all keep in touch. It was a really rewarding experience and quite a nice bonding venture (not to mention it was a real giggle!) so we’re going to set it as an annual thing. Not necessarily with sporting activities each day but a little something to do together in the run up to Christmas. Again I’ll put it online so anyone who wants to take part is more than welcome to join us, or why not draw up your own!
So there they are! Our very own Christmas traditions that officially begin in 2014. Hopefully they will be Christmas traditions that Scarlett enjoys and although I’m sure in her teenage years she’ll probably rebel against at least part of it, maybe she’ll want to pass some of it onto her own children.
It’s only October the 18th so I promise not to mention Christmas again until December, especially because Halloween is just around the corner; being a theatrical household, Winter is quite the season for us! But whatever you do over the holiday season dear friends, I wish you a very happy and healthy time. Whatever your traditions, or even if you don’t have any, there’s no denying that there’s a certain wonder about this time of year, that’s different to different people. So whatever it means to you, enjoy your very own slice of magic!