I always wake up on Boxing day snug and warm at my in-laws. When I wake up, I sleepily register that I am not at home, and then usually smell fresh coffee creeping in under the door. As I sit up, I always feel a tiny bit sad that we are at the farthest point we can ever be from Christmas, while at the same time really happy that Christmas has been so lovely, and there is still Boxing Day to come.
This year, Christmas has been wonderful. By rights, with me still only working part time, and really only just getting over the redundancy, and Carl having had 2 months out of work (but happily and thankfully in work again now) it shouldn't have been such a worry free and happy Christmas, yet it really, really was. We woke up at home together on Christmas morning, and I made us tea in our Father Christmas mugs, and we opened our stockings. I had some wonderful treasures in mine, including a kitten calendar, as I had really wanted a kitten for Christmas, but being in a flat it isn't really possible or fair on a kitten, and also a little glass vial of pink sparkly fairy dust! Then we opened our gifts from each other, and then our family and friends. To say that I have been spoiled is an understatement, but more than the gifts themselves was the overwhelming thought and love that had been put into everything.
I had a graphic novel version of Pride and Prejudice which I love, and a notebook with a handmade decoupage fabric cover, a pestle and mortar, an afternoon tea book, oh, so very many things. Oh, and there was also a photograph in a frame of Carl and I taken at an event in the summer with friends. I could go on and on, but the point is really not the things, but that so many people took the time to think of me. And really think, not just buy the nearest gift set in Boots. (I don't mean to sound dismissive of Boot's gift sets, or that I would look down on a gift...but more to try and explain how special it feels when someone has put thought and effort in!)
Dear Carl made me cry a bit with his gift...I had seen a Tiffany necklace when I was in London, and didnt ask for it or in a hundred years dream of actually having it....but he bought it for me without me knowing! It is a silver key on a silver chain, and the chain is so light and delicate it is like a fairy whisper. When I opened the paper I thought I saw Tiffany Blue, but didnt want to say anything because I thought it just looked like Tiffany Blue, and thought it would be awful to be all excited and then find out it wasnt! I feel so very, very lucky.
Better than the gifts though, was the time spent with family, and the messages from friends. We had dinner with my family in the afternoon (which was utterly delicious and featured my Mums amazing sage and onion stuffing and bread sauce, which are legendary, and made only once a year) and then the late afternoon and evening with his family, where we stayed up late into the night playing card and board games. Yesterday we spent with my sister and her husband, enjoying a walk in Castle Park, a wonderful buffet, and more games.
It really is that time with family, the silly crackers (we had musical ones, where each person won a whistle, and there was a sheet of music and a baton to conduct with!) that make this time of year so magical.
I have just booked us tickets to go and see the new Sherlock Holmes film, and then we intend to spend a quiet afternoon together, just enjoying the Christmas tree lights and each other's company, before it is back to work tomorrow.
I hope that each and every one of you had a merry, merry Christmas!