Father Christmas, the bottomless glass of port and ghosts of Christmas Past.

Merry Christmas! That’s right – The blog is back (finally) and just in time for a quick festive post before you all fall into your food comas or cheeseboard hangovers. It’s nothing too deep or inspiring but Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year and I cannot begin to explain the kind of therapy sharing good memories provides.

I haven’t written for a while because becoming a maths teacher is far more brain/body/time consuming than I had realised, though I won’t apologise  – that’s something I’ll be talking about in my next post. This term I’ve had the absolute pleasure of being a form tutor for year 7 so I thought I’d round off my year with some Christmas activities. The one that inspired this post was “What does Christmas mean to you?”. Some said Christmas was about the presents, others about family and one child after my own heart said “THE FOOD MISS!” – I quite agree.

Following our talks about this time of year and hearing about all of their hopes, thoughts and wishes, I haven’t been able to shake the nostalgia their excited little faces bought back to me. So what does Christmas mean to me?? and…I know…Where are we headed with this one?

Well… I have been blessed in my 25 years to have spent every one of my Christmas’ with some absolute crackers. When I was little my grandparents, aunts and uncles shaped the day. Particular memories to note are synchronising Furbies with Grandma – Peak 90’s fun; watching countless family members put away an absolute mountain of cheese and wondering why the red stuff made everyone so loud. But for all those who I have shared Christmas with, there is always one who comes to mind first. Let me present to you – My dad – The embodiment of my Christmas past, present and future.

My favourite memories of Christmas and the favourite parts of my-christmas-self are without a doubt a gift from my dad. He was by no means perfect and by no means the big merry man you might imagine would inspire such fond thoughts. He was merry…often on port…and he was a big lover of food, laughter and ME (a man of great taste). Dad introduced me to the finer things at Christmas 70’s revival Prawn cocktail starters, Only fools and horses Christmas Specials, Morcambe and Wise, The Royle Family, port, Blackadder, really stinky cheese, The Vicar of Dibley, opening a cheeky present on Christmas eve and retiring to bed after cooking so you don’t have to be sociable. Okay so…maybe we didn’t have the classiest Christmas’ but Christmas memories are absolutely my best memories with my Dad. Even in our worst years  – when I was a grumpy teenager and his health was declining, we’d eat like kings and sit on his bed watching some inappropriate comedy Mum definitely didn’t approve of. I particularly remember his face as I opened presents – especially the one he’d handpicked for early opening. I think he was more excited for me than I was for myself and it’s moments like that where I felt whole and loved and absolutely ready for a whopper of a selection box.

On the 25th December every year I try to become everything dad was. I hope one day I can be half the cook he was, have half the sense of humor and be able to hold down half of the port. When mum heads off to Midnight mass, instead of sat next to him laughing or snoring…or eating – I will remember him…and I will miss him dearly.  This time of year is especially hard when we cannot spend it with those we love most. It is hard to laugh fully, eat heartily and share merrily. Christmas can be desperately lonely – whether you are surrounded by many people or otherwise. I believe those we grieve for are only really gone when we stop remembering them. An almost impossible feat. So if you feel sadness this year – you are not alone. Allow yourself to feel it without judgement. Give yourself some time to grieve if you need to; to cry, but then remind yourself that Christmas is about the food, the laughter and those you love. So laugh without reason, eat without consideration of that waistband and make memories without guilt. I would give anything to hug my dad tonight and watch something ridiculous on TV but I will settle for the wonderful memories I get to keep and now that Santa mysteriously doesn’t visit anymore I guess i’ll treat myself to a carrot and a tipple.

My dad’s parting advice for his grandson’s at Christmas is something I like to remember and something I will tell my kids in Christmas’ future – One of life’s most valuable presents – True wisdom: Brush your teeth. Be lucky. Be happy.

So there you go…

If you need to talk this Christmas reach out to your loves ones, they want your happiness as much as they need their own and if you can’t face talking to those you love… you can always chat to me. I promise to listen as best as one can with a snowball in hand and cry with/for you – I’m really very good at that given the opportunity.

Hope to write again soon. Best wishes for a happy, hearty and peaceful Christmas to you all.



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