Long time readers of my post will know that we are a very close and loving family. Whilst I am an only child, my hubby has an older sister and a younger brother. They both have respective spouses and there’s even an annoying niece in the mix too (I had to put that as she always reads my blog )
I actually think of all of his siblings/in laws as my own. We have great times together, lots of fun, laughter, holidays, bottles of wine and adventures.
We have gone away both in the UK and abroad together. Held Murder Mystery parties. Gone to Christmas Balls. Been to the theatre. Gone to the seaside together.
But mainly we visit each other’s houses, having lovely meals, great company and more than a few drinks.
This Christmas has been even more special with the arrival of the youngest brother, Paul. You see, he and his lovely wife Dawn live in America. They have been there for over 17 years now, so we don’t get to see each other as much as would all would like.
This is due to respective jobs, finances and those pesky things called responsibilities!
However Baby Bear and Little Chick have been a little more fortunate, with trips to South Korea in 2016 together, and Little Chick when to the USA in the summer for a few weeks. As I said, we really do have a strong bond.
For the rest of us, we haven’t seen Paul since a group family holiday to St Lucia nearly three years ago. And as long ago as that seems, the years have flashed past in the blink of an eye.
So when Paul said he was hoping to pop over for a very short visit, we couldn’t have been happier. Well actually, we could have.
If his lovely wife Dawn was able to come along too, that would have been the icing on the cake!
Anyway, I picked him up from Heathrow last Thursday for a week long stay. That meant the rest of the family would all be coming up for the weekend to visit.
This was a perfect opportunity to have Christmas early, with a full turkey dinner, silly party games, alcohol and presents.
Now, who doesn’t like having two lots of Christmases?!?!
So, we provided the location and facilities. Grandma cooked the dinner, Paul bought the wine and we were all set!
I have to say, it has been one of the most enjoyable days I have had in quite awhile.
To start with it was a bit frantic as I had misplaced a bag of presents and I was getting quite worked up about it. However, it was finally located and the stunning, wonderful and very talented niece was put to work wrapping up a couple of last minute presents.
Finally we all sat down for a delicious Christmas dinner, serenaded by Nat King Cole’s Christmas album on the Amazon Alexa.
Afterwards was when the fun really started though.
Twiglet (the fab niece) is a photography student and used my Nikon D3300 to take some photographs. I say some….
277 to be exact.
Admittedly, she did have her prosecco glasses on, so some were better than others.
However, I present here the fun we had at our early Christmas Dinner with the much missed Brother. The silly little Hats and Accessories were from B&M stores for the grand total of £2.49 and the Reindeer Ring Toss was from The Works (last year) for a fiver.
Literally the best £7.50 I have ever spent. We spent ages messing around with them and trying to get the inflatable rings on the antlers. All for £7.50.
Much fun was had by all, and we spent the evening chatting, reminiscing and there may have been a few bottles of wine that were drunk.
All in all, it was a cracking day and I was lucky to receive some lovely presents including a voucher for an “experience for two” with hundreds of things to choose from.
Sounds like it could make a good blog post!!
Anyway, from me and mine…. I wish all my followers and readers a wonderful, peaceful and loving Christmas. Especially to those who are serving the public at this festive time. The Forces, The Emergency Services, Hospitals and more. There are so many I could name, including those charities that do such sterling work supporting the lonely, frightened, suicidal and struggling.
Every year for around 8 years now, I refuse to send Christmas Cards. This is not because I am tight or lazy (although I hate writing them all) I put all the money I would spend on cards, stamps and paper etc and I make a donation to a different Charity, usually a local one.
This year however, I will be sending my money to Crisis.
The work they do was brought to my attention when listening to Radio 2 today on the way into work. An old familiar song was playing. But it sounded different!
I remember as a child singing this song during a school concert when I was in Junior school; Ralph McTell’s “Streets Of London”
I sang along with the song, remembering every word. But when I was a child, it was just words I had learnt and sung. Now as an adult, the words hit home and I realised just what he was trying to get across.
It made me cry.
The song has been given a new lease of life, as a duet with Annie Lennox and the Crisis Choir (made up of service users and the charity workers). It is the 50th Anniversary of both the Charity and the Song. If you haven’t seen it, Go watch it on YOUTUBE
Fifty years ago Ralph wrote of the people living on the streets of London and here we are in 2017 and the situation is worse than ever. This should not happen in a First World Country.
I decided that Crisis would be getting my money this year, and popped onto the website. One of the easiest ways of helping is by purchasing the song for just 99p. Every little counts after all. And you can do just that HERE
However I will be “reserving a place” for someone this Christmas. Passing on a little kindness.
After all, Christmas is a time of Goodwill to all.
I don’t do it to make myself feel good. I do it because Charities like this need support for the amazing job that they do.
I am lucky to have my family around me at Christmas time. I know I will squeeze them a little tighter and be more thankful for the joy they bring to my life, after all there are so many more people there that aren’t as lucky.
As Ralph puts it…. “How can you tell me, you’re lonely? And say for you, that the Sun don’t shine”
And he is right.
I am blessed with the love and support of my family (and even though gifts are lovely), that is all we really need in life.
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.