With the Christmas cards.
Ever year recently I have designed something amazing, at length, usually late, while others, whose cards were pieces of cardboard with a printed picture, delivered theirs on to the doormat on December the First, with such a smug flop on the mat, you could practically feel the smirk.
As always with anything creative, real life intervenes to steal crucial lumps of time. I passed the ‘stay up late and finish this bit’ a week ago. I am now stopping for a TV show every night slightly past nine so I can get up in the AM and get on. I’m amazed I did that only once this year. Thirty years of shows have shown me that staying up late just leads to tiredness (I know! – Who knew?) and that it is more efficient to go to bed at a reasonable time. One day I may be sufficiently mature to figure sleeping into creativity, though I may leave that till the bit of life where you’re telling people about the importance of sleep through closed eyelids on your third nap of the afternoon.
The daughter of SMIL writes wondering what to do about Christmas. In the dementia diaries there are, I think, four Christmases documented.
If everyone is healthy and happy and the children are aged between three and teenage, these are the years. I made a big production number of Christmas then, with quite a lot of home made for financial reasons. They were very happy. The S&H’s first Christmas all I could afford to give him was a plastic bath duck. My father made him a ride on rocking sheep, which was wonderful. We still had the demented Mother-in-law and desperate Father-in-law staying for a fortnight, hence the plastic duck.
The one thing not to do with an abnormal Christmas is to carry on as normal, or to believe that tons of presents will somehow make things better.
In the Diaries, I recorded the Christmas that had to be cancelled at the last minute on doctor’s orders when my mother became hysterical. My cousin and wife visited for four hours, numerous neighbours and friends just popped by for an hour each time, all to be entertained, given drinks and food, all ‘making it worth it’ for the poorly person, in the process making her much worse, and exhausting her to the point of hysteria.
I also recall Christmases following deaths in the family, where we tried to carry on as normal, that were miserable.
Christmas is about family. Where ever you are in the world, what ever the faith that inspires you or none, no matter what cost of the presents, Christmas is about family.
Once you have recognised that, it is easier to know what to do. Because it is about family, if some of the family are missing, or compromised in some way, you have to take note of that first and honour it. Ploughing on as if nothing had changed does them no honour. Perhaps the most important part of the day might be the one where someone raises a toast to ‘absent friends’, because for people who have no family, there is no Christmas.
Largely because of political situations there seem to be more refugees than ever in the world just now. I am sitting in a building, warm dry and fed, writing this, for which I am truly thankful. My health seems finally to be on the mend, for which I am truly thankful and the OH is on a more even keel, for which I am truly thankful.
Each year recently the OH wonders why I do the Christmas cards when it is such a lengthy and tiring process.
It is my way of giving thanks. This year I have 60 cards on my list, which means I know 60 people who are alive and have doormats.
In an uncertain world that is something to celebrate.