Deck the halls

It is December, let the festive season begin!

There are many parts of this time of year that I enjoy, the sparkly lights that make the darkness a little more bearable, the abundance of hot chocolate options, stodgy foods, and the fact that for many of us it’s a holiday and a chance to have a few days off with few expectations.

It is a time for friends and family, first and foremost. After that, if you are lucky enough, there is simply a few days of doing comparably nothing except staying warm and eating too much food.

This year, as we have for the last few years, my family are limiting the number of presents we buy. None of us really need anything, so the most recent addition to the family is where we focus and no doubt my wonderful niece will be spoiled rotten. Part of me hopes not too much though; is it too early to start reducing the expectation that Christmas Day is all about many many presents, and lots more stuff? Perhaps, she’s not even four years old but still, perhaps.

Mindful purchases will be made, and again I will fight the desire towards excess (I still have three bottles of Baileys from last year) but know it is part and parcel, manufactured or not, of the season.

There will be gatherings throughout this time, families will come together, friends will catch up after far too long apart, and the comfort those activities bring only adds to the sense of comfort and warmth and love.

We will get a tree and decorate it, we will string lights up to proclaim our happiness, and confess our luck all the while counting our many many blessings and all the shapes and forms in which they are delivered.

And all too soon it will be over, 2020 will have arrived we will start searching for new distractions and invariably end up back in the same routines as before.

Ohhh to find a way to hold on to the quiet joy that December holds, the gentle uplift of the soul by all those coloured lights bedecking halls, gardens, and buildings, the cheery optimism of Christmas songs.

Thoughts too for those less fortunate, and a desire to retain the awareness of those who need a little help and support throughout the year, even whilst it is keenly felt in the cold winds and frosts of our winter.

I’ve always liked December and the sense of joy and silliness it allows, adults can indulge their more childish impulses (yes, I have trifle for breakfast on Boxing Day!) whilst indulge their children even more. Pets are pampered and spoiled and everything feels a little more relaxed, almost like the relief of getting through to the end of another year is lifting from all of us.

I hope for snow to walk in on a frosty winters morning as much as I loathe the messy slush it becomes. I long for my childhoods of sneaking chocolates from the Xmas tree, and the open fire in our living room. I look forward to laughing long and hard, making the most of the short time that we all come together in one place for a while; even though the jokes are old they are ours and always raise a smile.

I realise that the mere contemplation of all of this is making me smile.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.