The festive season is upon us. Town lights shine, trees are adorned with trinkets and the shopping list keeps growing. I love this time of year even though it’s full of nostalgia. Reminding me that life hasn’t always been so kind.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a loving family to share in the good times. This time of year can be the loneliest of all, to those who have no one. Even though I have children and a husband to share this year with, I’m still aware that at any point that could change. For me Christmas is about showing the people you care about, how much they mean to you. Having the time to create memories that are built to last. Sharing, loving and enjoying.
I grew up in a dysfunctional and ‘off and on’ broken family. Christmas time was either ‘we will have a wonderful family time’ or mum over compensating for a single parent type of Christmas. To my two younger sisters, brother and I, all the holidays were magical. They still hold a special place in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.
When I was eighteen, mum died from a brain hemorrhage. It was 3 months before Christmas. I was numb, battered by grief and the constant changing environment. Dad moved back into the family home and the holidays crept up on us.
That Christmas Dad gave me £100 to buy my eleven year old sister gifts.
‘Like mum would have done because I didn’t know where to start,’ dad said.
The irony was, neither did I. Christmas went from thoughtful gifts, warms smiles and the pretense of Santa. To a bottle of wine and pack of cigarettes under the tree. I appreciated the gifts, at that point alcohol was a welcome distraction.
The next five Christmas passed in a state of equal disrepair to the half family that remained. Just my brother, youngest sister and me. Dad hated Christmas, choosing to spend it in the pub or at his new home.
Leaving the three of us to create new family traditions. I would pick small gifts, with the little money I had. Bought with the intention of showing I cared. I’d start buying food in November so I could budget for treats and a turkey. We would decorate tree with mums ornaments and be thankful we still had each other.
This year I’ll be thanking my lucky stars for my friends and family. They give my life great meaning and support.
What do you have to be grateful for this year? Maybe you know someone that might be lonely this Christmas?