Friday, 12 December 2008

Christmas Ramblings

I managed to write my Christmas cards yesterday. I can't send one to you lot, of course, but, if I could, I would send this one:

It's a lovely card, isn't it? I bought my cards from Oxfam again, this year. There were 3 different views in the boxes I bought. I have used up the one type, entirely, but the other one looked like this:

Anyway, I've written my cards, so that's another tick on my Christmas list. Only another 2 million things to do before Christmas, then. Nearly there!

Every year, when Christmas looms, I am reminded of the things I intended to do during the current year, or of the things I started, but which remain unfinished. I habitually whip myself into a frenzy, during the month of December, trying to finish off everything I've started during the previous months, as well as doing all of the usual Christmassy things, like buying presents, writing cards and putting up decorations.

I won't bore you by going into details of all of the things I need to get done, before Christmas. I'm sure that you each have you own interminable lists, and have no desire to hear about mine.

The Christmas day arrangements are worrying me, a little, this year. For the last few years, I have had Christmas dinner prepared for my immediate family, by 1 pm. By 3.30 pm, everything has been cleared away, the dishwasher has been loaded and we have been on the way up to the Midlands, to pick up my aunt and then have tea with my parents. It has tended to be a busy, but organised day.

This year, my son and his girlfriend have invited the 4 of us (my husband, my other 2 sons and me) to have Christmas dinner at their house, along with son's girlfriend's mother and brother. This is great, but it does mean that I won't have any control over the time everything will be ready! I have asked them, politely, whether they would mind preparing dinner early and they don't mind, but I can see that there is potential for things to go wrong. I am determined to bite my tongue, if they do!

I am an only child, so I like to see my parents on Christmas day. I don't like to think of them being alone at Christmas and they are in their 80s, so I don't know how many more Christmases we have left to spend together. I have been more than happy, over the past few years, to put in the extra effort needed, so that I can be with my parents on Christmas day, but I do feel a little guilty about asking my son and his girlfriend to do the same thing. I know that I won't be able to relax properly this year, until we are leaving my son's house on Christmas day, to travel up to the Midlands. My parents won't mind if we are a little late, but my aunt gets more and more difficult, as she get older and I know that she will get 'arsey' if she has to sit around waiting. She now lives by herself, however, so I don't want her to be alone on Christmas day, either.

It makes me look back, somewhat nostalgically, to less complicated times, when my children were young and my parents used to travel down from the Midlands to stay with us for a week or so, over the Christmas period. They were the best Christmases of my whole life, I think and we were all particularly sad, when my parents were no longer able to cope with the journey, even when we picked them up in the car.

I hope that you all have simple, relaxing plans for the Christmas period. If you are in the fortunate position of having a young family and hale and hearty parents, remember not to take these special Christmas times for granted. They are all too short and things will change before you know it.

I must go into town, now, to post my cards and buy something for tea. If I wait a little longer, the queue at the post office will probably reach my side gate, so that I can join it and shuffle the usual 10 minute walk into the High Street, whilst whingeing and complaining about the Christmas rush etc. I like to keep up the old British traditions, so I think that I may well do that. If I'm lucky I might find a 'nice, young man' to chat to whilst I am shuffling. Fingers crossed!


wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I haven't done a single card so I am quite envious of you. I'm also envious that you get to see your parents on Christmas Day. I haven't seen mine on Christmas Day since 1998 when we were at my dad's. It was a fraught holiday and we decided to remain at home after that. Still, I feel for my mother. She hasn't spent Christmas with any of her children since 1998 either. Enjoy your holiday.

Maggie May said...

Ah....... these Christmas arrangements. I do understand how you feel about trying to please your parents and your son & girlfriend. Difficult, as they are on a different time scale

I will be having my daughter & grandsons this year and she has asked if we can have Christmas dinner at night time. So I have said yes. Luckily we don't have any one else who might be unsettled by this.
Son & family are going to Japan for 2 weeks.

True what you say though, that you don't know how many years you have left with your parents so you have to make the best of them while you have them.
Last year daughter was with us to celebrate the New Year and who would have thought that within the year she would become a widow?
Anyway, that is not very festive....... but what I am trying to say is....... enjoy family while you have got them.

Mean Mom said...

I'm sorry that Christmas is a difficult time for you, with regard to your parents. I know that you are not the only one to have such problems at this time of year, by any means, but that doesn't make it any easier to bear.

I hope that you enjoy a good holiday, with your immediate family.

Mean Mom said...

Maggie - You obviously do understand exactly what I mean! If I had turned down my son's invitation, he would have been offended, but I'm not looking forward to Christmas day as much as I usually do. Son's girlfriend's mother is pleasant, but talks for England. After an hour and a half, I find that my eyes begin to glaze over!

I think that it has worked out very well that your daughter and grandsons will be with you, by themselves, at Christmas. You have all shared a difficult year and perhaps some of you won't feel very 'merry', at times, but, at least you will all understand each other's feelings.

