It was a trifle worrying this morning to find that the calendar on the Us Pad was saying that I would not be doing anything at all tomorrow. This, combined with the fact that yesterday, as a result of some frenzied burning,
we managed to reduce the Advent Candle to a stubby mess of wax, makes me anxious that maybe we have somehow missed Christmas 2013 altogether.
But never fear, My
Boy tells me that when he asks the Little Welsh Boys who will be coming on Christmas Eve, they answer, not as you would expect with "Santa" but instead with a shout: "Nanna and Grandad!" There is nothing like feeling wanted - even if this comes with the considerable
weight of Great Expectations on one's shoulders.
When we arrive after an amazingly easy, if long, journey, I am delighted to see that all the knitted Christmas
characters I have made the boys over the years are sitting on the windowsill to greet us. There is Father Christmas, with his wife, Mother Christmas, plus Rudolph and a couple of cheeky snowmen. On the TV stand is the knitted Nativity where the shepherds and
Wise Men have been joined by Sam's entire collection of Skylanders. Presumably, like the shepherds on the hillside the Skylanders were summoned by angels. Or, like the Wise Men, maybe they saw a star shining in the east. Sam thinks I am being unduly fanciful
- it was his idea, apparently, that the Skylanders should join the happy scene. Let's face it, if a hailstone can be part of the timeless nativity scene, then what's not to like about a Skylander or six?
The boys unwrap the first of many presents in the shape of the donkey. He goes down as well as I hoped he would, but now the boys say they need a star and an inn-keeper. Maybe next year? I say, non-committedly.
We troop out to a local church for the annual Crib Service which is beautiful and charmingly chaotic. Sam and James proudly help build the tableau. Morgan takes charge of
a woolly sheep which he hurls onto the manger, with a bowling action reminiscent of Mitchell Johnson pulverising the English cricketers out in Australia. Maybe we shoud send our Demon Bowler Down Under - Little Welsh Boy he may be but he is half English on
his paternal side after all.
Excitement reaches fever pitch at bedtime. We lose the card Sam has written for Santa, to go with the glass of port, the cake (one
we decorated earlier) and the Compulsory Carrot for the Red-nosed One. Another card must be found, written and drawn in. Sam has also stuck a post-it note on the bedroom door (he is definitely Mr B's grandson) which reads: "Dear Santa, we are in here. Sined
(sic) Sam and James."
With the boys in bed (if not asleep) we peel potatoes and sprouts and discuss that all-important question: should the bottom of the sprouts
have crosses cut into them or not? The Darling Daughter in Law asks me about Christmasses in our house when my Gang were all small. I tell her about how we pressed Mr B's football socks into worthy service and how I always made mince pies and sausage rolls,
for no other reason than that I loved the smell of cooking throughout the house. Sometimes we even ate them.
I find myself thinking about our first two Christmasses.
The one when we invited the whole Salvation Army band into our flat and gave them cups of tea and coffee - they rewarded us by playing Away in a Manger to our infant daughter right there in our front room. And the next year, the Middle of the Darling Daughters'
First Christmas when Mr B called me to the door (from the kitchen, where I was making - you guessed it - mince pies and sausage rolls) to see the snow flakes swirling magically outside.
So many years ago - and now, here we are again. It seems I haven't missed Christmas 2013 after all.
Happy Christmas, everyone! Ho Ho Ho...