A reflection on the year

What a year I have had in 2018. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year as many of you will know. I have struggled with grief of losing my cousin and her husband. The emotional grief was ongoing, due to the court case for the person who played a part in their deaths being this year. Then writing to the local councilor, where they lived, to fight for changes on that road, which has resulted in a lower speed, clear signage and improved road.
Although the grief is still there, the year has been positive too. I started my new job on 2nd January and I have loved every second being there. Working there has made me feel like my old self, but a better self, because I have grown further in confidence this year. I am also happier because of my new job and also because of now living in Mansfield. This was icing on the cake, when I moved, because I did not think at one point this would happen, as it got nearer to the end of the year.

My next aim is to build up my hours, by looking out for morning work. I plan to send CV’s out to businesses near me, as well as looking at job vacancies that crop up in my email inbox, from job alerts I have set.
Until that morning job happens, I continue my volunteering one day a week at Ashfield Play Forum. This volunteering role, I have been doing for some years now. But when I do get a morning work, it will mean I need to leave, which they understand. As one staff member had said, before I got my new home in Mansfield, it will be a new chapter. My new chapter has come early I feel, for living in Mansfield alone. So watch this space and continue to visit my blog for new posts/stories, in the year ahead.

I would like to end this post on saying Happy New Year, whether it’s soon to arrive, or already happened, depending on where you live. Have a safe holiday and I will see you in the New Year.

Nick and Noel on the look out

I may have not been naughty, like a few of my friends and readers have been with this post; Noel says, “Who’s been naughty?” but they did hear about me checking out my presents under the tree. They heard about me feeling a few of my presents and guessing what they might be, so I am now on their naughty list for that.
Noel and Nick are also watching I don’t do it again, otherwise they are taking my presents back to Santa.

Noel is high up at the top of the Christmas tree and Nick is covering low ground. They are on the lookout and keeping an eye out.


Some jokes for you

Here are some jokes for you.

Why are Christmas trees bad at knitting?
Because they always drop their needles.

What do you get when you cross a bell with a skunk?
Jingle smells.

What does Mrs Claus say to Santa when she sees clouds?
Looks like rain, dear.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

These jokes were found here, where you can read some more: http://www.elfcrazy.com/christmas-elf-jokes-for-kids/

Christmas traditions

When I was a child, right up to my teens, (my teens being when my dad died), regardless of what dad was like, Christmas, Boxing Day, through to the New Year, was always good.

Christmas morning would be opening of presents before I had my breakfast.
When I was in my teens and onwards, I would open them after my breakfast.
Living in a house that was only a coal fire for heating, my dad would light up the other fireplace in the front room on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, through to the New Year. This was the only times we would have two coal fires going, because of only having so much coal. This was a luxury treat I felt.
When I was old enough and under at first the watchful eye of my dad, I was allowed to make up and light the fire. Later, I would do this on my own. I enjoyed doing this.

Mum and dad would do Christmas dinner together. Some years we had homemade Christmas cake, made by dad. Christmas dinner was always chicken, which I look forward to, as we didn’t have it often.

Depending on my cousin and her mum’s schedule, (my mum’s sister,) they would come down with their presents either Christmas Day, or Boxing Day afternoon and have a few hours with us before going back for their Christmas dinner. TV would be on mostly through the Christmas period, catching any films that would be on, or something else. We would stay in over the holiday period, but I think come Boxing Day and in between to new years eve, dad would have an hour, or two in the pub over the road.

When I was a child, there were some Christmases that dad would hang chocolate in their foil wrappers, on the tree. I would be allowed one at the time he put them up, in early December, but I wasn’t allowed anymore until Christmas Day and onwards. I remember the countdown to Christmas, admiring the chocolate on the tree, knowing I could not touch.

I was always grateful what I received from my parents at Christmas. I never asked for things, as I knew they could not afford much. I would have fun playing with whatever I received.

When it was just me and my mum, at Christmas Eve, for a few years we would open one of our presents before going to bed, then the rest would be opened in a morning.
Now I wasn’t planning on getting up till 7.30am on Christmas morning. I had my own alarm clock to wake me up. But mum would wake me up in a morning at a time much earlier, even though she knew what time I was getting up. When I realised the time it was, I swore. It was 6am. This happened on two Christmases running. I may have sworn at the time, but we would joke about it later. And if you were wondering if I got up. No, I didn’t. I went back to sleep. Mum was waiting downstairs like a big kid, to open her presents, until I got up.
After a few years, I said to mum, let’s wait till Christmas Day to open all our presents. Mum still wanted to open one on Christmas Eve, but I said you do what you like, you’re an adult, but I’m not opening mine till Christmas Day. Again, I would not open mine until between 7.30am to 8am, but mum tried to get me up earlier. Again, I stayed in bed. Mum started staying up till midnight, opening her presents right on Christmas Day, so by the time I’m up, hers are unwrapped and she’s watching me.

When it came to having my own place, me and mum will decide who is going to who’s on Christmas and the other will do New Year’s Day. When mum was at mine, she’d stop a night, or two. I’d cook Christmas dinner. Then when at mum’s for the day on New Year, she would cook dinner.
For many years, except starting from this year, I would receive mum’s Christmas presents from some family and all friends to give her on Christmas Day, so she did not open them early.

This Christmas, mum is at mine and is stopping the night. I will do our dinner in the slow cooker. It will just be us two having a relaxing day, watching a Christmas dvd, or two that I bought earlier on and maybe play some cd’s. At night, it will be sandwiches of some kind and crisps.
Boxing Day, will be another dinner involving chicken, if there is any left, otherwise it will be salmon.
For New Year, we have not discussed that far ahead, as I write this, but I am hoping she will be fine with 2nd January.

As mum originally said she wasn’t coming, I made plans how I would start my Christmas Day. The dinner wasn’t going to change, so should she have changed her mind, (which she did and in the end has decided to stop the night,) there would still enough for two. I decided that once dinner was in slow cooker and I had my breakfast, I would first walk in the park, before going home, to open my presents.
Even though mum is now coming, I plan to still do this, so mum has been given instructions on a time not to come before on, otherwise she will be waiting for me.

I hope you, my readers of this blog, will have a lovely Christmas. Do you have a particular tradition, or routine, over Christmas?