The shopping is done- what we don't have we can manage without! Middle England is dull and drab, cold and damp, and we shall be most probably having a wet Christmas as opposed to a 'white' one.
It's time to sing carols, eat mince pies, drink mulled wine and retreat into the bosom of our families.
This year, as I hung the decorations, I was inspired to think of making more things rather than buying them,
but time ran out - there is always next year!
Watching the Wartime farm Christmas edition the other day,
someone commented that it means more to you when you have to 'make' Christmas, rather than just go out and buy everything
I was reminded of austere family Christmases of my childhood. Looking back, we had none of the fancy trimming of today - yet we didn't consider ourselves hard done-by. I remember the fun and sense of anticipation when we'd sit making paper chains to string up around the room.
My Dad had created a sort of artificial Christmas tree, mainly comprised of a broom handle to which he'd attached the bristly arms of some old-fashioned loo-brushes (new and previously un-used, I hasten to add!!). This was not so long after WW2 and the idea of make-do-and mend was still very much the order of the day. The whole thing was painted green (I think he must have just dipped the loobrush-ends into the paint) and then added red sealing-wax 'berries' at the ends of the 'branches'.
A basic set of tree lights were made by my uncle, with small 'bakelite' eggcups utilised as shades around the little electric bulbs - they were decorated with Walt Disney transfers (heaven knows where they came from!)
This simple tree was brought out year after year, (sometimes needing remedial work before it was safe to use!) but oh, how we loved it!
Christmas dinner was always a chicken - very expensive in those days and very much a treat! I always remember that the Sunday dinner before Christmas day was always egg and chips - we couldn't afford TWO roast dinners in a week! That was also another sign that Christmas was coming. :-)
We made our own fun, with a very old Bingo set being brought out for our amusement; card games and board games were to the fore, until the evening when we'd settle down around our little black and white TV set - only 2 channels in those days so you had little choice in what to watch - but you watched it all the same!
These days, we invariably have too many choices on which channel to watch, plus DVDs!
However, we often play boardgames to break things up and this year will be no exception - I am planning a board-game Olympics - there will be prizes! We have quite a plethora of options but a few 'favourites' will definitely be taking centre stage! (Careers, Cleudo, Mindtrap)
Amidst all this, we will be taking time to remember the reason for the season and we're looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus, as we join with others to sing carols and re-read the Christmas story in church.
Thanks to a 'nudge' from lizy-expat-writer (she has posted an online Christmas 'card' to all her readers!) I've decided to follow her lead and use the *image at the top of this post by way of wishing you all a peaceful time this Christmas and my very best wishes for all that comes your way in 2013!
(*image - picture of a tea-light Nativity scene on my daughter's mantle-piece)