Christmas has all blurred this year and I have really missed the anticipation and preparation to the big day, it has all felt so strange. However, its been a Christmas of simple pleasures, long walks ( and a few groans from the children of ‘not another walk!’) family games (we have a family grand games master competition in progress) festive television and some gorgeous home made food.
However, I have become a little fed up with the general misery, portrayed in the media, that Christmas has been ruined for 2020. Mr S and I have both said we’ve had much worse Christmases, the one which we both agreed was our worst was when we booked a beautiful rural cottage in Cornwall. It sounds delightful, but we got snowed in, it was freezing inside and out and we only had limited groceries. It was the only holiday from which we’ve ever come home early, once the thaw began. I remember stopping at the services and buying treats at the M&S shop to make up for the misery! Although it had a happy ending, Christmas 2018 was a very scary time as Grandad who was staying with us was taken very ill and rushed to hospital on Christmas eve, that Christmas put everything into perspective. So, a happy Christmas as our little bubble of 4 doesn’t even come close to being described as a ruined Christmas.
Anyway rant over, here are some of the highlights of Christmas 2020
I embraced Christmas patterns this year, I love my new Christmas skirt and for the first time I bought some Christmas pyjamas for myself. Well, I got the Grinch bottoms as the top was just too much and they look so much better with a plain black t-shirt. I love them and they’re so warm and comfortable. Our Christmas morning photos are great with the 3 of us in our Christmas pjs and Santa hats, although sadly, I still can’t convince Mr S to have pyjamas or a jumper. I also bought a new Christmas cushion made by a small indie business using a Cath Kitson fabric, its very cute and kitsch!
Socially Distanced Christmas Carols.
We had a socially distanced Christmas carol concert with our neighbours and it was so lovely. We all stood in our gardens or on the pavement and sang together by torchlight. We had decorated one tree with lights and stars and it all felt so warm and sparkly. It was simple but beautiful.
With all the thought that goes into Christmas, its always nice to see what are the most well received presents, aside from the ‘main’ present. This year it was a pair of goalie gloves and a lava lamp. Little Man asserted that Grandad (again) is the best Christmas present buyer. This makes me smile as Grandad sends us the money early November and we do it all for him. At nearly 90, its the best arrangement for everyone and I’m happy to keep the secret so Grandad gets the kudos.
A Christmas Eve 10K
Christmas eve is my favourite day of the year, I love the buzz of the final preparations, neighbours popping in, the special dessert, new pyjamas etc.. As I knew this year was going to be different, I arranged to run the Virtual Edinburgh 10k to define the day. I started at 6.30am on a beautiful, still and mild morning and listened to a Scottish playlist to complement the run. I have a lot of Scottish family and as I ran I thought about happy times with them, especially my grandparents who have both died. It was a real life affirming run and my fastest 10k of the year, a nice way to mark Christmas eve.
I love Christmas in the kitchen, my menus are prepared weeks in advance and my kitchen is cosy and filled with the most delicious smells over the season. One of our little traditions is a special dessert on Christmas eve, last year’s Baked Alsaka (or the mountain pudding as Little Man still calls it) was a big hit so I knew it was going to be difficult to top it. I chose a spiced apple cheesecake which was amazing, the ginger base and warm caramel sauce gave the pudding a festive feel. We had a traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas day, Roast Turkey for the children and a home made mushroom and tarragon strudel for Mr S and I whom are vegetarians. I love a rainbow of veggies so there were orange glazed carrots and parsnips, braised red cabbage and apple, creamy brussel sprouts and chestnuts and plain broccoli and boiled carrots for Little Man who likes his food plain and simple. My roasties were definitely the best ever. One of my little pleasures on Christmas day is cooking in the kitchen with my Christmas pinny on listening to the dedications and carols on Classic FM.
There have been beautiful lights in town this year and as I tend to run in the dark, I get to see their sparkle. Our school decorated our large outdoor tree and it does stand as a beacon of light in the community. This year, my friend commented that the snowballs hanging across the the shopping streets look like the coronavirus. Its an image I can never unsee! As well as the lights, lots of local shops have done spectacular window displays to spread a little festive cheer.
So we could be together and doing family things during the day, I have been working on my uni assignment in the evenings and have watched very little television this festive season. However I did manage to watch the Christmas episodes of All Creatures Great and Small and Call the Midwife which were perfect viewing. I have so much respect and gratitude to the cast and crew of series such as the Bake Off, Strictly and Call the Midwife, whom have been able to produce programmes under the Covid restrictions. They have provided us with the escapism from the pandemic which we have all craved.
Tonight is New Year’s eve, I’m sure I’ve explained on this blog before that I am not a big fan, so a quiet night in is my ideal arrangement. I’m planning on finishing this and settling down with my book, before an early night, I’m so rock and roll. In fairness, whilst I don’t like tonight and find it all a bit fake and maudlin, I will be over it in the morning and ready for a new year which brings hope and promise (once we’ve got over the next few months)
Take care and happy new year.