I haven’t really done any Christmas shopping.
There. I’ve said it.
In any other year the prospect of having no working oven, no ideas for presents and a pot cupboard which is only half full of home-made goodies would have caused me some stress but not this year.
At the start of November my mother-in-law, who had been holding her own in the final stages of dementia for some time went into decline and passed away. My father-in-law who had been caring for her took a tumble when visiting her in hospital and broke his leg. What followed was a few weeks of craziness – during which time the oven packed up and four different replacements couldn’t be fitted because of a redesign which didn’t accommodate the gas pipe, my daughter sat her mock GCSEs, my son worked on his university application, my husband spent most of the time away from home supporting his parents and I marked GCSE mock exams and wrote reports – dozens and dozens of them.
Now the storm rages no more, there’s time to reflect, take stock and appreciate what’s important about Christmas. My mother-in-law’s death has unlocked the door to happy memories of when she was healthy, which I found hard to bring to mind in the last few years during the worst parts of her illness. My father-in-law needs kindness, companionship and a new sense of purpose. Above all he needs our time.
I’ve always been a fan of homemade goodies or experiences rather than ‘stuff’ as gifts but the real gift of Christmas is time.
Take some for yourself and give some to those you love this Christmas. It’s the perfect Christmas gift.