Tag Archives: christmas

Survival Of The Christmas

Christmas Lobster

Giant Lobster, Kingston SE, SA

I’m on another festive road-trip, this year OZ rather than NZ. Christmas is such a great time to take a holiday – and while I’d love to be tucked at home with family and friends in the UK, amidst cosy jumpers and twinkling trees, I also love the utter freedom of constant movement and the excitement of seeing brand new things every day. Especially the sunshine. And my year wouldn’t have been complete without Sunday’s giant lobster on the roadside.

Christmas, nestled as it is before the end of one year and the start of another, often seems a time to compare. Compare life now to this time last year; compare location, occupation, partners, possessions; compare life’s pros and cons, what’s been gained and what’s been lost.

Our first night camping, what was lost was mainly sleep. Having been sweltering over in South Australia, we took a selection of sheets but decided sleeping bags would be surplus. Wrong. The tent, positioned as it was in the centre of a vortex, winds tearing around out of nowhere, was freezing. And I hadn’t even brought layers of clothing that could ease the situation.

Last night, we recovered in a motel. Whenever I stay in a motel I feel like I’m in an episode of the X-files. But there are no aliens here. Maybe just ghosts. I’m followed around by the ghost of last year’s Christmas road-trip, which I was lucky enough to enjoy with ex-partner-in-crime. I miss him like crazy. And last week, I went to see my friend Kade’s family on the Gold Coast. Not so much earlier than this time last year, partner-in-crime and I were over there for his funeral, and I’d not been back since.

Bad stuff has happened this year – stuff I’d rather hadn’t. But it’s not ever, nowhere near, the same as really losing someone. When someone dies, it doesn’t end. It’s never over. They’re gone forever. And every Christmas, every birthday, every holiday – they bring a peak in the ever-present pain for those who were closest. Seeing everyone left behind there, wishing my friend was still around, wishing it was possible to save each person from their grief… Those are Christmas wishes that could never be granted.

But such things are utterly out of our control. They can only be suffered and survived. And where there is unending grief, friends can only be supportive. Be present. Be there.

Not so with everything. Yesterday we acquired sleeping bags so we wouldn’t have another disastrous night of cold cramps. There are certainly things in our lives that go wrong that we can learn from and correct. Some things lost can be found again. I can think of several situations a tad more dire than lack of camping equipment that, with a little motivation, I can sort out next year.

Have a ridiculous holiday. Frolic until you’re famished and feast until you’re full. But spare a thought for those without. Those without the ones who would have made their Christmas complete. My heart goes out to you if you’re one of them. And if there’s anything distressing in your life that you know is fixable, that would make life merrier in 2015 if fixed, then make the resolution to address it. We owe it to ourselves – we who are lucky enough to have a full and fantastic life to live.

Finding Christmas Time


Tis the season…

I’m so annoyed with myself for not yet having decorated for Christmas. I’m actually away for festive week and new year’s week, so if I don’t do it soon there’ll be no point doing it at all… Except the point that I’ll be sad if I don’t, even if I leave it to the day before I leave. I’m thinking of taking some tinsel travelling with me, too.

I’m so *busy* right now! I’m running around like a headless turkey. In the office, the internet and phone-lines have broken, casting us back into the dark ages and making me wonder how we’d cope if the world lost technology altogether (a theme in my NaNo novel!). There are scores of people visiting, some event or another on every day of next week, and we’re hitting the road at the end of it, with next to no itinerary and not a lot organised. Not only have I not decorated, I’ve not done any Christmas shopping or sent any cards. Some of you may be sighing out of sympathy, others out of incomprehension – there are 2 weeks left after all… Except, I’m half a world away from home and from most of the people I want to gift / card – even if I get my act together today, post probably won’t arrive until *next* Christmas!

What am I doing?! Well, I’ve been working at 3 different ‘jobs’ – I have my part-time job as the Reluctant Accountant, which isn’t so part-time this fortnight due to internet issues and the amount to do in the run up to Christmas; I have my business, Right Ink On The Wall, which has been beautifully busy of late, editing and proofing; and I’ve just become the accountant (less reluctantly) for a charitable trust (more on this in another post), which is brand new and just finding its feet, so lots to doooo! 

But, however busy I am – there’s no excuse for not finding Christmas Time. Time to decorate, time to celebrate, time to get in touch with loved ones and send tokens of care. There’s no excuse not to find time to thank someone for a card or a kindness. One can be tired *and* cheery. I need to embrace the festive franticness at everything there is to *do* – and be grateful for all the people there are to *see*.

Who’s feeling that Christmas rush/push/crush?! Who else needs to pause for thought, and take time to feel festive?! It’s the most wonderful time of the year 🙂 Make time to find Christmas Time!