I don't know what your favourite time of the year is, but Christmas is most definitely my favourite. I think it pretty much has been for as long as I can remember. I mean what's not to love, apart from the mince pies and Christmas pudding, I don't understand why we need raisins and sultanas in everything for the festive season, give me gingerbread instead. Everything else though from the lights to the music is pretty magical.
Being lucky enough to have my own child, who's only just starting to get interested in Christmas, I couldn't help but look back on my Christmas' and think about what made me love this season so much. After all, I have the huge responsibility of making it special for a little person now, especially in these challenging times, and really I'd love him to get just as excited as I do. So what did I come up with?
Obviously there's the presents. We all love receiving things we'd like, especially as a child. There was certainly something magical about writing a list for Santa when I was little to find he'd actually left some of the things mentioned under the tree. Of course I was always grateful for the gifts, though I realised that the things that made the lasting memories for me were the interactive presents, especially as I got older. The sort of presents that got everyone together like the dance mat we laughed at my dad on, the quizzes we'd play into the evening, the different versions of bomberman we'd all play while my mum sat and wrote her diary, or the games console we'd take over the television with.
Then there's the food. I've always loved a Christmas dinner and I especially loved leftovers being turned into bubble and squeak. Though thinking about it, the highlight for me is actually the breakfast. I know that's a little strange but I'm a huge breakfast fan anyway and Christmas was the one time of year I could choose anything to start the day with. Well, within reason anyway, and my breakfast of choice was, and still is, pop tarts. There was something about opening my choice of pop tarts, which was never something I was normally allowed, and waiting over the toaster until there was a slight hint of golden brown in the icing on top. For me that was the ultimate treat and if I'm honest, still is.
Then there's the movies, the ones you love but for some reason you don't watch at any other time of the year. The sorts of movies we used to plan our Christmas preparations around back in the days when you couldn't just press a button and go back to the start. The movies that would make us gather around and maybe get the popcorn out. The movies that taught us about Christmas magic and gave us the hope of romance and happy endings. I don't think I have a favourite Christmas movie, there's just too many old and new that I love. Though can you really beat that feeling of watching a Christmas movie whether alone or with those close to you, and taking time out of the craziness of preparations to remember what the Christmas magic is all about.
There were so many other things too from the Christmas night visits to my Nan's house where a lot of air freshener was required. Finding my parents or friends the most perfect presents that we'd be so excited for them to open. The Christmas Eve preparations when all of the treats would start appearing around the house. Even putting the food and drink out for Santa for more years than we needed to. Though even with all of that, I realised something.
The happiest thing about Christmas was that once Christmas Day was over and we were all tucked up in bed, for the next few days we'd just be home together. No sales, no more parties, no more rushing around visiting, we'd done all of that. We'd simply stop, take in our presents, play together, relax together, and put the demands of day to day life on hold (or at least my parents did when I was too young to have pressures).
It might not be the normal Christmas this year and I might be missing family (especially my sister) but I can still stop. I can still put the cleaning, decorating and whatever else aside. I can still make time for quizzes and games with my family, even if it does have to be online. I can still press the pause button and appreciate everything I can about the here and now. Best of all, I can still give my little boy my time to play, time to explore Christmas movies, the chance for the best breakfast and hopefully some gifts that'll bring so much joy.
We might be home with a million things to do, be away from loved ones, but I'm giving this year a really good go. Christmas is only cancelled if we let it and I'm not letting the best time of year go.