Rather than attempt to describe the last week, I thought I’d just share with you a list of some things I won’t be doing next Christmas:
I won’t be absent-mindedly buying a Christmas tree so tall that not only does it not fit into the lounge, it can’t even be cut to size without looking like a shrubbery.
I won’t be refusing to immediately return the ninety-eight foot Christmas Tree, but instead deciding it will be fine in the conservatory next to the lounge, where we can at least still see it. I hasten to add this is not a lovely conservatory with nice furniture, lighting and heating that people can actually sit in. That was the original plan when we moved in when I was six months pregnant with our first. But then we had the baby and proceeded confidently onto plan B, which was to do absolutely nothing to the house ever again.
It is therefore a conservatory that houses the kids’ bikes, the tumble dryer and one old armchair covered in dog hair. It’s pitch black at night, freezing cold all the time and the only time any of us uses it in the winter, is when we dance through it, hopping from one icy bare foot to the other in order to let the dog out.
The dog has, not unreasonably, decided that since it’s in his territory it is therefore his Christmas tree and he is absolutely delighted with it. It’s fast becoming his very special friend, if you know what I mean.
I won’t be having anything to do with the Christmas tree lights. Last year I googled how to properly wind the lights round each other so that they don’t get tangled. For once, I had no sense of impending doom when lifting them from the box of decorations. I’d even go so far as to say I was quite smug.
If only I’d been able to see 90 seconds into my future, I would have seen myself standing in the centre of an enormous nest of wires, the air blue with expletives, trying to pinpoint my primary emotion out of a choice of hopelessness, desperation and anger.
My husband made the gravest of errors while this was going on. Several actually. Firstly, he approached me. Secondly, he stood too close to me, in clear breach of the invisible anger barrier that grows around me in these situations. And finally, he spoke. And what’s worse is what he said. He a) offered help, and b) reminded me cheerfully that the lights wouldn’t go round the whole tree this year because I’d accidentally ordered a giant tree that would make Jack’s Beanstalk look like a pot plant.
Last but not least, I won’t be going anywhere near an ice rink. Ice rinks are for people who have abilities. Abilities such as balance, confidence and spatial awareness. An understanding of gravity is pretty useful as well. Still, I managed to make my family laugh until they cried.
Apparently watching me sitting on the ice, clutching the sides of my skull in a panic-fuelled bid to hold on to as many remaining brain cells as possible, cheered my loved ones right up. Even more so when the young lad working at the rink took pity on me and offered me one of those plastic seals they give to toddlers to cling onto.
Despite all the above, I’m really looking forward to Christmas. It’s taken me ages to feel ‘Christmassy’ but now I do. I’m sitting here looking through the patio doors into the pitch-black room next door at my beautifully, if sparsely, lit Christmas tree, with loads to do and nothing wrapped. But my husband has just handed me a glass of red, I can hear my girls upstairs laughing together, and I know just how lucky I am to have them all here with me. And if it weren’t for them, my world would be an unhappier place.
And of course, if it weren’t for them, many many vineyards would have gone out of business by now.
Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a happy and healthy one