Wow what a lovely weekend!
As I mentioned on Friday, Mr Kitty and I had a small Christmas Party, inviting some friends and their kids over – everyone got a little pre-christmas silly present and everybody had lots of lovely nibbles.
Normally, we would have made a few cocktails but we stuck with some lovely wine and Irish Cream too. We had a delicious Prawn Platter from M&S including Coconut Prawn Balls which were a delight – I think we will be buying them again.
Also, on Friday, I visited the parents’ home to indulge in all of my favourite traditions.
1 – Putting the Decorations Up
My parents have an unrivalled collection of Christmas decorations. Lots of them belonged to my Grandparents, so they have double the joy. They even have this awesome Nativity hand carved out of Soap. A long since departed member of the family brought it back from Moscow in the early 20th Cenury. We also have my Nan’s famous Disney Baubles (See above), a beautiful The Snowman snowglobe, a Lladro Nativity and some very precious baubles that probably best fit the description of “Relics”. It has always been magical just to gaze into the chest that contains it all, but to dress the tree with them is like spinning a beautiful, twinkling web. This is an art form my mother has perfected, and that I hope to learn.
2 – Spoiling the Dogs
Every year the dogs get little doggy coats. This year, Piglet got a Parka and Chig got a Sherlock Holmes style cape (he is camera shy).
3 – The First Mince Pie of the year
My Nan used to really drill home the importance of saving Mince Pies for Festive Treats – and we were not allowed to eat them until 7th December. That was Friday. Oh, we indulged!
4 – Community Christmas Party
This isnt really a party, its just a bunch of people who have known eachother forever who all get together and have a lovely night in the local area. We hit an Indian Restaurant and then the local pub, where we all sat on the floor in front of the open fire singing Christmas Songs and reminiscing. It was lovely because a very dear friend of mine now lives in Australia, but his parents were there regaling us with stories of his amazing journey over there. We all ate wonderful food, told hilarious stories and generally had a nice neighborhood catch up. Its the one night of the year where the dogs of the community are welcomed into the pub, each given a bowl of water or milk and a packet of treats, and invited to curl up among the locals in front of the blazing fire. Beautiful.
5 – Delivering Flowers to the Graveyard
This might sound morbid, but its actually incredibly lovely. I find visiting the graves of people I have lost to be very heartwarming – I come from a big, old, religious family where death has a frequent place at the table, and so we have learned to feel the warmth of reminiscing instead of the coldness of empty chairs. We mourn quickly, then come closer together to warmly and energetically celebrate the gifts left by those who have departed. Whether those gifts be keepsakes or, more importantly, virtues and lessons, they are shared merrily, and treasured, perhaps with a small tear that is sweet rather than salty.
I often visit my grandparents, their parents and their collective lost children and siblings, leaving flowers, plants or wreaths as I go.
In particular, I spend time where my Nan, Grandad and their second eldest son are buried. The plot is nothing special, somewhere in the middle of a row of other people’s lost loved ones, but to me its a warming, humbling place.
It is very special to stand, silent, on a tranquil patch of Earth that is exclusively theirs, in the knowledge that somewhere above me, they still remain.
…and even more special to know that I am in the middle. Surrounded by an incredible amount of love.