Good morning! Merry Christmas! 7.30am and I stumble bleary eyed out of bed. Two long and tiring 12 hour days in the direct lead up to Christmas means no time for food shopping and present shopping there hasn’t really been any prep of vegetables or meat for the big day. Up and at ’em at the crack of dawn, well that’s how it feels after one of two cheeky glasses of wine.
After having worked on Christmas Day for the last two years, I want today to be special. The fridge has more food than Tesco and the cupboards ooze biscuits and chocolate. Why do we go so mad. I could feed a small army for a week.
The house is in darkness, Christmas tree lights flicked on and the oven fired up. Oscar, the cat, senses the difference in days. How he does it we never know. He has presents but because he’s nosey they aren’t under the tree – yet. He sits beneath the tree, waiting for the house to awake.
Table set for brunch. They won’t be awake for breakfast.
Creaky floorboards above indicate signs of life. The Boss emerges wiping sleep from his eyes carrying Santa Sacks for our two Jellybeans. They tell us that the day you stop believing, is the day Santa stops coming so they still believe, or so they tell me. It’s at this point that I tell a little white lie. We’ve had the same Santa Sacks for donkey’s years. Last year they finally gave up the ghost and died. I discovered this morning that I’d forgotten to buy new ones. Mega parent failure. It’s a good job Lidl and TKMax do huge bags for life. Shopping bags this morning double up as Santa Sacks. Who cares it’s the thought that counts.
Slowly the Jellybeans start to appear, starting with the youngest. She comes armed with Oscar’s presents. Carefully and quietly hidden under the tree, he snores throughout, blissfully unaware. The eldest Jellybean emerges and the giving of presents begins. Christmas has begun. Screwed up balls of wrapping paper are thrown towards the centre of the room, in a vain attempt at trying to wake the cat up. He’s having non of it. He just yawns and squints at us. Nodding back off to sleep. Eventually giving in, its amazing what a whiff of catnip can do, our Christmas as a family begins.
Brunch consumed. Eggs Benedict on lightly toasted muffins, The Boss’ speciality. Served with freshly squeezed orange juice, this is a hit with the Jellybeans. Me? Just the muffins and the bacon please, eggs, food of the devil.
Festive phone calls made and catch up with the family back home and my sister in the States. Feeling suitably stuffed it’s time for a festive walk in the woods. Muddy underfoot, walking boots are needed. Seemingly popular this afternoon, dog walkers and family are out walking off the calories. Christmas greetings are exchanged and dogs bound around enjoying the still late afternoon, grey clouds gather overhead threatening bad weather for later. We eat late on Christmas Day so our big calorie consumption will be later.
Back from the walk and it’s time to start on the veg. All systems go and by 5.30pm serving platters are loaded. Plates are warmed and Christmas Dinner has begun. Just the four of us this year. It’s a rare occasion for us just to have Christmas together, no-one else at our table. This year it’s special. My Jellybeans are grown up now and if this happens to be our last Christmas together as a little family unit then it’s been a good ‘un. You never know when they’ll flee the nest.
And, so it is, early to bed for The Boss, Christmas ends here. His next shift starts in the small hours of Boxing Day morning, 01.15am start to be precise. No Christmas alcoholic cheer for him as he treads the stairs to bed, not really tired and not ready to leave the family on this special day. I sit for a while with a chilled glass of Baileys and watch David Attenborough talk us through the life of a family of cheetahs. Christmas Day ended early and sober and it was good.