My husband's brother had his life support machine turned off on Christmas day, a few years ago. He had pneumonia and was only 50 years old, so Christmas is always a time of mixed emotion for us, too, although the feelings are less raw, as the years pass.

I hope that you manage to have a good time, anyway and, yes, definitely - enjoy your family, whilst they are still around!

blogthatmama said...

I'm spending Christmas at my parents which I'm really looking forward to. You sound very tactful around the difficult area of family Christmas!

Mean Mom said...

blogthatmama - That sounds really good. I have wondered, before now, whether I would be able to cope with cooking Christmas dinner at my parents' house, but their house is small and I think that it would still be too much for them.

Enjoy your day!

Suburbia said...

Mean mom, you are right about Christmas with children, the age mine are, it is a great time. I try to appreciate the time and also having my mum here too. However the inticate juggling act of 'fitting in ' all the various combinations of relatives and hangers on can be exhausting! I hope your timing is spot on on the day!

Bet you're still queuing!! Shall I bring you a bag of chips?!

auntiegwen said...

I am going to wake up and be grateful that I have 3 beautiful and healthy children to spend the day with. My Dad is working for the last time (he retires in April) so my parents can't be with me but I hope maybe next year they will.

I hope your day is as good as it can be, and I'm in the midlands so feel free to pop in and have a glass with your other auntie xxx

Mean Mom said...

Suburbia - Yes, your children are just about the right age, as you say. It is difficult to fit everyone in. My husband's family have generally visited at New Year, but I don't know what they are doing this time.

Yes, how did you guess, I'm still queuing. Chips would be good. Don't forget the tomato sauce.

auntiegwen - I think that you'll be having a great time, from the sound of it, on Christmas day. It will be even better, next year, if your parents can join you, though.

You're in the Midlands? Fancy that! I never guessed, although I could well have missed the info on your blog!

I'll pop in for a port and lemon, then, if that's OK.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Do hope your day goes well - I'm sure it will - your son knows the usual routine and how important it is to you.

My daughter and 4 year old grand-daughter will be with us, also my mum (86) and an aunt and uncle (75 and 81) and maybe a second aunt if she feels she would like to join us on Christmas Day (she has the option because she is 92 years old and sometimes can't be bothered and she's lovely).

We will eat fairly early - 12.30 ish because daughter and grand-daughter have to travel 100 miles back home so that GD can go to her daddy for the rest of the day. I'm saying nothing! At least they will be with us a few days beforehand.

MMMM - thank you for comments at mine - seems I have only just discovered you, can't think why. Have read some of your previous posts and have been laughing out loud. (I'll be back)!


Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Forgot to say - love the Christmas card.

A x

SearchingSoul said...

Your "Christmas Ramblings" are like mine and it's comforting to note that I'm not the only soul in this universe with frayed nerves during the Chistmas season.

I was touched by your thoughts on spending Christmas with our parents. I would like to add that we should be with them more often.

Merry Christmas.

Mean Mom said...

Strawberry Jam Anne - You feel like a friend already. I don't get out much, you know! I must get around more in the New Year. You are obviously going to have your work cut out, on Christmas day!

Yes, the elderly. My parents have got to the stage where they can't be bothered. Not that I blame them. It is a challenge for them to get through a normal day. My father is due for his second hip operation early next year. His iron will is the only thing that keeps him moving at the moment.

My friend's daughter is divorced and dreads the Christmasses when it's 'his' turn to have the children. It's hard isn't it?

Glad you found me and glad you commented on the card!

Searching Soul - Yes, my thoughts are so muddled at the moment, I couldn't seem to put one of my usual posts together. In the end, I just wrote up what was on my mind! It hasn't been the usual relief to get it off my chest, either, but now, at least I know that I'm not the only one! We all feel that Christmas is a special time that we should all be able to sit back and enjoy, but it sometimes doesn't happen, or not without a lot of hard work, anyway.

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I have done my cards, but that is all I'm doing for Christmas, as I will be quite on my own. I don't know yet how I feel about this, but I think I will act like it is just any old day and not make a big deal out of it. The sun will still come up and I will still live and breathe and walk the dog and go about my business.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

New to this blogging lark. Never cease to be amazed as to how talented so many of you are. (not meant to sound patronising) Are we males allowed on your blog? Most of your visitors seem to be ladies. Will keep your blog handy and will be back.Would be pleased if you glanced through my feeble efforts.

Good luck

Mean Mom said...

The Finely Tuned Woman - I don't go overboard with the Christmas stuff, these days. I've bought no special Christmas food, or anything. I will just treat Boxing day as a normal day and have something ordinary for meals. The Christmas tree isn't going up, yet. I get fed up, if it's up for too long. It's so easy to get carried away and spend on stuff that you don't want and don't need.

