I love hearing what other people do on Christmas Day and seeing how different families celebrate. I’m very traditional with Christmas, but this year it’s simply not going to be the same. I’ve celebrated Christmas the same way every year since I was born, with almost no deviation at all (entirely due to my own choice!), so it’s built up into a longstanding tradition for me. The things my mum did with me as a child, I simply continued as an adult. Last year I talked a bit about this and went over my plans – the only difference to my childhood was that my grandmother was no longer with us, and of course, the dog I had growing up had been replaced by my own German Shepherd.
Each year we’d wake up and go for a long morning walk with our dog to burn up the energy they had and also to set us up mentally and physically for the day ahead. I always found all the other dog walkers extremely cheerful and happy to chat on Christmas morning, which isn’t always the case, as who has the energy for small talk when you’re walking at 8am in the middle of winter! Unfortunately last month my dog was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and passed away within a week of us even realizing anything was wrong. Although she was twelve, so not a young dog, it all seemed rather sudden and hit my husband and I very hard. This year, for the first time that we’ve known each other, we will walk without a dog on Christmas Day, but we’re still going to go to the same park and take William on his trike instead.
An integral part of each year was going to my grandmothers house and spending time there with my grandmother, aunt and uncle, who I grew up with. My grandmother passed away some years ago – and I spent Christmas Day in the hospital with her – and then in 2016 my aunt passed away as well. It was very strange then with just my uncle living there, but I was very close to him as he really was the only male figure in my life growing up, so we still had a great Christmas last year and I kept up the tradition of doing him a food hamper of all his favourite treats, spending time in his garden and feeding the very same fish (yes, they’re 30 years old some of them!) as in my childhood. Once again, it’s been a tough year, as my perfectly healthy uncle was taken from us overnight by an aneurysm this year. To say I’m still reeling is an understatement as to be honest, I feel like I’m still in shock and find it hard to believe that he’s gone and my son will never know him. Gosh, now I’m crying again!
So it’s going to be different.
At first I was dreading Christmas because I thought I would be sad, remembering all the people I love who are no longer here to celebrate with us. And it is sad. But the more I thought about it the more determined I was to make this an amazing Christmas. Our family is tiny and it’s not going to get any bigger, but we have each other. I have an amazing husband and a miracle baby with whom I share new experiences every single day. I still have my mum, even if we have no other family – and that won’t last forever, so I need to value the time I have. I have many happy memories and I know that the family who is no longer here were loved and I in turn, was loved by them.
So it’s going to feel different, but it’s time to push ahead and make new traditions. Instead of walking the dog, we’re still going to go for a walk – but with William’s new trike and to a playground.
I’ve got no family left to make gift hampers for, but I’ll be donating lots of goodies to the food bank and hope that it helps those who are struggling.
We’ll be having Christmas dinner with my mum, and whenever I feel sad about having lost my uncle this year, I’ll remind myself of the things I still have, and how much he’d want me to be happy.
I hope that in the years to come we make new friends and discover new ways to celebrate together, and the good memories of people who are no longer here will always be worth me.
I’ll be taking a wee break from blogging and social media to focus on my family this Christmas – I’ll be back in January with an amazing giveaway to start off the year, an all-new waterproof Kindle paperwhite worth £129.99 so give me a follow on Twitter to be notified when that starts, or check back on the 2nd January. Thanks for following along and reading my blog posts in 2018, I’m really excited about sharing with you again in the New Year.
Merry Christmas from me to you, wherever you are, however and whoever you’re celebrating this festive period with. I’d love it if you could share in the comments what your plans will be!