The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

It’s a Wonderful Life

on December 20, 2013

So at the start of this week I thought I was nearly all ready for Christmas. Just a few presents left to buy and Christmas lunch to plan which shouldn’t be that much different to a normal Sunday roast. Simple. Not quite feeling smug but manageable.

But I seem to have found myself making emergency shopping trips these last couple of days! Totally forgot about the end of term school Christmas party and presents for the teachers! What to get eight teachers? Toe socks. Gloves for feet. They’re a bit odd but the teachers seem to like them. Festive jelly for the school Christmas party contribution. I remember my contribution to the school Christmas party when I was in Infant school to be a festive battenburg cake.

It’s at this time of year that I’m thankful I’m not in gainful employment which allows me to rush to the shops during off peak hours and cram in all the Christmas preparations that most sensible people have done weeks ago. I’ve just made another dash this afternoon with #3 in tow to collect her Christmas present and some more wrapping paper.

How is it possible to run out of time getting ready for Christmas when the shops are reminding you all about it from mid September?

At least I’ve done a lot of the wrapping up already and not all will be left on Christmas Eve. Maybe this is the year I’ll be getting drunk on eggnog (still figuring out what that is or am I thinking of advocaat, what’s the difference anyways? Oh just stick with the Christmas port) and not frantically wrapping for everything to be unwrapped in a few short hours!

There’s five more days until Christmas Day and there’s so much left to do! There’s the Christmas films for a start. It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch that stole Christmas, Arthur Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas (although I’m always confused over whether that’s a Halloween or Christmas film), Miracle on 34th Street and (dare I say it) Love Actually. I’d watch Home Alone if I had it but I don’t and I do love that film along with Home Alone 2. Ooh and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

There was a time before Apple tv (again not quite sure how that works), Blu-ray, DVDs, CVDs and VHS when Christmas television really was something special. The eager anticipation of the double edition Christmas Radio Times, perhaps the only copy I, and everyone else, ever buys in the year. This is Mrs Mann Power From the Ceiling’s copy; bottle of wine is optional but highly recommended especially in the spirit of having yourself a Merry White Christmas. The pristine pages of the Christmas Radio Times are quickly scanned for all the films on television for the whole two weeks. Then using a ball point pen, carefully circling all the television shows that need watching. Christmas Top of the Pops. Who would take the prestigious title? The Snowman. All the Christmas Specials.


But the films were something else. Do you remember the first time E.T. was shown on television? Star Wars. Mary Poppins. The Wizard of Oz. Gone with the Wind. Films were such a treat. I hardly ever went to the pictures when I was young and the thrill of watching a film on a massive screen is still no less enjoyable. In comparison #1 and 2 have been going since they were two years old. Their favourite part is the popcorn, me too.

Then there’s all the Christmas food. M&S mince pies still in the box and two small Christmas puddings with the custard in the cupboard. Then I need to buy an over priced, over packaged pannetone and prepare myself beforehand for the disappointment of how small it actually is compared to the big massive box it comes in. Every year it’s like Ms Beefy and the cheeseboard all over again but that story will have to wait another time. Finally, it’s a relief I’ve decided not to get the stollen because I’m not a fan of dried fruit and just because it’s there in the Christmas food section doesn’t mean you must listen to it calling to you. But I do need to make some almond tarts from a recipe my mother in law gave me, my father in law always puts at least five on my plate and it’s rude not to finish them all. I’ve got my Christmas gammon ordered from the butchers but as I only got round to ordering it this week, we’re having a 3.5kg one for four adults and four children. Apparently Mrs Cake Pops says this is the size she got for her Halloween party that had 40 revellers. Luckily ham is very versatile.

We’ve done a few festive activities with Nana Moon (some of you were rather surprised she turned out not to be a rather wizened old lady). Proper cold weather in Hanoi (it’s a whole other post), Christmas lights, Christmas foam blizzard, Christmas floral display, Christmas trees. Just a Christmas carol concert to find.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas indeed! I’ve tried not to let the focus be all about Father Christmas bringing gifts on Christmas Eve and Nana Moon did read #1 and 2 the Nativity Story but I’m not quite sure any of it went in. Today was the school’s Christmas concert, a delightful display of hearty Christmas singing in English and Mandarin. I’m never quite sure how #1 and 2 will fair at such events. They always promise so much during rehearsals and then stand stock still for the real show. I suppose I would too if that many people were staring at me. I don’t even like it when one person does staring. So the only way forward is to join in the hearty Christmas singing too. More Christmas port please.

I was wondering why the rest of the flat was looking rather devoid of Christmas decorations. Then I realised why. Putting Nana Moon in charge of decorating the tree with #1 and 2 meant all the decorations in the box went on the tree.


So just five more sleeps to go! I hope you’re all ready. I’m just off to do a bit more wrapping, eat mince pies, drink Christmas port, watch It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD, The Grinch on the iPad, Harry Potter on my phone and perhaps this year I may just be ready in time for Christmas but if not there’s always next year.


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