I’ve always loved Christmas, but I have loved it more as I’ve got older. My children brought back the magic and have made me look at all things Christmas with younger eyes again. I spend December feeling excited, feeling warm inside and full of love. I feed off my children’s excitement. I absolutely love it. I’m always keen to get the decorations up, and when opening up storage boxes and bags of decorations from the loft I feel so happy. I love it when I find a decoration I had forgotten about. I love rearranging the sitting room so that it all looks perfect. I love a real tree, the look, the feel and of course the smell. I always love how our tree looks. I always smile when I look at our Christmas tree. I love the way Christmas makes me feel. Christmas is magical, in every sense, and I love it.

It seemed so perfect to plan a wedding at Christmas, it is so very me. And actually, it is so Jon too, I managed to find someone who loved Christmas as much as I do, and who after meeting us, probably fell in love with Christmas time even more. A winter wedding, a December wedding, a Christmas wedding, it was perfect for us.

It was strange to make Christmas decorations in June, it was odd filling the house with Christmas things way before winter arrived. Boxes and boxes of Christmas stuff slowly filled the house whilst the sun blazed outside. But it was exciting. I couldn’t quite picture how everything would look, but I tried and I planned accordingly. I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted it to be Christmas themed but still us, still celebrating our love and our commitment. I had it all planned, I let the stress take over and worried endlessly about making everything just right.

I still have boxes, endless boxes of half made Christmas decorations, accessories and favours. There are loads of boxes. Every time I opened our largest cupboard downstairs I was greeted with those boxes. A stark cold reminder of my dreams, my plans and my hope. It made me sad. Too sad. So I set about the task of moving those boxes. I painstakingly went through each box, reaching out things I could still use, we can still make homemade crackers, for the children to give their friends, we can keep some things to make our own decorations for home. But most of it I needed moved, out of sight, away from my healing heart. Each item I stumbled upon hurt me a little. One hundred wooden hearts I had spent hours writing names on to with a pyrography wood burning tool, 20 homemade confetti cones ready for sprinkling snow on the newly weds, small hanging wooden hearts I’d decoupaged and written on as wedding favours. It all hurt. The hours wasted, the money wasted, the hope wasted, it hurt. I moved them into the loft. Out of the cupboard, out of my eyesight. I couldn’t face throwing it all away, that act would seem so final. So I hid it all in the loft.

I’ve been dreading Christmas. And that is so sad for somebody who loves everything Christmas. I’m not sure if I will be able to smile at my Christmas tree in quite the same way this year. I’m not sure that I can officially declare it Christmas when I play my favourite Christmas song this year. I’m not sure if I can muster up the energy to encourage my children’s excitement, but I will try. I will try really hard to put on my brave face, to keep myself in the role of mummy. I shall try and love Christmas.

I remember the first Christmas without Martin. I was sad and I was frightened. I worried so much about getting everything ‘right’ for my children. I worried so much. I had a little time on my own on Christmas Eve in town that year, I felt incredibly lost, incredibly sad as I looked upon couples and families and happy faces. I cried all the way home. I won’t let that happen again. I won’t put myself through that ever again.

I am dreading Christmas, but it’s coming anyway. There’s no escaping it. Just like the 15th December is coming, the day I was supposed to be gaining a husband and becoming a wife. It’s coming regardless, there is no option but to face it. I cannot wait for it to be over. To get past that date is what I need, I keep telling myself that.

Tonight I’m taking the middle one into town for the Christmas light switch on, because I love Christmas and all that is Christmas and I’m on a personal mission not to lose sight of that.


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