Christmas Presence

This blog post contains no advice, offers or ‘value’

(a key concept in the blog guru’s toolkit )

…merely a wish that your Christmas is all that you hope it to be.

Santa sleighFeel free to stop reading there if you’re busy (and, aren’t we all?). I’d intended to post a couple of paragraphs but, like Topsy, it ‘just growed’ and – to paraphrase Blaise Pascal – I haven’t time to make it shorter.

Like everyone else, I’m busy with other things than writing at the moment – not that I’m doing Christmas shopping or wrapping presents. This year, Christmas hasn’t been, so much, cancelled as downgraded.

Nevertheless, its presence colours December – in the songs our choral group will perform at a care home tomorrow; at the Christmas party in a local hall the following afternoon; in the shops that will tempt me to buy too many nibbles to see us through our fairy-lit evenings.

assorted plush toys
Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Pexels.com

My sister’s family buy presents only for her grandchildren and not for the adults. I’ve been trying for some years to sell this idea to my adult children, but have met resistance. Now the prime objecter has children of her own and may begin to understand the magic that gets diluted by a scramble to wrap up something for every person – whether they want it or not.

Instead of buying presents I have, in recent years, devised treasure Christmas stocking isolated on white backgroundhunts similar to those I organised when they were children. For these, I compose rhyming clues and hide ‘treasure’ at various stages for them to choose from. I gather my treasure over the year, from sales, offers, charity shops – even, occasionally, on Christmas shopping trips.

One major advantage is that I don’t have to wrap any of it up. Another is that they get to choose what they want (although, invariably, everything has gone by the end). First clues are staggered so that each group will have had first choice at one or other of the treasure stations. Right now, I don’t have the mental energy to set it all up.

gold beaded necklaces on gold jewelry box
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This year, the collection of ‘treasure’ I amassed in the first half of the year will do service as prizes for board games when the family come around. This year I am carer for my husband who is recovering from a coronary triple bypass. I’ve resorted to my mother’s annual ploy of sending money to my children and nieces, asking them to buy something for their progeny and wrap it as if from me – I’ve always been a lousy present-wrapper, anyway.

This year, I’ve wrapped only one gift – for our neighbour’s daughter. I’m introducing her to Terry Pratchett. My own grandchildren are a tad young for the Master, but their turn will come (or they’ll just read mine).

person using black blood pressure monitor
Photo by rawpixel.com

Much of this year has passed in diagnosis and referrals and in watching my husband slowly grind to a halt, struggling for breath and drained of all energy. When his first Friday operation date was cancelled on the Thursday afternoon, he was devastated.

That was a bad weekend. The youngest of our dogs died unexpectedly on the Sunday evening.

adult care clinic close up
Photo by Pranidchakan Boonrom on Pexels.com

I’m sure we were both waiting for a third blow to strike, although neither of us gave voice to the superstition that misfortunes come in threes.

Three weeks later, he was admitted for his operation: twenty-one days weaker, more breathless and exhausted.

access building business care
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s a slow climb back from a major operation with no energy for the ascent.

He is a frustrating patient: not demanding, just uncooperative. No matter the hospital handouts stressing the benefits of gentle exercise, healthy eating, adequate hydration…      Mañana.

I suggested a preventative measure to shield him from catching my cold.

‘No, I won’t catch it.’

The resulting cold did nothing to alleviate his post-operative cough. Apparently, sneezing hurt.

I’ve made it a lifetime rule never to say ‘I told you so’, but he tries my resolve sometimes.

person driving inside vehicle
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

We will travel to the London suburbs for the festive week, but he isn’t allowed to drive yet.

An experienced and highly qualified driver doesn’t make a happy passenger.

Although he won’t criticise, I will be aware of his teeth clenching and his foot pressing an invisible brake for the entire journey.

I wonder if he’d notice a couple of sleeping tablets slipped into his morning medication?

pexels-photo-208512.jpeg
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Enjoy yours – however you spend it.

dogantlers

8 thoughts on “Christmas Presence

    1. I can recommend the treasure hunt for keeping children busy after Christmas dinner while the adults enjoy their cheese and biscuits. When mine were very small I would produce different clues for the different ages of my children and their cousins – picture clues for those who couldn’t read, simple words for the early readers and rhyming cues for the older ones – so they could all join in. I’m not sure I could do that now – I think it must be time to leave treasure hunts to the next generation.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Several of the bloggers I follow claim that their blog-writing has been cathartic and helped them come to terms with their very real problems (unlike my trivial complaints). I begin to see what they mean.
    Yay, Christmas – bring it on!

    Like

  2. I love your ideas for Christmas treasure hunts. I also recognize, we men can be terrible patients. Michelle would get up and make me scrambled egg sandwiches in the morning, and all sorts of things. You’re not moaning, your sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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