I’m not sure how it works elsewhere but we buy a lot of food we don’t normally have, like lobster, prepare it both on Christmas eve and Christmas morning, and then everyone arrives, pitches in where necessary, then all go out to the dining room with a 12 seat table all done up in its Christmas finery, and eat, drink and be merry.
Before we eat its present giving time, and for half an hour there’s Christmas wrapping paper going in all directions, there’s lots of oohs and ahhs, some presents they knew they were getting, some they didn’t.
It’s been the same for many, many years, though this year it was very nearly cancelled.
Covid of course.
But its tendrils of disaster didn’t stretch that far, we kept under the visitor number restriction, and took all the precautions.
The more hardy of the dinners then turned up on Christmas night for seconds, or thirds as the case may be.
In fact left overs last for about two and a half days, so the Christmas festivities go for several days.
Quite often we go away, usually on Boxing day, when the overseas airfares are cheaper. This year we were going nowhere.
Perhaps there’s a hidden message in that, namely we should probably stay at home from now on. After all, the grandchildren are growing up, and the eldest is about to get her driver’s licence, and the two eldest are now working, starting that never ending cycle of life where eventually they will have to fend for themselves.
And as they get older we may see less of them as families drift apart, through work and other opportunities. It may not happen, but I am steeling myself for it. We were lucky that our children didn’t move too far away, and we get to see them all the time.
For a lot of others we know this is not the case, and with Covid they were not able to travel, even across the country to see them for many months.
So, this Christmas, as I sat at the end of the table and surveyed the family, I thanked my lucky starts that right then I had everything I could ever want.