Alexandra Hunter on creating new Christmas customs as a family of two..
I absolutely love Christmas. In my family we take it pretty seriously. I still get a stocking and I started doing one for my mama in my early 20s, picking little things up that I know she will love throughout the year and squirreling them away.
I love that I can now do this for Sebby, although I normally end up giving him things early, as I can’t wait. I could never wait. One year one of my brothers and I went hunting for the present stash in November and opened everything, then expertly rewrapped it and no one was any the wiser.
For the years I was with my ex’s family for Christmas Day, my mama held everything until Boxing Day… everything! Presents could not be opened and turkey could not be served until I got home on December 26th. I’m not sure I would be as gracious as my brothers were, had the situation been reversed.
Last year was the first time I haven’t enjoyed Christmas. I was living at my parents’ house, four months into my separation, and I didn’t have my beautiful (then 18-month-old) little boy, as he was with his father. I wanted to crawl under a duvet and wake up on the 28th, when I would get Sebby back. We did our Christmas on Christmas Eve, and although it was lovely it didn’t feel right. I felt like I was missing a limb, and I know I will feel this way again next year (as we alternate). But this year Christmas is going to have every single trimming I can possibly squeeze into it.
I start thinking about Christmas when the summer holidays are over and I’m guaranteed to have done all my shopping by the end of October. I’ve already made the Christmas cards and Sebby has stamped around the kitchen with his feet covered in black paint so that I can create 40 penguin cards for friends. I didn’t send cards last year as everything was just so raw and there would have been too much explaining to do as a result. I wasn’t ready.
I love tree decorations: I’ve always thought of them as a catalogue of your personal history, and my collection remains in the attic of what was my family home. My wonderful girlfriends bought me a beautiful selection for my birthday this year and Sebby and I went hunting for pine cones to spray gold and hang on the tree this weekend – we’re starting our own story. I’ve lost a few blissful hours in Liberty, selecting things already wrapped in tissue and bagged in purple. This year we’ll have our first tree in our very own home and I want it up as early as possible (I’d buy one now if they were available). I’ve slow-cooked oranges to hang around the house. I’ve chosen my wrapping paper. I’ve booked tickets for the Christmas light trail and the pantomime, and I’m certain I’m infinitely more excited than my toddler. For once I know I’ll be awake before he is. I hope that, wherever you are, you have a truly wonderful Christmas, just like Sebby and me!