Our Christmas tree feels like it's already been sitting in front of the bay window for months, but of course it was only ten days before Christmas when I carried out the business of unpacking, assembling and decorating those old branches.
As in previous years, the Little People took the job in hand and did it beautifully with a miraculous absence of squabbles. I loved that it was so harmonious, that we had Christmas tunes playing in the background, that the over-the-top miss-match of decorations and baubles came together to look so colourful and jolly.
Last Saturday (the day after school finished for the holidays), I caught an incredibly early train and journeyed the 300 miles south to my parents in Dorset. It felt strange to be leaving J and the Little People behind at this time of year - so close to Christmas and with so much still to do, but I tried hard not to fret.
I spent two nights away, it was plenty enough. I spent a lot of time sat in front of my Mum's glorious old Esse stove warming my feet. My Mum is still pretty unwell, and my heart is heavy for her and her struggles. It's a difficult time for us, and I can't really talk about it here, but I wish it were different. I wish there was more I could do.
Despite the emotional strain of my visit to Dorset, I enjoyed the train journeys, and used the hours to try and relax a little. I read, slept, daydreamed, planned, allowed thoughts and ideas to drift through my mind and also managed to write/send a dozen Christmas cards. And drink rather a lot of coffee.
Oh, and crochet too. Crocheting to the rhythm of the train tracks is very enjoyable I have to say. I'm working up some cool blue/green stripes as a base for a new wreath, a celebration of Winter to take up the space between Christmas and Easter. I'll chat to you more about that in a while once I've got the stripes done and dusted and make a start with the decorative bits.
I was away in Dorset for Winter Solstice and I wished very much that I had been home to celebrate with my family here. I missed them. The day after I got home (Tuesday), Little Lady and I pulled on our wellies and went for a very slip-slidey muddy walk along the track and into the woods to gather greenery. I wanted some fresh foliage in the house as a reminder that we have now passed the shortest day (yippeeeee!) and also to add a bit of something seasonal to my mantel.....
.....this was the result - a rather last minute bit of festive decorating, but just in time for hanging the stockings and easing gently into the Christmas Spirit.
I am very, very glad that today there was ever so slightly more daylight than yesterday, I love to dwell on that fact at this time of year, to think about the lengthening days and feel a small swell of joy. In many ways I prefer to celebrate Yule more than Christmas itself, I have rather a sizeable chunk of Pagan spirit in my soul I think.
We started Christmas Day this year at 6 am prompt, it really was a joyful affair in so many ways. At almost five years old, Little B's excitement and wide-eyed wonder at all the little Christmas traditions was spectacular to behold ("Rudolph must've really been hungry because he ate ALL the carrot!!"). All three Little People were chuffed with their gifts and I've enjoyed observing many hours of concentrated play happening here in the Attic.
Our day was peaceful and filled with light and warmth - I even managed to find some time to snuggle up in the big chair in my cosy old brushed cotton pj's and catch up with magazine wonderland. I had two months worth of seasonal pages to devour, it was delicious.
My traditional red tulips made me happy too this Christmas, I cut the stems short this year and used my red spotty jug instead of my clear glass tank vase and much preferred the shorter, more casual look.
Despite a lengthy and vocal chorus of protests from the Little People, we managed to prize ourselves out of cosy pj's and into clothes, coats and wellies for a brisk Christmas morning walk.
The weather was glorious and we enjoyed some fresh air and gentle sunshine as we strolled up the road to the local woods.
We were thrilled to discover a couple of new snuffly, snorty residents in the chicken patch!
Low sunshine and long shadows, the best type of sweet mid winter light for strolling amongst the trees.....
....it was really peaceful and gorgeous, if a bit sticky and muddy.
My favourite part of this walk is spending time staring at this waterfall, I absolutely love love love to stand and watch/listen to the water here, the journey from slow, smooth, quiet stream to fast, gushing, noisy waterfall is completely mesmerising. Little B and I threw many small sticks into the smooth-quiet and watched them tumble over the edge into the gushy-noise. Endless, simple entertainment time after time after time.
We ate our Christmas meal around 3pm, a sort of hybrid lunch/dinner (queue discussions about whether we were eating Dunch or Linner). I enjoyed my time in the kitchen pottering about with my apron on and russled up a simple roast chicken with the addition of posh stuffing parcel thingies from m&S. It was really yummy I have to say. We had fab Christmas crackers this year too with cute wind up toys inside - the cracker box transformed into a racing track. Brilliant. J and I shared a bottle of Cava topped with raspberry and cranberry juice (our cheap, festive version of Bucks Fizz) and I love that our Christmas drink is pink.
It was a really lovely, easy, gentle day for us here in the Attic, kind of special and ordinary all at once. I keep looking at my crochet bunting and reading the words -FUNANDJOY - and thinking how apt they are. Little Man did good when he gave me those words.
I hope you all enjoyed your own Special/Ordinary day with family and loved ones, that you had fun and joy in abundance. See you soon for some End-of-Year stuff...... xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx