Oh, dear me, it’s happened again. November has escaped!
One minute we were bumbling away happily, November and I, writing
Christmas cards, looking in catalogues and shop windows for the Perfect Present, planning not just for Christmas but for birthdays for not one, not two, but three grandchildren beforehand. Then I woke up this morning to find that it is December and November,
naughty month that it is, has slipped away from me without so much as an apologetic farewell, not to return for eleven whole months.
I turn over the page of the
His and Hers Calendar, a gift from my sister and her fella last year. On every page, an appropriate family photograph: November’s, for example, was of the trio of Rampaging Rascals dressed up for Hallowe’en. This month’s depicts Our Boy Jack
on his 18th birthday, with his Grandad and me, all peering out of a gold-coloured cardboard picture frame. Once I get over my disappointment at being abandoned by November, I am going to enjoy thinking back to that special party two years ago every time I
consult the calendar.
It is time to take stock to see how far adrift I am in my Christmas planning. I had thought to have all my cards written and posted on the
first day of December but I am only two and a half pages into a four page list. I haven’t managed to find time to write my usual cheery festive message. My greatest achievement was to book tickets for my Jolly Girls Outing to see the lovely Joanne Clifton,
of Strictly fame, in Flashdance. This should be sufficiently Jolly and Girlie to meet the requirements of a Christmas present for all three Darling Daughters and the three eldest granddaughters. If you’re thinking that’s not such an achievement,
then just try to find a Saturday afternoon when all seven Jolly Girls are free and nobody is (i) on holiday; (ii) swamped with work; (iii) taking exams; or (iv) otherwise engaged in some other Jolly Activity.
It seems sensible not to grieve too much for November, fickle friend that it was, and to concentrate on the fact that December 1st means starting off my Reverse Advent Calendar. I had such fun with it last year that I am doing
it again this year. Let’s face it, if today was still November it would have been too early.
I need a large cardboard box so I ask a kind shop assistant
in the Co-op if they might have one to spare. What size, she asks? I respond, helpfully, that it needs to be not too big and not too small. I can tell she doesn’t think that’s particularly helpful but she disappears into the staff area, leaving
me to consult the shelves of household cleaners, drain unblockers, air fresheners and washing up liquid. Bless her when she finally reappears she is frozen, having had to go out into the cold yard outside the shop to see what she can find. She is carrying
a box which once held Fairtrade bananas of the organic bio variety - would it do, she asks me, shivering with cold. In fact it’s perfect - but even if it hadn’t been I couldn’t have turned it down, now could I?
The idea of the Reverse Advent Calendar is that, instead of opening a window and taking a chocolate or whatever, from within, you put an item of food into a box each day - all to be taken along to
a Food Bank on Christmas Eve for distribution to families in need. I like to wrap my box up in seasonal wrapping paper so that it doesn’t look as if I have been too lazy to unpack my shopping.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters is also starting a Reverse Advent Calendar today. I am not sure where she found her cardboard box but it looks a good size. So much so that Lilia, the younger of The Twinkles, has taken
up occupation of it and doesn’t look inclined to be evicted any time now. I tell my daughter that surely any recipient of a Reverse Advent Calendar would be enchanted to find a Rampaging Rascal in among the packets of corn flakes and tins of baked beans…
I’m over the shock of November’s disappearance now. There’s no going back - December is here and along with it the Approach Of Christmas.
Bring it on!