I grew up in East Africa but we always had a very traditional English Christmas, minus the cold weather and the commercialism. These are a few of the things I used to love…the Christmas service at Nairobi Cathedral was always very magical with the carols and Christmas readings. My favourite thing was to wiggle my toes on Christmas morning and encounter something lumpy at the bottom of my bed, which made a unique rustling sound – my stocking! (Actually, it was always a pillow case, but we called it a stocking). I always waited until my sisters were awake and then we’d troop off to my parents’ room, sit on the end of their bed and open everything there. It’s hard to say why unwrapping a series of small gifts is so exciting but, having watched my sons’ faces every year, it doesn’t seem to have lost its appeal! We always had our meal in the evening (as the weather was always beautiful in Nairobi at that time of the year we might even have gone swimming during the day) – roast turkey, chipolatas wrapped in bacon, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and homemade gravy. This was followed by my mum’s delicious mince pies (I still use her recipe to this day), Christmas pudding ( with a lucky “sixpence” hidden in there) and luscious brandy butter. I remember the candlelight and the happy faces and pulling the crackers (again, the pleasure of the tiny toy hidden inside) and everyone taking it in turns to read out the corny jokes.
When I grew up and had children of my own I tried to recreate the same magic. My own love of Christmas took a serious knock the year my first husband left and since then I’ve felt a sort of homesickness at Christmas – nostalgia for the good old days, perhaps. But I realised two things – Christmas for me is about the children and I can delight in their pleasure. It’s about being grateful for the people in my life today, the people I love.
Whatever your thoughts, hopes and plans this Christmas, I’d like to help you to make it as stress-free as possible.
I’m hosting a free webinar today (8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST/ 3 pm EST) entitled THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE to Coping With Christmas.
You can log in and listen from the comfort of your own home – all you need is your PC, laptop or tablet and your log in code. To get that, just fill in your details in the form below.