The First of December. Scary, or what?!
Especially when I haven't quite met Mr B's challenge / demand to have all the Christmas cards written and presents purchased by
the end of November. Which was yesterday in case you have already lost the plot and are hurtling headlong into Christmas at a rate of festive knots. I haven't done too badly on the cards, to be fair, coming to a halt only when I ran out of cards. Tomorrow
I will re-stock and should be able to complete the task by the end of the day. The gifts are more of a problem as we struggle to find just the right present for our tribe. Just keep swimming, as the delightful Dory would say.
Today, after dinner, when we settle down for our evening's entertainment, we will light the Advent Candle for the first time. I am also endeavouring to install an Advent Candle on my website so that you can keep up the Christmas Countdown even when
reading the Daily Blog. This will either fill you with glee or annoy you intensely - hopefully the majority of you will fall into the Glee Category which is, let's face it, the better choice. Christmas is coming and you may as well join in the fun.
As well as the official First Lighting of the Candle, December 1st also means that I have rooted through the drawer in my bedside cabinet to find my Christmas brooch which I will wear every day without fail until Twelfth
Night. It's tradition! My brooch - a star-shaped Santa Claus - always attracts plenty of comments. It's festive without being the least bit tacky and I love it.
It was given to me, many Christmases ago, by
Claire who used to work for me. I managed to keep in touch with her for a while after she left (I knew we couldn't keep her forever, brilliant as she was) but then lost track. Yesterday, coincidentally, while turning out the drawer in search of my brooch,
I came across the last email I received from her, dated 2006.
I didn't hold out much hope but I emailed her anyway. I thought she might like to know that I still think of her every Christmas when I pin on
my beautiful brooch day after day. I imagine you are expecting a Happy Ending but, sadly, within seconds the Failure Notice came bounding back into my In Box. It was a long shot, I suppose, she has doubtless married and changed her name as well as her email
address. Eight years is a long, long time. I still felt disappointed, though, and cross with myself for not working harder at staying in touch.
It's one of the reasons we still send Christmas cards, just to
keep open a line of communication with friends and neighbours from the past. Though I have to say I am all admiration for Audrey, one of the people I shared a table with yesterday. She finds writing Christmas cards a little difficult these days so instead
she telephones everyone who would otherwise have received a card from her. Can you imagine the hours she must spend on the phone? She was starting today, she told me.
Can you imagine how thrilled everyone
will be to hear from her? How they will chat about the events of 2014 and share the ups and downs of their last twelve months? Even the longest and chattiest of the Round Robin letters currently being tucked into Christmas card envelopes wouldn't be able to
cover as much news as a phone call. Plus it will be a two-way communication which even the best of Christmas cards cannot aspire to.
Having written virtually all our Christmas cards, I am not about to abandon
them at this late stage - but perhaps I will take a leaf out of Audrey's book and make a few phone calls. And not just to My Boy and the Darling Daughters. I think I will make a list of the people who will be most surprised to hear from me. Mind you, this
could easily back-fire on me. Think of the cards you receive where you have to rack your brains to remember how you knew the sender - how much more embarrassing to have to explain myself on the phone. "It's me!" I will chirrup, "We used to stand on the touch
line on the primary school playing field, watching our sons play football, remember? Oh, you don't, well what a pity. Happy Christmas, anyway...." Perhaps it's not such a good idea after all.
Though I really,
really wish I had Claire's phone number....