I have purposefully waited a good three weeks longer than I wanted to before writing this blog. I felt the backlash if this had been released in late October/early November, might have had me running for cover, and Nexus banning me from ever writing for them again!
So, the word we are all talking about (positively or negatively) has got to be CHRISTMAS. Now, whether you outwardly huffed in annoyance or inwardly shivered with excitement, there is no denying that the ‘C’ word has come around much quicker than in previous years. For me, personally, I feel that the rest of the world has just fallen in line with my standard Christmas timings – and, by golly does it make me happy! I honestly thought that absolutely nothing good would come out of this bizarre and apocalyptic year we have been living in until………….November 1st rolled around and everyone embraced Christmas.
I can’t speak for everyone out there but I’m sure I could guarantee that most families, whether they open their arms to Christmas like an old friend or are wary of it, have traditions. Our family traditions start early on (I really do like to get my money’s worth). Paperchain making, Christmas card designing, homegrown damson gin and vodka making for gifts (I bet all you Scrooges out there are interested now!) and present planning all begin in early November. My children know that their Christmas list needs to be with me at the end of October half term else ‘the elves’ simply won’t be able to organise themselves in time and as soon as the last tea lights in the carved pumpkins have lost their sparkle then Christmas moves in.
December brings decorating (I’m lying, that also starts in November), biscuit making, fairy lights that can be seen from space and Christmas music filtering through every Amazon Alexa. I would go so far as to say the lead up to Christmas, for me, is more magical than the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the presents, the food and party games but there is something about Christmas Eve that holds the magic that can’t be replicated. Even my nearly 15-year-old son came out with us to sprinkle reindeer glitter last Christmas Eve and I think that’s what I love about Christmas – the magic touches everyone, of every age.
This Christmas will be different. No less magical, but different. Our placement children haven’t celebrated Christmas before. Not due to religious or cultural views……they just haven’t. And rightly or wrongly, it breaks my heart. I mean, even if you aren’t a huge ‘embracer’ of Christmas everyone surely has a bowl of Celebrations or Roses in the living room for naughty hands to steal as they walk by? My placement children haven’t had that. Or paper chains, or Christmas trees (yes, we have more than one, much to my husband’s utter despair), or Christmas cards, or decorations, or even presents. And I am stuck in this funny limbo type place where I am angry and upset that they haven’t had this before and utter delight that I am the one that gets to show them how we do Christmas.
If they do get to go home and they no longer celebrate Christmas then at least they will have that memory that they may take with them into their own adulthood with their own families. And I guess that is what foster care is about. It’s fluid and unpredictable and sometimes incredibly heartbreaking and unfair but if my family can pass on any piece of magic then please let it be related to Christmas.
Because in this house, we believe.