With less than a week to go until Christmas, The Bloke and I have taken to adulting to get everything prepared in advance. I was determined (especially after a such a crazy year), Christmas would be a period in which we could actually relax, do something positive for others and then take some time for ourselves without worrying about last-minute things, and we’ve managed most of it (although the found myself on a mad dash to the postbox yesterday to send off a whole bunch of Christmas cards.
The last quarter of the year is always the busiest. Between October and December there are five birthdays within our family including mine and The Bloke’s and we had our third wedding anniversary at the end of October. Normally we would take a trip somewhere to celebrate at least one of these (last year we went to London for the weekend with my sister and her boyfriend to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi and the year before we fed giraffes at West Midlands Safari Park and went to the Harry Potter Studios Tour) but most of the last few months have been spent trying to stay safe and well at home. Instead I have created almost mini staycations and celebrations indoors, finding interesting things to watch and trying to support local businesses by ordering from them rather than going through the giants that now monopolise the online shopping world (except Lego of course, because The Bloke loves it).
Both of our birthdays were really fun. Most of the restaurants and shops were open at the time of The Bloke’s birthday and so we went for breakfast the day before at The Ivy on Temple Row and then for lunch at The Pineapple Club in the Great Western Arcade (yes, I had two lots of pancakes and make no apologies for it it). On the morning of his birthday The Bloke was surprised with a whole bunch of Lego and a truly epic cake from From Kimmie’s Kitchen, a local bakery that does incredible cupcakes and it was so good that The Bloke went and got his camera just so he could photograph it (click on the images for the full size).
For my birthday we were in the middle of the second lockdown and I had one request: to do absolutely nothing, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I woke up fairly early to find that The Bloke had got up at 4.30am and decorated our living room in balloons and banners which looked awesome. My tech for most of the day, we brought the duvet downstairs and curled up on the couch and watched a whole bunch of films, and I took total advantage of the situation and made him watch Disney’s Hercules (my favourite) while I ate a McDonald’s breakfast and sang along with my favourite songs… because I could. In the evening we ordered a delivery from our favourite Chinese restaurant, Chung Ying, who have been providing an absolutely amazing service since lockdown began. My friend also treated me to a delivery of my favourite cheese, chutney and crackers from Anderson and Hill which was devoured over the following days and I was spoilt rotten with cards, presents, a beautiful bunch of flowers and messages from family and friends.
For the first year ever we decided to get a real tree for Christmas. We have never been able to have one before as up until this year there has always been a cat ready and waiting to destroy it, and while I would rather have a cat this was a small compensation. We bought one from Webbs, a family-run garden business that isn’t far from where we live, but the whole experience was hilarious. I had created a romantic When Harry Met Sally image in my head of the two of us picking out a small tree and walking home carrying it together like they do in the movies. What actually happened was that I got a bit overexcited when I saw them and purchased a much bigger one that we intended, while forgetting to take into consideration that I have the upper body strength of a toddler. As a result The Bloke had to hoist the thing over up and speed walk home before his shoulders fell off. The tree (or Terry, as he is now known) now sits covered in the random decorations we have amassed over the years and is proudly blocking the view of the TV and half of the window in the living room, but he smells fabulous. He’s a bit on the wonky side, bless him, but I’m looking forward to The Bloke, Terry and I spending the rest of the festive season together.
For now, everything is pretty much done. Terry is decorated, cards have been written and posted, presents have been wrapped and I have already got the non-perishable food and snacks treats sitting in the cupboard (of which I’ve already had to stop The Bloke from eating – I’m determined that the do-not-eat-before-Christmas Twiglets will last longer than the three days they lasted last year). All that I need to do now is to be at the supermarket on the day before Christmas Eve as soon as it opens, do a mad dash around the aisles for our Christmas dinner food and be back again before the rest of the world wakes up. I think I managed it in about 30 minutes last year…
What is particularly important to me this year is to do something that will have a positive impact on the wider community. The Bloke and I have been incredibly lucky throughout the chaos and carnage of 2020 and remind ourselves and each other of it every single day, but the reality of this year is that many others haven’t. Within our town there is an amazing food bank and a community organisation that offers free meals, including Christmas dinners that they will be delivering to the vulnerable who are spending Christmas alone, and so we will be helping out in any way that we can. There is also an amazing local cat rescue charity that operates a 24 hour rescue service who are in need of supplies for their residents, so we will be helping them too. Even if we can make just a tiny bit of a difference, it’s worth it.
What about you guys? Are you planned and ready for Christmas?
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