Christmas Eve

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The church bells rang out signalling the start of midnight mass. People walked or drove  over, some carrying presents or boxes of food for the poor. Snowflakes fluttered from the dark sky whilst fairy lights everywhere twinkled warmly. The fresh air was mingled with the scents of pine, hot cooking and frankincense.

In the church they gathered, singing hymns and saying prays by the flickering candle light. They celebrated the birth of a baby thousands of years ago that they believed changed the world for the better. With hearts full of joy and wonder, they wished for a Christmas of peace.

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Dear Diary #50

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Dear Diary,

It’s officially winter today, though it feels like it’s been here for awhile, expect for the snow which I hope keeps away for longer! The weather has settled into a pattern of being wild, wet, windy, cold and getting dark so early that all but the morning daytime feels lost.

Today, I’ve been busy getting the Christmas decorations out and some of them up. The kids, now claiming they are ‘too old’ for such things took awhile to get into the mood of things but those decorations that reminded them of silly times – a school play, craft pieces, a photo on Santa’s knee, helped to get them into it.

Of course, only two sets of lights worked! So I left Danny testing them in the shed and I took Emma out to buy some more and a few other things. The shops were busy as was to be expected but we got through okay. Christmas music was playing in all the shops and it felt like everyone had suddenly got this idea that now was the time to start celebrating officially. Though TV and shops have been creeping it in since the start of last month!

Back home and more decorations to put up and it turns out I was right to replace the lights as poor Danny couldn’t fix them. I cheered him up with hot chocolate and crumpets which were so lovely in front of our still new fireplace! A fire really does add that cosy, cheery feel to Christmas. I don’t know how we coped without it before!

I made a nice stew and dumplings for tea and we watched a Christmas movie, though the kids were still tutting and spent more time on their phones/games then watching it but at least we were all together and that’s good enough for me.

Then before we came to bed, I walked around and just smiled, Christmas is truly here and it feels so good and welcome, the perfect beacon of hope in the long winter nights.

Town Decorations #FridayFictioneers

I looked up at the high street’s Christmas decorations with a mixture of  puzzlement and anger. At the lights turn on, the mayor had announced that due to lack of funds this year, they had decided to go with a ‘homemade’ feel..Children, old people and those who had nothing better to do, had dug out their old decorations and got making some too. Long knitted scarfs wrapped around the lampposts, ancient lights danging down, children’s glittered things and was that someone’s Mrs Santa’s nightdress? Well, I guess the town had come together in the spirit of Christmas.

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/12/13/15-december-2017 with thanks).

Dear Diary #40

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Dear Diary,

It’s here! It’s HERE! December has finally come and with it the count down to Christmas! I raced home from work today and got as much stuff out of the attic as I could. Joe said I should have waited for him. It was dangerous to balance on the ladder and lower the heavy boxes, but I said I only got the light ones that I could drop easily. I pointed out that two boxes were actually filled with new stuff and hadn’t been in the attic.

Joe did the whole muttering and rolling eyes, but I know he doesn’t really mean it. He’ll soon be just as caught up in things as I am! I put some Christmas music on and we got the rest of the boxes down. We unpacked everything, got the tree out and set that up before the living room window. We decorated it together, going with a theme of silver and red this year. I let him put the star at the top to cure his grumps. Then we held a switch on and it was just so magical!

We put lights inside the front windows, the door, the dinning room window and our bedroom window which faced the front of the house. I found places for the ornaments, the sweet jars and the Nativity. Joe hung up the holders for the cards and some more decorations from the walls and ceilings.

It was late when we stopped and yet there were a few things left to do. Joe declared it drink and snack time whilst watching a movie. He let me pick and of course I choice Jingle All The Way, I know he secretly loves that one!

I just wish we had a fireplace. That would make everything much more better. I told that to Joe again and he said the normal when we move house. That really can’t come soon enough for me! But it’s a couple of years off still as we save up again. I like our little house though, especially right now as it seems fitting for a place in Santa’s Town! One day though I hope my dream home comes true.

Bare

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The house seemed too bare. All the Christmas decorations have come down and packed away for another year. Walking from room to room, they wondered how to replace the brightness and magic the decorations had created.

Christmas Eve

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Willow placed the sweet minced fruit pie on the plate then licked the sugar off her fingers. For a moment, she nearly snatched the pie back and put it in her mouth, but then her mother bustled over.

‘And a carrot for Rudolph,’ her mother announced as she placed the bright orange carrot next to the plate.

Willow looked up at her mum and almost asked the question that had popped into her mind.

‘Now, we need a bowl of water and some whisky…’ her mum said suddenly, ‘Will you get the water?’

With a nod, Willow followed her into the kitchen. Her mum got a bowl, filled it with water and handed it to her. Willow carried it carefully back into the living room and placed it on the coffee table next to the carrot.

She stood for a few moments and took the room in. It was heavy decorated with a real pine tree in the corner draped with multi-coloured fairy lights, shinny red and gold balls, red and gold tinsel and atop was a golden star. The mantel had real holly and berries laying across it and stockings hung up above the fire place. From the ceiling, lights and thin plastic shapes hung down.

Willow’s mother came back in with a tumbler glass half full of amber liquid. She placed it next to the plate.

‘All set. Right, it’s time for bed now. Santa will be on his way.’

