As a writer of feel good, unashamedly slushy books, it’s practically in the job description for me to love Christmas. Or, to be more accurate, to love my sort of Christmas; which isn’t what it was because I’m one of the ilmmuno-compromised for whom the Covid vaccines don’t work and for whom Covid is serious which means that anything to do with Christmas that happens indoors has to be out.
This will be my third Covid Christmas, and there is no end in sight, and sometimes I feel like an old-fashioned child who has their nose pressed against the window of a toyshop, but knows that they can’t have the goodies inside. Which, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, is not fun, and it gets even less fun when people tell me I’m scaremongering and it’s all over. To which I say, thanks, but I’ll take the word of my rheumatologist and the pain I live with from the joint damage done by Covid already over your theories…
Rant over. Sorry about that, but I’m amongst friends here and I know that you’ll not only understand but be extra careful around other people in my situation now that you know it’s a problem.
So, onto more happy things. Every year for the last thirty-six years Christmas starts for me when the local Rotary Club come round with the Santa train. That’s a train, pulled by a car, which they navigate expertly around roads that weren’t built for cars and are one-way systems. (I live in in a little Victorian terraced house in the middle of a conservation area and ten minutes from some glorious beaches, you see, but back to the point.)
They play Christmas music and collect money for local charities and everyone comes out onto the streets to see them and follow them along their route. That’s right. I’ll come clean and admit it. I stalk Santa! And it’s the most amazing feeling because the houses are lit up and the children are almost as excited as the adults and there’s a sense of inclusion and belonging and a torrent of memories that always make my eyes water with happy tears.
Oh, the memories of carrying my baby daughter outside, wrapped up in layers, because she was teething and had been moody all day and seeing her absolute delight and watching her giggling. Of fast forwarding to my two being toddlers and asking ‘Is he coming?’ Over and over again, they asked, but that’s Christmas, isn’t it? And now they’re grown up. Not too grown up for advent calendars and following the Santa train, but now they’re photographing it and the calendar includes a gorgeous watercolour pencil for each day for my artist daughter who got the pencil roll to put them all in on the first day of advent.
And Christmas is coming. Definitely a quieter one, and made possible by the legions of delivery men who are working their socks off, but you know what? It’s going to be good because I won’t let it be anything else! And I hope it’s the same way for you, no matter what life is currently throwing at you.