What Christmas means to me

Since I was a child, Christmas was always one of my favourite days of the year. From the decorations, the films to the food - I loved every aspect. Becoming a Mother myself, I saw Christmas from a new angle and it became about making the festive period special for my children.

I save for Christmas through the year; when our savings account matures at the end of November each year we take our annual shopping trips to Liverpool and Trafford Centre. Most of my friends have Christmas boxed off before the end of October, but we like shopping with the buzz of the festive atmosphere. I love walking from shop to shop hearing the same songs on repeat, looking at all the decorations and Christmas lights, warming up with a Hot Chocolate at Hotel Chocolat. Then coming home to wrap presents and eat mince pies with a Christmas film playing in the background.

Then, everything changed in 2013. We left home on the 13th November and I promised Osh that the minute we arrive back at home, we can begin our Christmas celebrations. At this point, I still thought we would be home well before the end of November. But before we knew it, there was only a week until Christmas and we'd accepted that we would not be home until well into the new year. Christmas at home happened on the 1st February 2014.

What I learnt that year is that Christmas is only one day of the whole year, for as long as you have your family together - it doesn't have to be 25th December, it can be whichever day you decide. But what I did miss that year was the Christmas build up. We didn't come home from school to watch a film with hot chocolate for the whole of December, there was no advent calendar. When you're doing your entire Christmas shop on the 29th January, the Christmas decorations and music have long gone. TV channels have stopped playing the films and the music channels no longer playing Christmas music. Trying to find Christmas wrapping paper is difficult and nowhere still selling Christmas pj's. I had to cram a month full of Christmas in a couple of days.

Fast forward to 2018, we've been watching Christmas shows since the 23rd October. It's no longer about Christmas Day for me, it's about making memories and building up the excitement for the kids. It's about seeing loved ones, feeling like part of a family. Being grateful for a family to love and for a family that loves us back. It's about a Husband, Wife and three children at home together on Christmas morning. Being grateful for our health.

It's also for remembering those who are now right in the same place that we were in December 2013.

Every year since then, I've looked to appreciate more than just Christmas Day. This year, the same as last year - I'll be working between 12-4pm. For sure, I'll miss sitting down for Christmas lunch with my family, but that's only a small part of the celebrations. There will be families in Hospital who would do anything to be the one at work while their kids are home, rather than watch their child endure tough treatments in Hospital. There are medical staff up and down this country who have given up their Christmas Day to care for others, their shifts will be three times the length of mine at least.

So before we all get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, let's remember that as lovely as it is to spoil the ones we love - spending time with them means so much more.


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