Let the count down start …

With Halloween pasted and Bonfire Night fast approaching my thoughts are quickly turning to the “C” word.   Okay I can hear some of you groaning but it’s inevitable I’m afraid, Christmas is only just over seven weeks away and I am so excited about this year’s Christmas.  

I’ve always loved Christmas as a child growing up it was a very special time filled with love, laughter and lots of family time and making memories.  When we moved to West Wales I was only nine years old and suddenly there were events locally that marked the countdown to the big day.   Halloween was the first and a week later the November fair, I still remember my very first experience of the November fair and venturing into the town with my parents and siblings and being overwhelmed by the lights, smells and sights.  Almost the whole town becomes pedestrianised for one day and stalls line the streets selling various things from fruit and veg, sweets, clothes, Christmas items and so much more.  Then down several of the side streets and in the car park next to the primary school the fair rides cram in, inviting the children with the promise of thrills and laughs.  The best time is in the dark and the streets really come to life!  Since becoming a parent though the November Fair has meant upheaval for the school run as the fair rides take over the car park in the days running up to fair day and inevitably leads to closure altogether a couple of days before hand bringing chaos to school runs and leading to excitement amongst the children.  

Sadly the fair has changed from the fair I fondly remember, yes it’s still full of fun and it’s still one of the events that I look forward to.  However the number of stalls have dwindled sadly and the expanse of area that was once needed is no longer.   The following day as in the case of this year’s fair is Remembrance Sunday, a day for remembering and honouring those that have lost their lives for us.  During my youth I was part of the local guiding movement and even became a young leader establishing the Rainbow unit locally.  I’ve marched at so many Remembrance Sunday parades over the years and am so proud of my older two for now marching too with their fellow Beavers and Cubs.  

Then thoughts turn to school plays and carol service rehearsals and another local event that seems to have diminished over recent years, Victorian Evening with late night openings.  This time local shops donning traditional Victorian Costumes, best dressed shop windows, choirs and so much more.  The sense of community spirit at these events was something that really caught everyone and drew you in to the events.  I loved the feeling that attending these events gave me and dearly miss it.  Don’t get me wrong attempts are still made to recreate the atmosphere etc but health and safety and more importantly money seems to sadly have taken over and prevented events in some cases.  All these events helped build the magic of Christmas for me as a child and I think it’s just that the magic and the build up I love.  It’s all part of the Christmas spirit. 

So now as a mum myself with four young children my thoughts have turned to helping create that magic for my own children.  This year will be the first one that Erin takes notice of the lights and music, more than her first Christmas last year and she is starting to understand what is going on around her.   Yesterday on our way home we stopped in a few shops and spent time looking amongst the Christmas items that are starting to fill the shelves.  I refuse to acknowledge their existence prior to the 1st November, it’s just too early although admittedly as the children have come along I have found myself seeking out bargains for Christmas and have bought several items already.  But I think with four children and working full time this is allowed.  Though Rowan has nagged for the last week or two about the chocolate Advent Calenders in the local shops that he wants but hasn’t fully grasped he can not open yet!  

I’ve always liked the lights at Christmas although my dad has always moaned and called it Light Pollution! I have nagged dad of 3 for the last couple of years to let us put lights up outside the house only to be told no!  However this year I have won the battle of the lights and found Solar powered lights, they will adorn our hedges and bushes and light up our drive.  We’ve always hung lights in the windows and will do so again this year.  I’m so excited about it, I just can’t wait!  One tradition dad of 3 and I have had since we meet is to buy a new Christmas decoration every year.  Some years it has simply been a tree ornament and other years a room ornament but it’s something we have done and helps build the excitement.  But yesterday when I saw the Christmas offerings in one store I was so excited, I even let out a squeal much to the boys and dad of 3’s amusement.  I spent a good half hour choosing Christmas goodies to light the house and bring festive cheer.  I even caught Dad of 3 getting excited not that he will admit it!  We haven’t many places locally were we have a variety of choice for decorations so faced with my equivalent to a sweet shop I was overwhelmed with choice.  
I finally made my choices and came away with not one but several new decorations and various other Christmas goodies.  The store is now etched in my mind and a return visit is already been discussed with dad of 3 without the older children with us.   
My thoughts are also turning to Christmas crafts and activities to do with both my children and my minded children, simple crafts are often the most effective and bring so much joy to everyone.  Erin and her little friends are just the right age to start doing crafts with and I’ve already got some ideas for them, so watch this space and I may just share them with you … but in the mean time please tell me I’m not the only one who’s excited about Christmas!

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