So here we are - it's the 22nd December and only 3 more sleeps till the big man in red does his annual present drop. Or until the sales start- because I'm ashamed to say that Christmas Night in our house now includes a group log on to the M&S Christmas sale, (a tradition that's crept in over the last few years and will be all the more enjoyable on my new iPad.) By late Christmas Eve, the wrapping will be done, presents will be delivered, spuds peeled, table set and the blue ones will be left forlorn in the Roses tin. With the kids finally asleep, and Santa's work done, I'll place our two baby Jesus' into their respective cribs- one porcelain, the other knitted, and for me Christmas will have properly begun.
The run up to Christmas is frantic and it's so easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy. The increasing emails, warning of the last shipping days before Christmas, seem to fuel my inner panic that somehow, someone or something has been forgotten. The carol services, nativity plays, Christmas cards and decorations are, in theory, lovely milestones on the road to Christmas, but are often lost in my swirl of lists, late night shopping and too high expectations. But by Christmas Eve, the work is done. The fridge is packed with food, presents are under the tree and baby Jesus is in the crib at last. There are five healthy babes upstairs dreaming of Santa, and a husband to snog under the mistletoe. On Christmas Day, our house will be filled with family. Most of the people I love most in the world will be around our table, and those that aren't will ring from San Francisco, Sydney and (the tad less glamorous) Kilrea! All ages and stages will be represented, the noise and excitement levels will be off the scale but the plentiful wine will help knock the corners off. I may be cooking but we'll also be enjoying Angie's soup, Mary's carrots, my mum's stuffing and Mark's fruit salad. A big family, a joint effort, a lot of love. And yes, there probably will be times in the midst of the madness when I'll long for a minute's peace, but I'll find that later. For today, I feel deeply grateful for our health and our family and for the season of busy mad Christmas' that we're in right now. So, here's to you and yours- wherever you are, whoever you're with, quiet and peaceful, or filled with noise and people- I thank you most sincerely for bothering to read anything I've written over these past months and I wish you the very best of Christmas', Emmaxx