Christmas this year has been like a delicious long sigh, breathing out all the tension and breathing in joy carried on a breath of the scent of tinsel, gingerbread and Christmas tree.
In those last few days before Christmas, it felt as though everything would never be done, as though time would be sure to run out before my to-do list was ticked off. But in the event, everything got finished, and everything was just as it should be.
Mum and Dad and my little brother (who at 26 and well over 6 feet tall isn't really a little brother any more!) came for afternoon tea on Christmas Eve, and we watched Miracle On 34th Street. The day had started well with a head massage at a local salon, which was utterly blissful. It ended beautifully, with my first midnight mass at the local cathedral.
I was surprised how dark the cathedral was from the outside, but when we walked in, it was lit with so many candles, and the air was wreathed in insense. The choir sang beautifully, and it was a really good way to start Christmas Day.
By the time I got home, I was so tired my eyes were heavy. I slipped into bed, grateful for the softness of the pillow and that it was time to sleep. We started Christmas Day with coffee and croissants eaten by the light of the Christmas Tree, and opened our stockings and gifts. After that we spent the morning with my family, and the afternoon with Carl's family. It was a lovely day, and I was struck as I always am, how, after all the hustle and bustle and build up on tv and in magazines and online, how utterly simple the day is. How simple but perfect to spend it with the people you love, talking, eating, playing games.
As always, I felt quite overwhelmed by the lovely and thoughtful gifts we received. One of the gifts I am most excited about was from Carl - a sewing machine all of my own! I am already thinking about all the things I can make and sew! It was lovely as well to see people opening gifts we had bought or made, and seeing that they liked them too.
I woke up yesterday with my usual thought that this is the furthest away from Christmas that we can be - oh dear! But also I love the thought of a new year ahead to fill with adventures, a new diary, a new calendar. Writing January instead of December. New Year's Resolutions and targets to be made. Stirrings of ideas for Christmas next year, presents to be made and squirrelled away, cards to be designed and filled with glitter before being sent on their way.
It feels like I have been waiting to exhale for a while, holding my breath without realising it. I hope that my blog has not been too gloomy a place to visit recently. I suddenly feel much, much cheerier.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas,