I no longer fear Christmas. For around 12 years I would build my hopes up and look forward to a Christmas of goodwill and cheer and hope, only to have them all dashed by the person I was with at the time. Now those days are long gone.
This year – as I have done for the last 6 years – I am looking forward to another perfect Christmas. The first year that Grace was born – 2007 – she was almost one, I was living with my Mum and had all my family around me. Despite the fact that I had no money for Christmas presents and was going through a very tough time, I was contented and happy and had my little girl with me. The following three years were much the same.
Then came Christmas 2011. That was my first Christmas with Ross and it was my most perfect year with a man who got just as excited about Christmas as I did!
I still recall the lead up with so much happiness as we shopped and planned together. Ross had this wonderful idea to take Grace to Toys R Us in Reading to show her around and help give us ideas of the perfect presents she would like. She had a wonderful time with us choosing and we were all like big kids wandering around the huge toy shop. Then, one weekend when we were child-free, we returned back to the store to pick up all the toys she had chosen as well as popping into Argos and Hobbycraft for more!
At that point Ross and I weren’t living together but we took my tree (his was a rather sorry little thing!) and decorations round to his house and had a wonderful time decorating together. Grace and I stayed with him from the moment she broke up until she returned to school in the New Year. I was also directing a Panto that year so we had lots of running around to do – but we did it together. I didn’t feel in any way shape or form that all the onus was all on me to make things special unlike numerous previous years.
We took Grace to see Father Christmas at Marwell Zoo. A really magical event as it was set in Marwell House with an ice cave, Mother Christmas telling stories, gingerbread man decorating and, of course, the visit to the man in red himself! To this day we still agree that this was our most favourite visit so far (although Grace tells us that it probably wasn’t the real Father Christmas ‘as he seemed a bit young’!).
Then came the most magical moment of all for me. Do excuse me…I will probably cry as I write this…thank goodness blogging doesn’t smudge!!
The morning after Grace broke up from school (this was after Ross had turned his office into a bedroom for Grace) the three of us lay on Grace’s bed together and listened to the DVD of the story of ‘The Snowman’ read by Bernard Cribbins. With Grace in the middle, and Ross and I on either side, we listened intently to the story. Grace was almost 5 years old by this point so she could appreciate the wonder and magic of the tale and it’s music. As it got to the very familiar ‘Walking in the Air’, Grace, Ross and I picked up a cuddly toy each and made them ‘fly’. This is one of my most perfect Christmas memories EVER and one I shall always treasure.
Ross’ parents and his sister and boyfriend then arrived to spend Christmas Day with us. I was cooking turkey with all the trimmings and I had a fabulous time doing it as I was able to give something back to the family. Ross, like his father before him, had wanted to set up all the presents in the lounge and we all waited patiently outside the door for him to finish.
When we walked in, we were greeted with a wonderful sight and the dulcet tones of Doofenshmirtz from ‘Phineas and Ferb’ with a song Ross, Grace and I had become rather obsessed with and still love now! I am going to share it with you 🙂
The rest of the Christmas period that year was a complete and utter joy for me. We spent Boxing Day with my family and then Grace went off to her father’s and I missed her like mad. Ross and I went to stay in Portland with his parents for New Years Eve. It was absolutely wonderful and the only thing missing that would have made it perfect was Grace.
This year, as with last, we are off to visit Ross’ parents for Christmas and then once again visiting my family on Boxing Day and I have no doubt it will be just as perfect as the last two.
I shall leave you with a photo below of Grace which completely sums the face of a child at Christmas!