If you are going to be alone, on Christmas day, I agree that it is a good idea to just treat it as an ordinary occasion. It is only one day. It will pass like any other. A bit of fresh air and a bit of exercise will be good and hopefully there will be something good to watch on tv.

Grumpy Old Ken - Men are more than welcome to my site and you, in particular, are welcome, of course! There aren't too many of you around, but I would be glad of a man's slant on things. Don't be frightened off by all of these ladies! I'm sure that you can stand up for yourself! I am coming over to glance at your feeble efforts. ;0)

See what I mean about having to stand up for yourself?

Jennysmith said...

My Husband likes the turkey on the table by 1 pm. But at least you have an excuse! Of course you'll want to be with your parents but i'm sorry its so stressful for you.

Last year i had to go to Centerparcs for xmas. Had to spend it with my mother-in-law who whinged and moaned every few minutes. Determined to stay at home and piss about this year with no visitors. I almost wish you could do the same. xxx

Mean Mom said...

Jennysmith - I haven't much minded having to be disciplined for the past few years, if it's meant that I can see my parents. I shall get tense this year, though, if things run very late!

I wouldn't find Centerparcs much fun, I know. I would probably have been the one moaning and whinging! Relaxing at home seems like a good option.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Hey Meanie, I know exactly what you mean about treasuring your parents and I also know ow much you dread them passing so it is truly understandable the pressure that you feel by trying to get to them. My heart goes out to you especially as yopu are an only child and the sole responsibility falls to you. Nothing wrong with being conscious of the time on the day and asking the youngsters to be aware of that because you will no doubt have many more years to come with them and so very few with your parents and aunt. You are such a loving person that I doubt anyone could deny you a few favours on the day. Have a happy time.

Mean Mom said...

Mob - Ah, thanks! That's such a lovely comment that I feel a bit easier already. I hope that you have a good day, too.

Grit said...

i don't know whether i like christmas for the idea of it or hate it for the reality. (but i will sneakily enjoy the children squealing with delight when they unwrap some presents on christmas morning!)

Geri said...

Great christmas card picture. Hope you have a great holiday season.

Mean Mom said...

Grit - Sometimes, Christmas doesn't live up to our expectations. Maybe we just expect too much.

Deep down the majority of us want to please our children. The trick is ensuring that we keep this information to ourselves. ;0)

Geri - Welcome! I thought it was a great picture, too. I couldn't resist them. Thanks! I hope that you have a good holiday season, too. Thanks for calling in.

Rose said...

These are lovely cards, Mean Mom. I haven't even bought mine yet! Going to visit my daughter for a week put me way behind in all my Christmas preparations, but it was worth it.

I understand your concern about Christmas arrangements. It's never easy. When my children were small it was difficult to get to all the family gatherings we had to go to. Now we have only two. My parents are still healthy, thankfully, and live close by. But my mother likes to have us over on Christmas Day, and that's difficult for my children and the nieces. I convinced her this year to have dinner two days later, and I'm hoping all the grandchildren can come. It means so much to them to have the whole family there; I'm hoping the younger ones will make the extra effort. After all, one never knows what next year will bring.

Wishing you an early Merry Christmas!

Mean Mom said...

Rose - It can be the same old story. You try to please everybody and end up pleasing nobody. Still, we try and I seem to approach Christmas with fingers crossed, these days. For the past few years everything has been OK, but, as for this year - I'll let you know!

It sound as if you have a lot more relations to try and accommodate, than I do. Hope it all turns out OK for you, too and that you get everything done in time.

Robin said...

Mean Mom - I have yet to send out even electronic Christmas cards this year. I still have young kids and families in different parts of the country but it seems every year the "traditions" change. It is so disorienting.

Thank you for your cards, they are beautiful.

Mean Mom said...

Robin - Yes, I can imagine. We've generally spent Christmas time with my parents and New Year with my husband's family. It started because my mother-in-law used to be a nurse and worked Christmas day, so that other nurses, with young families, could have the day off.

Glad you liked the card. Hope you have a good time, wherever you spend the holiday time.

Ladybird World Mother said...

i love the Christmas card, and I laughed at the vision of very long queue for post office! Did just that today, and WAS that annoying person with enormous parcels who just WONT HURRY UP.
Parents are just so precious, arent they. Wont be with mine this year for the day but will see them before. I treasure each and every time I see them. (81 and 78 years old) Arent we lucky to have them around.
Enjoy your Christmas. Love your blog!

Mean Mom said...

Ladybird World Mother - Welcome! Thanks. There really was a long queue at the post office, but not as bad as I thought. It didn't quite reach my gate!

We are so lucky to still have our parents around. I wish I lived closer to mine. Hope you enjoy your Christmas celebrations!

Mid-lifer said...

Well now I feel super guilty. I'm moaning about having my mum for xmas and everyone else seems not to mind.

I'm really feeling very Bah Humbug!

Mean Mom said...

Mid-lifer - LOL! You are funny. We are all different and not everyone enjoys spending time with their mother. There is often a good reason for that!