What Christmas means to me

 

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Ok so it’s been a little while since I’ve been able to write any updates to my blog. This is mainly because of trying to reach a goal on my novel before Christmas as well as being busy over the Christmas period as well. In fact Christmas really started for me back at the start of November. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First I want to take you (and myself) back to Christmas past and examine what Christmas was like for me when I was younger. As a kid I loved a lot of things around Christmas. Christmas Eve was always spent at the local club which in those days was always full of people from the village. There was music, food and drinking (Coke for us kids). About half eleven we would return home and be allowed to open one gift. Then it was to bed and one of my favourite times because as I floated off to sleep in my innocence of childhood I could hardly feel the empty stocking at the bottom of the bed. But come five in the morning and I would slowly wake up and feel the heavy weight. I would spend about five minutes just moving my feet around the stocking excited by the fact that it was simply there. At some age I came to realise that this would not last for ever and so I made special effort to try and remember the feeling over the years. It is one of the things I miss most about Christmas.
Then my brother and I would be up waking our poor parents and sitting on the bed unwrap the presents in the stockings. When that was done we were ordered back to our rooms for half an hour. My dad would get up to make the fire and we were eventually allowed down stair where spread over the two sofas were all the presents glistening in the firelight. Ok they weren’t really glistening being simply paper wrapped gifts but let’s allow a little artistic licence here.
So Christmas morning was spent opening presents, playing with new toys and eating lots of chocolate. As mentioned in the He-man blog the best Christmas I can remember is the one where I got lots of He-man toys and the memory of putting Castle Greyskull together with my dad. On other Christmases we would spend the morning at the club again, my brother and me playing endless games of pool. Eventually we would visit one of my Nans for Christmas dinner (and more presents) and then to my other Nan for a great big family tea with all members of the family coming together. Uncles, Aunts and cousins all there. This is how it continued for many years with the big family get together eventually changing to Boxing Day at my parents’ house.
But they say all good things come to an end. The amount of family coming on Boxing Day shrank. Eventually my one Nan passed away and my brother got married and had his own family. Over the years I’ve had girlfriends. So I’ve had the joy of spending Christmas morning with them opening each other gifts and for me over time the joy for me was not seeing what I had but watching others open their gifts and seeing their faces.
And so we move more into the present but not quite 2017. Being with someone allowed me to have somewhere there when going Christmas shopping. Yes most presents could be brought online but there is something great about going to a city centre especially one with a Christmas market. Bristol in the last couple of years has been one such place. The atmosphere, the smells and the unusual gifts on the stores made it special. And while I might have some idea of what I might buy people I love looking around until I see the perfect present for people. It’s one of the reason I hate to give money or gift vouchers to people. So even in adulthood there is joy to be had for Christmas.
This year however I found myself on my own. No one to go shopping with (and car troubles also limited me) and not really many gifts to buy anyway. But I still love Christmas and so tried to find other ways to enjoy the Christmas spirit. One way was helping put up my towns Christmas decorations. Starting in November and taking about six weeks to do I would spend my Sundays helping out and towards the end sometimes a whole weekend. Hence that’s where all my time has been spent recently. But when the day came for the switch on I felt excitement followed by a large sense of pride as my local town was lit up. A sense of pride that comes every night when I drive though my town. Plus there was a Dalek at the switch on (Don’t know why) where I was able to get a photo of myself with it. I also decorated my tree, something else I enjoy doing at Christmas spending hours trying to get it right. This year was about four hours (although it take an hour and a half to put the tree together. Four sets of lights, tinsel and bulbuls in a colour scheme (this year being silver and blue). Add in an evening spent wrapping presents to Christmas songs playing. These days I suppose the build up to Christmas means more to me then the day itself.
So Christmas Day a bit boring, waking up that morning by myself. A bit of breakfast, opening a present I’d brought for my alter ego. Then over to my parents, a drink down the club (which this year was surprisingly full) with my dad and Christmas dinner with my parents. My brother and family showed up later and the kids opened the presents brought by my parents and myself. That was exciting. Then home in front of the TV.
Boxing Day not so good. Only one family member (an uncle) coming for Boxing Day. But the evening was spent playing a board game with my parents before heading home and that’s Christmas over. But I had done my best to make it as good as I could. I even spent several hours Christmas Eve sending personal messages to friends on Facebook even those I hadn’t spoken to for ages. And I had pushed myself out a little bit by having my nails done a couple of weeks before for our last skittle game where a few free drinks were consumed. And to be fair although there was a bit of piss taking overall the reaction wasn’t as bad as I feared. I remember sitting waiting to have my nails done thinking do I really want to do this. But I have a couple of friends who have taught me to be myself and sod anyone else. And I was pleased with them.

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And so finally let’s try and look at what Christmas means for me in the future. The problem is it’s hard to tell without some supernatural being showing me. This time next year will I be with someone else, or more comfortable with myself that I can ask for more ‘female’ gifts? Will I still be in this town or even this country if plans come to fruition? One of the things I do at Christmas is watch Christmas films especially different versions of A Christmas Carol. And there is the message there to always keep Christmas in your heart. Yes that’s meant to be all year round and I like to think I do my best to help others where I can and try to be a good man person. But around this time next year I will again do my best to see what I can do to make Christmas special to me and those around me.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas and going forward a peaceful and happy New Year.

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