(Or at least it was)…
So that’s it, Christmas is over for another year. As you read this, I’m polishing off the last remaining ‘posh’ biscuits and wondering where on earth I’m going to fit the new array of plastic stuff that emerged from under the tree. I imagine you’re doing pretty much the same.
I’ve always loved Christmas, but I have to admit that I approached this year with a little less excitement and a bit more trepidation than usual. Christmas, for me, has always been about tradition – doing the same thing in the same way each year. There is something so comforting and cosy about the familiarity of Christmas. But, as it approached, I knew that this year simply wouldn’t be the same.
It couldn’t be, because, for the past thirteen years – and indeed for the entirety of my adult life – Christmas and the traditions I’d created had been wrapped up with another person, who is no longer part of my Christmases.
I was determined though not to let Christmas be dominated by this sadness. Too much of 2017 – a year that should have been filled with joy as F joined the world – had been overshadowed by tears, anxiety and loneliness. It might not have been the same as last year but I decided that this Christmas would still be special, not least because it was F’s first! Nothing, I decided, was going to spoil watching both my children’s faces as they opened the living room door on Christmas morning to see it transformed into a sea of shiny paper and bows.
One way I did it this year was by focusing on what I love about this time of year throughout the entire month of December – my own personal advent calendar counting down to the big day with a daily moment of festive fun. There was nothing major – a gingerbread latte here, a new Christmas decoration there – but, by focusing on the little things, I managed to avoid dwelling on the big things that had the potential to overwhelm me.
I have to say, it worked. I can’t pretend there weren’t moments when I found myself thinking ‘this time last year’, but to be honest, the majority of this Christmas was filled with the laughter and joy I always associate with Christmas. It turns out I didn’t need to rewrite all my Christmas traditions. I just needed to ‘tweak’ them a little to suit my new little family.
If spending Christmas as a single mum to two beautiful children is my new tradition, then that is absolutely fine with me.