The first Christmas without my dad
It's been a funny old December. More engagements in the calendar than the last 2 Christmases put together but less enthusiasm for them than ever before. The closer the 25th got, the more anxious I got. Not that this is unusual. Christmas always makes me anxious - anxious for perfection - the perfect presents, the perfect lunch, the perfectly laid table and the perfectly stocked fridge. This year was different. The anxiety and its cause was different. I was anxious about how we would all cope with the big day. Would we cry all day? Would people be scared to enjoy themselves? Would people think badly of us for still having Christmas?
"...anxious for perfection"
This year I forgot to write cards for people, no gifts got wrapped until Christmas eve but for the first time ever, I realised that none of that really matters! The world won't end if your cards arrive late or if your presents don't have perfect corners! There are more important things. I can't tell you what they are though as they won't be the same for you as they are for me. For me, the most important thing is rest, relaxation and spending time with family (blood family and chosen family).
"No gifts got wrapped until Christmas eve."
People may have found it a bit funny that I still did Christmas in a big way this year. They may have felt it "in poor taste" to wear Christmas jumpers and shoes and to go to Christmas parties "as if nothing happened". For some people a low-key Christmas would be the right thing, but not for me. My dad loved Christmas, always has. The phrase "it's what he would have wanted" can sometimes seem like an excuse to do something that may seem in poor taste to others, but where Christmas is concerned with dad there is no truer word spoken. If we had been miserable and maudlin he would have come back to haunt us I am sure! On Christmas day we drank, we ate, we opened gifts and we laughed, just as we always have. There were tears too, but thankfully no tantrums.
We changed the script a little so things felt different for more than the obvious reason - presents in the afternoon in the dining room instead of the morning in the lounge! We all sat round the table and played silly card games after dinner. This year was the first that I can remember for many years that I did not receive a silly hat - I think that tradition has been laid to rest with my dad as his hat presents were always the best!
I always say, to anyone who asks, that grief is personal, it's not one size fits all. Please don't judge the Celebrations of others as it really may have all been as that special person who is missing "would have wanted".