Next Christmas – Notes to Self


  1. Don’t overplan – On the 20th, last year, you locked yourself out of the house, your car filled up with water and your hubby broke down on the motorway in a rented van. Didn’t plan for that did you? But you survived. Go with the flow
  2. However busy you are, it’s a good idea to wrap presents before Christmas Eve
  3. Nobody tells the queen if you watch her on i-player
  4. When you suddenly remember very late in the day that RFM (Random Family Member) loves After Eights/Ginger wine/nuts, do not under any circumstances rush to Tesco. It will end badly (and RFM might not have room for said favourite anyway)
  5. Everyone hates sprouts Except Steve, so just buy as surprise present and wrap (before Christmas Eve)
  6. There are twelve days of Christmas but only one Christmas Day. Just one day. Like your birthday, Easter, shopping in Brighton and the day you had your sinuses done. 24 hours. They pass quickly for good or for ill.
  7. If you buy wooden letters again for your homemade crackers, check the whole alphabet is there, especially the Rs. Wowy will be grateful.
  8. Buy prunes
  9. It’s easy to slip on mud when thinking about Christmas lists instead of how to walk. Staying upright is cleaner (and more useful for completing Christmas lists)
  10. The people you love most may irritate you at times. But one day your time with them will run out. Treasure them.
  11. Sausages work well on Christmas Eve. Well done. And no one will remember they had them last year. Probably (anyway, we have turkey every year and no one seems to mind that)
  12. Check bedroom carpets for cat sick

Simplify everything. Spend less, buy less, cook less. Give time not money. At Christmas, there will be moments of joy, pain, tenderness, annoyance and hysterical laughter, as on other days. But a tiny part of you will choose to forget this and, like an oyster madly coating a grain of sand, you’ll believe if you work hard enough, this Christmas will be a perfect pearl. This is a lie. Its success does not depend on you. In this life, you stumble across pearls when you least expect them (in hospital, in traffic, in sudden smiles).

Soon there will be long January evenings where you won’t have to write cards, plan menus or google gifts. Use then wisely. And if you are asked to make a sudden journey in unusual circumstances (e.g. by starlight, carrying gifts, wearing a crown) do it. You may find something life changing happens.

Happy 2020 Everybody! Many thanks to those of you who keep coming back to read my blog (I hope you like the new layout). I am genuinely grateful that you sometimes find the things I write worth reading. See you on the other side…

6 thoughts on “Next Christmas – Notes to Self

  1. We’ve just lived through a very unexpected Christmas – but despite the incredibly sad, and difficult times, and unplanned enforced rearrangements, there have been moments to treasure. So so..y about the c.acke.s. Now you’ve reminded me of the year my aunt couldn’t understand why my husband was given handkerchiefs with R on them. “But his name is Bob” she protested. I had to explain his family call him by his given name of Robert

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    1. Sorry you’ve had a challenging time, Angela. Always so much harder at Christmas but well done for spotting the moments to treasure in them. That’s funny re Bob’s name! Trusting 2020 will be a good one for you and yours. xxx

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  2. That made me cry. And laugh. Especially checking for cat sick, though I would add checking your bedroom for mice on Christmas morning to your list (before your cat does, and it all kicks off). You are totally right, and I will try to remember your pointers for next year. Sounds as though we may have had similar experiences, in which case you have my sympathies.

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    1. Thanks Jan! The mouse issue sounds interesting. I’m always too ambitious at Christmas, and try to do too much which, on top of an already busy lifestyle is not a great idea. I never seem to learn though. It’s a strange and lovely time of year in so many ways 🙂 Thanks a lot for reading and commenting.

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