Trying to explain clock-free living to a time-obsessed five-year old - and Christmas
Lyddie: "But what time?"
Me: "When I've finished typing this email."
Lyddie: *Looks at clock* "Nine o'clock then?"
Me: *Stops typing.* "Look. Some people like to do things at set times and some people just like to do things when they're ready, or when they feel like doing them. I like doing things when I feel like it, or when I'm ready to, ok?"
Lyddie: "Ok. But don't forget we're going out at twelve o'clock."
Me: *Sighs, gives up.*
We're not going out at twelve o'clock, or at least we don't have to. She's just decided we are, and where we're going. McDonalds. I hate McDonalds! But of all the places she could choose to go for a Christmas outing, McDonalds is apparently it, so I will go there and eat their cardboard fries and I will smile about it. Is their coffee any good nowadays? Any other recommendations?
Other than enduring McDonalds, Christmas in the Kilner house is a very laid back affair nowadays. In years gone by I have hosted parties - as many as five per season, attended many others, sent hundreds of cards and wrapped presents at 4am on Christmas morning, which I shopped for at midnight the night before.
Before that I was running a busy pub, so Christmas was just one long series of impossibilities. It has got easier every year since, so that nowadays I even get to enjoy it myself sometimes.
When I was a child, it was all about church. But I don't want to have my festival of lights in a cold unlived-in stone cavern of a building while our family home stands empty. And I don't want our celebration of the birth of a new sun to be hijacked into the birth of a new son, though since it dawned on me that Christ actually means 'light' I do feel slightly better about this. However, I increasingly want to follow my instincts and celebrate on the actual solstice, so I'll be lighting fires and candles early on Saturday morning after which the days start getting longer again and the year will feel to me like it has turned.
Santa will come down our chimney on Christmas Eve, of course. He will leave a black sack full of gifts for everyone, many of which are already bought and wrapped. (I must be getting old!) And the teens will go along with it and pretend to be delighted that he gave them slippers and socks and books again. I've been giving them cash for their main gift for years and it's always a struggle to work out what else they could possibly make use of, to open on the day.
We got a tree last week and decorated it. Here is Lyddie putting the angel on top:
It's a little tree this year, on a table so that the baby can't 'play' with it in that charmingly destructive way that toddling babies tend to approach things. Some of the decorations are very old, delicate glass ones. Those are at the top, out of reach, but she can reach the safe ones at the bottom. So we're playing at 'put the decorations back on the tree' every day. Fun!