I am blessed with an optimistic disposition. Nothing for me to boast about, it’s probably just as genetic as the shape of my nose and the colour of my eyes. But it is a blessing, even when misplaced, as on the occasion when I dropped one of my mother’s best china cups. I was about four. The occasion has gone down in family history, as my disarming response was: “Never mind, Mommy. The handle isn’t broke.” The phrase was used by my parents for years whenever disaster struck, reminding us that there’s always a silver lining.
And thus my disgruntled comments on Christmas in my last post reflected a mood that luckily didn’t last long. A fine YouTube version of all our favourite traditional carols and the rediscovery on my desktop of Jacquie Lawson’s 2013 Advent calendar helped. And then I found her latest Christmas Market Advent calendar, too, which has been giving me a smile with my morning coffee these last few days. The milkman is beaming at the large order he has received, and I can relax because I don’t have to go Christmas shopping. I have one more Christmas cake to bake tomorrow, and I can then tick off the last name on my list. Old family decorations are emerging from their annual sleep.
The pile of around 50 Christmas cards that need to be written and posted is diminishing: as I said, we have to send cards to those friends and members of the family who are still in the dark ages and don’t have e-mail or Facebook accounts. Three years ago, my mother was unable to sign her name because her hand was so shaky. Last year, with the patient support of my daughter, she managed to sign about 3 a day for a week, which was huge progress. Last Thursday evening, she not only signed 9 cards but also wrote little messages and drew her traditional sketch of a holly branch in some of them. I am very proud of her for that, which proves her perseverance and determination. It looks as if they will all be personally signed this year.
Last year we went to a very good local restaurant for a delicious Christmas dinner. That isn’t happening this year, and I’ll be responsible for providing the traditional turkey with all the trimmings that my mother enjoys. It will be a turkey crown, not a complete bird, otherwise it would be turkey for the entire 12 days of Christmas. I did suggest doing meals along the lines of the song: a partridge with pears on Christmas day, pigeon pie (couldn’t really eat turtle doves) on Boxing Day, a poulet de Bresse on the 27th (French hen), etc. but that didn’t go down well. She’s getting more traditional as she gets older, and I’m not going to argue: I’m happy that she still has the appetite and appreciation.
We are going to a carol concert this evening where we will meet kind friends, so that should also help to put us in the right frame of mind. Hopefully, I can now sing with all sincerity God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay.