This year was never going to be a perfect Christmas, and yet, in the end, it was.
I had made plans to spend Christmas this year with my support bubble, (my two best friends) as they couldn’t see either of their families this year, and I’ve always wanted to do a Christmas with friends.
In order to try and mitigate the total lack of the usual holiday fun activities, I booked a lot of outdoor or online stuff to try and make it special. The kid and I spent a lovely evening a couple of weeks before xmas in a socially-distanced cafe decorating gingerbread men, toasting marshmallows by the fire outside and leaping around in the pretend snow from the snow machine. Then my darling daughter screamed for over an hour as her body crashed down hard from the sugar high – she has literally never had that much sugar all at once in her entire life.
We went for a socially-distanced walk with a friend to see the village nativity scene. The kid loved the paper-mache donkey.
I knitted myself a new Santa hat…
We decorated our little tree, Norman who against all odds survived a whole year of being ignored in my garden.
And we even managed a special live zoom visit with Santa, who had a personal message for my daughter which was very exciting.
Then, the week before Christmas, it all went wrong. London moved into Tier 4, Boris rolled back all his Christmas promises and everything basically sucked. I was exhausted, and feeling ill, I had a sore throat and felt tired to the bone. I had booked off 2 days from work while my daughter was still at nursery so I could have a little me-time, and I had all sorts of plans, like going for a swim on my own, and getting a massage and a pedicure.
Instead I spent 2 days sitting on my sofa, knackered and feeling really miserable and down. The loneliness and isolation and general disappointment of all the cancelled events this year really got to me and I threw myself a pity party for a couple of days. I missed my mum and felt really depressed and miserable about everything.
Also my sore throat was a worry, and while it’s not a Covid symptom, it made my food taste a bit weird, and so I had to take a test just in case, and so we weren’t really sure if my bubble could come anyway, so I was sad and lonely and miserable and exhausted and facing the prospect of Christmas alone. And the Illuminated Light trail we had booked at Blenheim Palace for a special Boxing Day treat as it was all outdoors looked like it was going to be cancelled too.
However after wallowing in my own misery for a couple of days, I gave myself a stern talking to, pulled myself up by my bootstraps, and then I got a negative test result, so Christmas was officially back on!
My friends came up on the 23rd and stayed until the 27th. They cooked an AMAZING roast dinner and I was spoiled rotten with presents, and amazingly the kid didn’t wake up at silly o’clock so we had a very civilised 7am start to the big day.
It was actually all lovely and really fun and relaxing, and on Christmas eve they even watched my daughter for a couple of hours so I could go and get a pedicure, so a small part of my original pampering plan was salvaged!
The AMAZING roast dinner my friends cooked on Christmas day. I was not required to lift a finger and aside from briefly using the new vegetable peeler from my stocking (Santa knows me SO well it’s almost as if I had bought it for myself), I was asked to sit quietly and eat chocolate while they cracked on with all the cooking. I chose my support bubble wisely….
The kid got her coveted scooter that she has been asking for since AUGUST. Turns out she can’t steer it yet though, as it requires a whole new set of gross motor skills and some practice, so she was a little frustrated on day 1, though she is slowly getting the hang of it…
And then after all the “it’s cancelled”, “no it’s not” “yes it is” palaver due to all the last-minute Tier changes, we finally got the go-ahead that we could in fact go to the Blenheim light trail on Boxing day, and you know what?
It was flipping magical.
Granted it was not cheap and I know a lot of people who didn’t go because the ticket prices were too high, but I thought it was worth it and it was such a lovely, fun, uplifting (while safely outside in the fresh air and freezing rain) activity. A really fabulous end to our Christmas!
Plus the rain had been really heavy and it was looking like it would be closed from the 27th as the water in the lake was almost up to the path in places as we went through it, so we made it in the nick of time!
On the 27th my lovely friends headed home and the kid and I spent a few quiet days pottering around at home being lazy and going for some cold and frosty walks. No snow here sadly, but it was plenty cold!
And of course then we had to get out my new non-slip yoga mat and weights and try to burn off all that cheese, wine and chocolate!
My favourite gift this year was also from my bubble – an amazing board game that is also a cheese board. Genius!
So all in all, despite overwhelming odds, we had a truly lovely and wonderful Christmas, and while I still miss my family, and wish I could see them sooner, it was fun and memorable and happy, and I am confident that the kid had the best time.
We ended up going down to London for the night to stay with my bubble for New Year’s Eve for a change of scene, which was also lovely, though of course I didn’t make it to midnight, which was a good thing as the kid was up at 6.30am!
2021 has started with a vaguely hopeful vibe – in spite of the new lockdown that has just been announced and the case numbers creeping higher and higher, the vaccine rollout is underway and we hope it won’t be long until we can start getting vaguely back to normal.
I am lucky that nurseries can still open and therefore I can go back to work tomorrow as normal, and I can still access my support bubble on the weekends for help and general companionship.
I made my first loaf of the year, aiming for 2021 but it looks alarmingly like 2020 so we’ll just have to hope it’s not the universe sending me a message via the medium of bread…
So, here’s to 2021.
A fresh start, and a new hope for us all.