A decision of the utmost kind was made last week as we decided not to go for a tree this year. Part of me hates this but part of me is also glad. Mabel has grown to the length of a roadside atlas but she still, judging by the way she tries to sit on my chest in the morning, thinks she is tiny and palm-sized. Knowing her nature, there is no way she'd resist getting up inside a tree. And knowing Christmas trees, there is no way it would still be upright every morning.
It felt like a level of stress we could do without this year.
So instead, I treated myself to some tiny lights strung on copper wire to decorate the bookshelves. This weekend, I may hang some baubles from curtain rails, as well as some more lights. Candles are dotted around and, thanks to the judicious use of museum wax, they can't be knocked over by small, curious and not at all malevolent paws.
I shall miss hanging up the dinosaur though. And my Nan's weird 50s polar bear. And continuing the tradition of buying one new ornament a year, started 22 years ago when my son was only 6 months old. But I figure the world will not stop just because I don't buy a novelty glittery sloth clutching a piece of holly.
Last year, we had our lovely stripy Loki to keep us company. The way he would fall asleep on the tender part of your leg, gradually allowing his full weight (and he was a hefty boy) to turn your limb numb was a real sign of affection. Or cold. It was hard to tell which.
Sadly he went to the great sandbox in the sky just as lockdown #1 bit. Now we have Mabel, who is slender and slight and altogether too flighty for sitting on knees for longer than 2 minutes. She has the attention span of a butterfly and the ears of a bat. I have already purchased her Christmas toy of a pudding on a string with a bell and some feathers. She has no idea what time of year it is but she knows that this pudding must SUBMIT to her will and claws.
I am feeling rather smug and ahead of myself though: last night I wrote all my Christmas cards, today I shall post them, I've delegated all remaining present buying to N as I've finished getting what I need from the shops (my side of the family is all done *smug level increasing*). I even found time to buy myself a stack of secondhand books, but then, the world could be burning and I'd still find time to nip into a bookshop.
The cats are currently out of their tiny minds with joy as I'm making pompoms for a door wreath (oh yes, the whimsy is strong in this one). For every 2 I make for the door, I make one for them to bat around and tear apart with all the ferocity of a lion attacking a wildebeest on the Serengeti.
Partly this is down to my own ill health. Beset by a number of ailments that doctors either scratched their heads over or snorted and told me to stop being dramatic, it has not been the easiest of 18 months. BUT. I am from sturdy Lancashire stock: lying around bemoaning my fate is Not Allowed and would probably make the assorted Doris's and Gladys's in my genealogy spin so hard in their graves, buildings would topple. So I am looking for answers and cures where I can providing no one uses the phrases "clean eating", "crystal therapy" or "this tea tasting like manure will really detox your liver".
So today I see a nutritional therapist and on the 22nd I go into hospital to have a part of me removed that's responsible for some of the problems. Merry Christmas!
This obviously means self-isolating for 2 weeks (from next Tuesday) and then not being fit enough for the usual round of families etc. Do you know what? I am completely happy with this. My op is at a small private hospital 10 minutes away (it was that or the choice of 2 huge public hospitals 40 minutes away), which means N can get to wave through the window on a daily basis - although I suspect I'll be booted out by Christmas Day - and then, oh then!, I get to REST.
Oh yes friends, REST. Properly, staying in bed, no-lifting-heavier-than-a-kettle, no gallivanting, REST. After the 1st 2 weeks, Covid situation allowing, I can welcome visitors to my bedside with an air of regal suffering. I shall be gracious in my acceptance of gifts and good wishes with an air of benevolent, plucky elegance.
Plus I shall off my face on some massive painkillers, so you know, it's all good.