Hello Friends! Welcome back to another Coffee with Gi!
I can’t quite believe I’m writing this but December is here! It only feels like two minutes ago we were breaking up for the summer holidays but Christmas songs are on the radio, the lights are up on the high streets and some of us are starting to think about what to have for Christmas dinner.
So I wanted to take some time to reflect on the small moments of family tradition that this time of year brings us. The tiny snapshots that we maybe didn’t get to enjoy last year, or perhaps that last year’s last minute change of plan allowed us to enjoy more fully. So I asked a couple of people from our community to share their thoughts with us on the things they’re looking forward to this Christmas. Because whatever 25th December looks like to you, it can just be another day. And ‘good enough’ is enough.
However you’re spending this festive season, I hope it’s everything you need it to be – whether that’s a time of rest and relaxation or a time of comfort and joy. Whether it’s a small gathering of your nearest and dearest or a big bash with all the extended family, take time to remember what matters to you. And know that however you’re feeling, it’s all ok.
Love Gi. Xxx
Gi – @MrsGiFletcher
It’s absolutely no secret that we Fletcher’s love Christmas. Our tree goes up super early, and I’m not exaggerating when I say the majority of the loot in our loft is Christmas based. The whole place was bedecked with tinsel and decorations long before the first door on the advent calendar was opened and there are so many traditions we roll out every year – but there’s always space for another.
A couple of Christmases ago, we decided to start a new tradition – a Christmas singalong. Before we knew it, my sister Giorgina had created a leaflet of lyrics. In some households, you can imagine not everyone would be on board, but in our household? It was perfect. Everyone was enjoying shaking their bells and singing along in no time. It was fun, silly, and a chance for everyone to be together and have a laugh. It’s this sort of thing that I’m most looking forward to this year – those moments when you look around and are able to think ‘ah yes, this bunch of oddballs are my bunch of oddballs, and I absolutely love them’.
As a big fan of a good meal, you won’t be surprised to hear I’m excited about Christmas dinner too. Unlike the one year I tried something fancy after watching a well-known chef talk about their special gravy recipe on TV and our attempt ending in disaster, I’ll be sticking to Bisto, but otherwise I’ll be going all out. My Dad is Italian and sharing food is definitely our family’s way of letting people know we love them, so a lot of care and attention goes into our Christmas dinner.
Most of all, I just can’t wait to be with the people I care about most in the world. That’s a pretty special festive tradition for me. I hope you get to do the same!
Harps – @BabyBrainMemoirs
Being British born, we love the Christmas period! Though we don’t celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, for us, it signifies family time and a time to pause, reflect and embrace one another, especially after so much lost time last year… oh and to eat delicious food too of course! I absolutely LOVE decorating and party planning; dressing the house makes it all the more magical for the children – we all love a Winter Wonderland! From the hot chocolates and mince pies in abundance after some perfectly roasted potatoes, and my favourite Christmas candle with fluffy pyjamas, I just can’t wait!
For us as Sikhs, the festive period on the western calendar also commemorates a very poignant time in our history. Whilst we enjoy Christmas in our own way, we have never forgotten our Sikh heritage as at this time in the Sikh calendar, we commemorate the courageous martyrs known as the Chaar Sahibzaade (“The Four Princes”). In a nutshell, Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh at the tender ages of 6 and 9 sacrificed their lives for their faith and the right to remain Sikh.
We use this invaluable family time to celebrate their lives and for the boys to understand the importance of being courageous, determined and strong willed like the Sahibzade.
Christmas is always an absolutely magical time of year, but for us it brings so many memories from when we first met our daughters. It was the 23rd December 2013 when we wandered down the path of the foster carers home, knocked on the door and met our girls for the first time. The meeting was short, but locked in those 45 minutes was a lifetime of hope and excitement for all the Christmases and memory making to come. It was a painfully slow two weeks until we met them again and started the process of bringing them home, but it was a pre-Christmas treat that lives in our hearts rent free. Since that Christmas we have continued to make memories and have even gone on to extend our family by adopting the girls’ little brother.
Christmas is normally a low key affair here. Pretty simple with a focus on slowing down and enjoying time together without the normal juggles of life. Despite the urge to throw lots of surprises at our children, sometimes the uncertainty of a new experience or a surprise on a child who has experienced trauma can cause a lot of regression or upset.
We’ve always found routine so important for the stability of how our children feel. So amongst the festivities we try to keep the same rhythm to our days, lots of time outdoors and fresh air. I’ve heard from the big man himself that our Christmas day walk this year might have the addition of some new roller skates… let’s hope he always remembers the knee pads!
As parents of our three beautiful children, our traditions have evolved to be a hybrid of sentiment we both remember from our own childhood with new experiences. Sometimes the gentle build-up has outweighed the expectation we are guilty of putting on just one day…laughing as we try in vain to dig our own Christmas tree and snapping my favourite spade, the walk around the village to spot the Christmas lights loaded with hot chocolate and even the tree decorating re-arranging that goes one when they finally drift off to sleep.
I can’t be the only one who thinks nobody needs multiple baubles on one branch!!
Laura – @FromWifeToLife
I’ve always loved Christmas, but Christmas as an adult is very different! Blasting Mariah every time you’re in the car, watching The Holiday at least once a week and not forgetting eating unlimited cheese and chocolate whilst repeating “it’s Christmas” to anyone who dares to question your diet choices for the month!
However when Jack was born Christmas changed. It reminded me of the simple things that makes Christmas so special. Jack turned two this year and this will be his third Christmas. We always decorate the tree after he’s gone to bed and surprise him with it in the morning. I will never forget the first time he really saw a Christmas tree, I carried him into the lounge with it all lit up and he was mesmerised. We wear matching family pjs, we watch the polar express and let the tree lights fill the room, it feels so special and it always reminds me just how incredibly lucky we are to be able to do that with our son.
Our daily walks now consist of a little voice shouting “look, look!” Every-time he spots some Christmas decorations on someone’s front lawn and we recently visited “The Christmas House”, a house local to us that’s completely covered in lights and decorations and the sounds of the children gasping and cooing over the lights were enough to fill anyone with some Christmas joy!
Christmas for children is magical and our job as adults is to simply keep that magic alive.
THINGS I’M LOVING
In all honesty, my time has mainly been taken up by rehearsing for 2:22 – A Ghost Story and running around the country talking about Walking on Sunshine, which I’ve been loving A LOT. But it hasn’t left much time for a lot else!
That said, I’m easing into the festive season with the M&S Light UP Snow Globe Gin courtesy of Ocado (big fan of the Clementine flavour but it also comes in Sugar Plum which tastes like Mince Pies). It’s the perfect tipple to get you in the mood for Christmas.
I’m also relying on my steamer to get me through all this using my voice I’m doing. I mean, I’m used to talking a lot but this is next level! It’s a godsend!
Snow! Whenever snow pops up in the weather forecast I get very excited thinking about all the snow angels and snowmen we’re going to make. Each morning I wake up with anticipation, giddy as I peel back the curtain to see what the night has brought us. So far the Fletcher Household has only been greeted with a centimetre of snow. That has been enough to get us all excited, even if it is an underwhelming about. We might not have enough to build a snowman just yet – but the boys are working on this. They’re collecting snow in Tupperware boxes and storing it in the freezer. No idea if it’ll work, but it’s keeping them busy and happy!
Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream, lip protectant stick. It’s winter (have you noticed?!) and my lips have turned into two pieces of sandpaper. This little beauty makes them feel nourished and alive again – perfect for kissing under the mistletoe!
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Love Gi. Xx