Don’t count your Christmases


A chill thought swam into my head as I lay flat and fat in my Christmas bed. Reflecting on eating my bodyweight in festive fayre, a sepia memory came unbidden of Christmas past.

I found myself transported to my own grandparents’ living room transfixed by the annual treat of their fancy striped frosted tumblers coming out of the sideboard. Time for shandies and lemonade and lime.

I remembered my Grandad’s big glasses and big smile and felt a pang of sadness that they’re no longer with us. And then came an urgent calculation of how many more Christmas Days until my daughter leaves home and then turns her back on family Christmas…

This brought the anxious recognition there are a very finite number of Christmases left for me. Ouch – my chest tightened and breath shortened at the very thought.

Christmas is in many ways ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. Despite the excess of preparing, spending, eating and travelling a Great British Christmas has a lot going for it – if you let yourself go a bit.

The kids love it, everyone is that bit more friendly and the rituals and routines are reassuring: a family walk, some fizz, the steaming crescendo of Christmas lunch; then washing up and putting away. It’s all good.

However much hard work goes in – and after our Christmas spread it took me nearly four hours to slowly but surely wash-up and tidy up – they are the most reliably memorable days of young and middle aged lives.

I’ve sometimes rather endured Christmas. But these days I try harder to enjoy them. Every Christmas counts.

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