[Started 05-Jan] The Christmas tree still sits in the corner of the living room, diagonally across from me as I sit here on the couch typing away. Waiting for the twelfth day of Christmas to end, its cheerful red, green, blue and yellow lights shine out across the room, matched by the lights in the bay window that greet passers by on the street.
On the top of the tree perches a happy snowman, crocheted by my middle brother's partner. No glass baubles this year, just plastic and metal ones secondhand from a charity shop, gifted to me at a Secret Santa with our pub quiz group on the last Christmas before the pandemic (and our baby) arrived. That baby is now an 18-month old, happy and curious about the world, so the Christmas pudding, reindeer and snowman faced baubles are higher up than they were at first, out of reach of little hands that explore, examine and then throw them, accompanied by merry exclamations of “Ball!”
It was a good, if low-key, Christmas and New Year overall. Another one where we couldn't travel to see family, the threat and uncertainty of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 too much for family members with vulnerable health to comfortably risk exposure. Probably for the best as although we continued to avoid COVID, we all embraced yet another nursery cold that we didn't need to pass on to others! Skype, Facetime, Zoom, phone calls, WhatsApp, Signal and text messages to the rescue once more to stay in touch.
In between sniffles and coughs, Christmas and New Year season with a toddler (in a new house as well) brought a fresh perspective of its own. It was great to see our daughter's face light up with the Christmas lights in the neighbourhood, witness her dance on the street at the Christmas carols outside the post office and pharmacy down the road, see her “tap-tap” on boxes of presents followed by baby-signing “open, open!”. She's developing so fast right now, words coming along and her personality shining out.
And ah, the Christmas food! This year it occurred to me that it's a bit like a Bingo card but one where you're content with getting a line or two as a full house always seems out of reach. For example, I managed to source the pickled onions I missed out on last year but left it too late to hunt down a bottle of Bitter Lemon or a stolen. My wife did find time to bake cookies, continuing a family tradition that is even more important for feeling connected at a time when her family is still an ocean away.
The twelfth day of Christmas is also my wife's birthday, so I helped my little one decorate and then deliver a card for her (interrupting her lie-in to the extravagant time of almost seven a.m.!), cooked up the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with glasses of Bucks Fizz that we didn't squeeze into Christmas, she sliced into an indulgent Marks and Spencer's cake, and we all messily dug into a takeaway curry.
[06-Jan] ...I almost got to the end of this entry and posted it but the needs of a restless and unhappy toddler trumped my blogging! The Christmas tree is down now but a new IKEA table and chair set sits in its place, the first for my daughter. She came home from nursery and her confusion at the tree going away was rapidly replaced with eagerness to sit at her very own table and chair and start colouring in. Success!
Entry 95 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!