I have just posted a parcel of gifts to Australiarrr – filled to bursting with critters I’ve made myself. They’re all a bit wonky and untidy – but they have been crafted with love, by me, for each of their recipients. Podgey liked the first rabbitesque creature so much – he named him Rabbit Stu and refused to let me give him away.
Never name your dinner or your hand made beasties – you’ll end up starving with a houseful of soft toys. I have had to be ruthless with the rest of the warren – they are all allocated. They do look marvelous all huddled together on the sofa. I wish I could show you – but they are all destined to arrive for Christmas – so I’m afraid you’ll have to picture them in your moinde.
Every year I find something new for the tree. This year to continue the hand made theme, I’ve made woolly pom poms. I love a pom pom. I have a fake tree. Please don’t berate me for faking it. I gave in to fakery, reluctantly, last year. With one of the kids fully fledged and the other surgically attached to a tablet – the joy of sending them off to find the wonkiest tree on the lot to give a home to, has waned.
I used to love seeing them struggle back up the road from the Scout Tree Bonanza – the two boys up at the easy end – led by their dad, whistling and laughing – faces red, huffing with the effort of holding onto the trunk with little, achey arms – while being terribly little boy-macho about how totally unheavy it was!
I’d be battling spiders while digging out the iron tree holder from the shed and prudently covering the heavy, wooden chess board with fresh wrapping paper to save the floor if the water flowed over the top – he’d be charging about searching for the star and unravelling the lights – which would be in a major tangle BB (Before Bloke). Yer common or garden chap is a useful cove around Christmas.
There’s the tree catching of course, even with a fakey (I have no patience with all the colour co-ordinated branches and proper order of things. Pfft! Deffo someone else’ job). Then there’s the envelope licking, decking the hall, going into the attic, popping the cork and cooking the steaks to be done. All important jobs, I now happily and shamelessly delegate. There is little point in keeping a man and stretching yourself.
So Christmas is underway – I am one of the last of my set to continue to send out cards – although this year I have finally given in to 2nd class stamps. I am of a vintage for whom a 2nd class stamp feels like a statement of importance or rather lack of it. These days, the very arrival of a card is statement enough – that you are loved and cherished by me and even though we don’t get to see each other in person much, if at all – I think about you. I do. This year – maybe this year – we’ll finally sync our schedules and see each other – and wonder why we left it so long – but if we don’t – I don’t want it to have gone by unremarked – that you are my pal.
I’ve sent out my cards – with just a few left to post. I have packed off pressies and have just a few more to make. The rest of the festivities are set in tradition. So I don’t have to think about it. Scrambled eggs, salmon and fizz for brunch – a walk, the Telly and steak and more fizz for supper along with a slow slide into the evening and the TV.
Before that – The Pound Shop Challenge – and Pound Shop Secret Santa – which is a brilliant game if you have kids who are a bit bored by the whole shopping thing. Send them around the pound shop with a couple of quid each – their challenge is 1) find the silliest, most pointless thing in the shop 2) Secret Santa pressy for Boxing Day. Then you give them 20 mins or whatever and all get together at the end for coffee and cake and to vote on the winner of The Pound Shop Challenge.
This is a family tradition and creates memories and hilarity every year for a couple of quid. Podgey still talks about the year that Sock Monkey failed to win and I still use the perfect replica, blue wheely bin I was given for a Secret Santa present – it stands on the kitchen counter and holds used tea bags!
There was an item on the radio yesterday about a woman who had amassed 250 presents for her kids to give them the best Christmas ever. I felt sad. Our Christmas is all about being silly, playing games and having the time to be together. Me and Podge have a limit £20.00! We also complicate matters by having an annual theme. this year it’s presents begining with S.A.N.T.A! So that’s at least 5 presents for £20.00 or less. He is a very, very busy bloke – but he plays a blinder every year (we’ve always done it – ever since we first met)!
I have more time – so I can make stuff and trawl around. The double A. in this year’s challenge has proved a smidge tricky – but I’ve nailed it. Last year – was N.O.E.L. Podgey landed each letter AND a wooden NOEL decoration!
Move over Kirstie – I am the Queen of a handmade Christmas – it’s not about having no cash – although I am aware that for many it is – it’s about creating fun and love. Step away from the pressure and play with your creativity, make food, bags, baubles and garlands – have a go at drawing, sewing, making up games – and mucking about. There should be a lot of mucking about!
However you celebrate – whatever your faith or spiritual promptings I hope you get to spend time with the people you love – having fun – scoffing good food and playing made up games.
If you are in need of a little Silly Season destressor – here’s a little guided breathing audio I recorded for you. Grab your phone or your tablet, a set of ear buds.
Find a quiet spot and take a few minutes to reconnect with your gorgeous, calm and delighted self.
I promise – it will make it all run so much more smoothly… Sing it with me ‘Let it go-oooohah Let it go-ooooah! Dah dee dum diddly dee dum dee doooah!’