My parents died while I was pregnant with my oldest child thirteen years ago. My sisters and I got together for a few years, but in a way the mother and the father is the lynch pin to a family. Often when you lose them, you lose the reason to all get together.
Unfortunately, my husband has a strained relationship with his family. He is the one to call them. Gradually his contact declined to a phone call to his siblings every Christmas and New Years Day. Then it was every Christmas Day. And this year he didn't make the call, and they didn't call him.
When we moved three hundred miles away from our home base, the visits became less. I mourned for large family Christmases for quite a few years. Christmas dinner at our home is for four. But gradually over time I realised how blessed I am. We have created our own Christmas traditions. The making of the gingerbread house. A pre Christmas craft activity, whether it is oranges and cloves or a making new tree decorations.
Christmas Eve usually involves the long dog walk, he gets over excited and we try to tire him out before the wrapping paper. And then the crib service at the local church, and my children usually have parts. Then one present to open Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning it is presents from Santa, then church, then presents from under the tree. We have the meal at lunch time and a few games. The rest of the day is usually spent with each of us with a tray on our lap doing a project or puzzle.
I like it.
I like the relaxed atmosphere and the feeling of love.
And I like the lie ins and the fact that I get lots of writing done.
Although we don't do a lot of visiting, the time between Christmas and New Year is a time of going to the sales, ice skating and inviting friends round.
I think often there is so much pressure to have the sort of Christmas you are suppose to have. We watch the Nigella and Delia's Christmases and our expectations grow. Many people don't have the TV idea. We have food, shelter and love. A nice relaxing break. Friends and activities to occupy us. So remember if you are disappointed that you can't have the Christmas you think you want.
Why not learn to love the Christmas you have?