Let us take a moment of silent acknowledgement to pay tribute to the fact that I have actually put aside this morning to clean the house.
Thank you. Now we can move on to my displacement activity (or what I am doing whilst I wait for the dryer to finish, I guess?)
Because of Circumstances, we are going to have a financially curtailed Christmas. I'm cross about it but I am also determined to give the children the best bloody Christmas ever, thank you very much, despite everything; because it's not about cash and presents and material stuff, it's about family, peace, hope, joy and love. I've never bought in to the 'mountains of gifts' things; I am angry because that option has been taken away from us should we have wanted to splash out a bit.
However, although we have no liquid cash, we have a tank half full of heating oil, a log-store full of logs and a freezer full of food. I have ten cockerels ready to slaughter so I don't need to worry about buying a turkey or a goose. We have decorations in the attic, including an artificial tree I bought last year in the sales when I saw my arse about getting pine-needles out of the sofa. We are going to the hospice for New Year anyway, and will get looked after there.
So here is my plan.
1. Get the decorations down from the attic tomorrow and start putting them up. Not doing the tree until next weekend, but I like having the lights up.
2. Christmas music on the stereo from now on.
3. On Sunday, SWAN are having a Christmas get-together in Bristol. It's free and I think we can budget for the diesel. B is all set to take the kids even if I'm not up to going.
4. Next weekend we are baking Elizabethan Gingerbread shapes to hang on the tree. We did this two years ago and although they were so hard they were practically inedible, they smell *fantastic*. I also have plans to make paper chains with the kids out of coloured paper we have stashed in the Make-and-do Box.
5. School Nativity is mid-week next week. N is on percussion. Be scared, school, be very, very scared.
6. We are going carol-singing at the steam-train station with school tomorrow afternoon. I have plans for Possets-and-biscuits when we get home.
7. Before all this hit, we had arranged to go and see Santa the evening before Christmas Eve at Hestercombe Gardens. Still going to do that. The garden are lit up. I am going to take a thermos of cocoa and biscuits to have there post-Santa.
8. We are going to Ma's for Christmas Dinner itself I think.
9. I am watching a couple of wooden marble runs on eBay for N. We are all about the marbles.
10. I plan to make truffles and little gifts like lavender pillows for friends and Ma and Sister Natalie.
11. I have an elaborate and too-pornographic-to-blog-about planned present for B ;).
12. L wants me to knit him some mittens. I have the wool for it, I just need to make the time.
13. The kids like doing wet-felting. Expect lop-sided felted superheroes, everyone who knows us.
14. We have various films - Nativity, It's a Wonderful Life etc.. And B has found Box Of Delights on youTube, which the children are entranced with.
So stuff the cash. I can scrape together enough for a few books and sweets and stocking fillers. Sister Natalie reliably buys the children lovely, lovely presents and they aren't going to go without. We found a stash of games in a charity shop last month so we can play chess and monopoly and scrabble til it's coming out of our ears. I also have a box of wine left from my friend's visit in the autumn when she did a Lidl-run on her way over from France. I have mulling spices.
If you know us in real life and are passing, drop in. Open house. Tea and biscuits on demand. Friends old and new welcome - provided you don't mind being sent away if we are up to our collective arses in muck and bullets.
Bring it on.