The season of goodwill, joy, happiness and here I sit knowing I should not be at my laptop, listening to my children squabbling as their emotions run high and exhaustion breaks, but should be amongst them wiping tears and creating smiles...
Christmas, I love it, yet hate it all at the same time, the stress the upset, the tears.
When it goes well, when everything is right, it is perfect, but text book Christmas' are not easy to pull off are they?
Yesterday me and Chloe went off into town to pick up some last minute stocking fillers, we walked around and around for about 4 hours, we returned with a tiny selection of nothing much, we ponded and thought and picked up and put back, so many gifts, I looked over the selections on display and longed for a money tree to enable me to purchase the shinny gifts that lit up Chloes eyes, instead we came away with token gestures side tracking around the beautiful impressive gifts and selecting the small token items instead as our budget couldn't stretch, each shop we entered added another stone of guilt to my shoulders, as Chloe excitedly ran over to this and that, quietly clocking the never never of riches.
But her non expectations and smile of happiness as we picked out £1 items for her brothers melted my heart, the true gifts are not measured by their price tag.
In the midst of everyone busily rushing around the town centre, amongst the shops selling their wears hoping to attract the money from peoples pockets, the over priced bright coloured boxes sitting in the windows telling us without spending our money on these things we somehow are not giving, amongst this, without the spending the true Christmas Spirit is there.
We rushed around and stood in a que, a lady behind us flustered on her phone, explaining she could not find the Game shop, explaining to the person on the other end of the phone that she would maybe have to leave the one gift she had braved the ques for, the gift she knew would be expected and the one without which would lead to disappointment, she put down the phone and was obviously stressed, I knew which shop she was after, I knew it had recently moved, so I turned and explained to her the new location, she couldn't follow my directions, passed the Santa, turn left... She explained she didn't come into this shopping centre very often and studied my eyes as she tried to clock the route.
The que was shollowing and our turn had come, I paid for our items and was bustled out of the shop in the flow of manic buyers, I could have just walked on not sparing any more thought, but instead I stopped by the door and waited, a few minutes later the lady appeared and the smile on her face when she saw me stood there was magical, I walked her to the new located store and we parted our ways as she wished me a Merry Christmas.
A little later we entered the other shopping centre and saw a sign 'Free Gift Wrapping Today'
Amongst the cash machines and stores taking more money than any other day of the year, were a set of people with smiles on their faces offering to wrap our gifts for free, with a mince pie too.
A Balloon artist entertaining the children making huge reindeer and funny hats, smiling, joking. People exchanging good will wishes meant with meaning, and no money passing hands at all.
Tomorrow we are off to my Grandparents, I'll be cooking up a pre Christmas, Christmas lunch.
Spending time with my Gran and Granddad, whos health means they won't be able to get to anywhere else to celebrate this year, giving them our presence instead of presents hoping that it entails smiles and happiness and all that is wonderful about the season with not so much stress and tears.
Then Christmas day, after Santa has been, bearing all the gifts that my children constantly ask for, hoping they are happy with their selections, even if the pile is missing elements of their wish list, we are off to spend the day with my parents,Taking the time to be with those we love and are thankful for, hoping the day passes without the fluster of tired tears and greedy demands, hoping that for once, for this one day we all can sit around and be genuinely happy amongst those who mean the most.
And it is because of this, I am now shutting my laptop. I will not be posting again here until the new year, I am off to ensure I am not half tracked, with one hand on my laptop as I nod and hush my children, no I want to give fully with the one gift I can - my time.
To everyone who has made this Year a good one I wish you all a VERY merry Christmas and I hope that 2013 brings whatever we all wish for.