‘But mum, why do we need to do this?’ Willow finally asked with a wave of her hand at the carrot.

‘Well….I guess…because it’s tradition,’ mum answered.

Willow stared at her waiting for more.

‘I think that Santa and the reindeer get hungry. They are doing a lot of travelling, so they need the energy.’

‘Then why don’t they stop? Or take food with them?’ Willow asked.

‘They can’t stop, they don’t have time. They have to get around the world in a whole night. Maybe though, Mrs. Claus makes them sandwiches,’ mum answered.

‘Do reindeer eat sandwiches?’ Willow wondered out aloud.

‘Also, we are thanking Santa for coming,’ mum added, ‘and it’s a nice thing to do.’

Willow looked at the coffee table, she wasn’t sure she believed in this anymore.

‘Plus, also,’ her mum said quickly, seeing the still puzzled look on her daughter’s face, ‘Santa has been asleep for much of the year and he’s really hungry.’

Willow frowned harder and looked from the food and drink offerings to her mother.

‘It’s bedtime now, sweetie, come on,’ her mum broke in.

Shrugging and deciding to let this conversation drop, Willow let her mum shoo her from the room. Saying goodnight, first to her father who was sat reading a book in his study then her mother, Willow went to her bedroom and lay on her bed pondering about Santa till she fell asleep.

Downstairs, her mother finished off wrapping presents. As she finished putting them in the stockings, her husband appeared in the doorway. He went to the coffee table and picked up the tumbler of whisky.

‘I don’t think we can pull this off next year,’ she said softly, ‘Willow is asking too many questions and not accepting my answers.’

Willow’s father picked up the mince pie and went to his favourite armchair. He sat down and took a bite out of the pie.

‘We’ll have to tell her. She’s grown up so fast,’ Willow’s mother added.

‘Maybe she’ll figure it out. It’s what we did.’

Standing up, Willow’s mother picked up the carrot and began eating it. In her mind, she was trying to figure out the best way to tell her daughter the truth.

 

Oh, Christmas Tree!

The Christmas tree had gone up and now the old people’s home smelled of pine. Betty stared hard at the large tree in the corner of the day room from her wheel chair. She wrinkled her nose and decided that the tree was crooked. There was too many decorations on one side, in fact there were just too many decorations all together.

‘That tree needs sorting,’ she muttered.

With a quick glance around the room, Betty slowly wheeled herself forward. Avoiding two men playing chess and the jabbering madness of Mrs Peterson, who seemed to be talking to a fairy king about the lack of flowers in the garden. Ignoring the TV and the crowd around it, Betty came to a stop before the tree.

Reaching up, she begin to take the decorations down and place them in her lap.

‘What are you doing, Betty?’ a croaking voice called out.

Betty turned to see Margo totting over with her walking frame.

‘I’m fixing the tree,’ Betty said, ‘it doesn’t look right.’

‘Oh…how you going to reach the top?’ Margo asked.

Betty followed Margo’s eyes and looked up. There was no way she could reach any further up then she had all ready gotten.

‘Ladies. What are we doing?’

Both old woman turned to see a young nurse coming towards them.

‘Nothing,’ Margo answered, ‘I was admiring the tree. So pretty and fresh smelling.’

The nurse came over and quickly saw the tree had lost half it’s decorations and that most of them where in Betty’s lap. The rest had fallen on the floor.

‘I’m fixing it,’ Betty explained, ‘it was crooked.’

‘Okay. How about we put all these back and go and make some paper chains?’ the nurse spoke out.

‘No, thanks. My soap is all most on,’ Margo said and she started shuffling away.

‘Right then. Let’s put these decorations back on the tree.’

Tutting, Betty helped the nurse put the decorations back. Soon the tree was looking well dressed again.

‘It doesn’t look any better,’ Betty said as they were nearly done.

‘It looks fine to me. Now, let’s get you busy doing something else, shall we?’ the nurse said.

She took the handles of the wheelchair and moved Betty away.

‘I’ll be back for you later Christmas tree,’ Betty whispered under her breath.

Dear Diary #28

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Dear Diary, 

It’s finally here! The first of December! And as usual Ted and I both had the day off work and we spent it decorating the house. Now, the outside and inside looks like Blackpool illuminations! There are so many different lights everywhere and it’s already making my eyes hurt and my head spinning looking at them all. I don’t care though because it’s Christmas!

I’ve been blasting themed music all day and singing along to most of them. When were putting the lights and decorations up at outside, I brought the speakers out with me and let the music drift into the street. Ted said it was a good job most of the neighbors were at work or they’d be complain about the noise! Let ’em I said. The shops do enough blasting songs as it is, why can they get away with it and not me?

The tricky part was setting up the tree. Every year I say we need a new one and Ted rolls his eyes and says this one is good enough. It looks even more scrappy this year. Some fake pines came off in my hands and it looked so small and depressed in the corner. Once the lights were on it, the tinsel, the baubles and those other decorations it didn’t look so bad. I’m thinking though come the end of year sales I’m going to buy a new one.

After it was done, I sat on the floor and sighed deeply. Ted asked what was wrong and I brought up the whole baby issue again. I want so badly to see ornaments saying baby first Christmas danging from the tree. Followed by the things they’ve made, which look crap but you put them on anyway because your kid made it. I want to hang a third and maybe a fourth stocking with our own. I want to buy toys and games and fun kiddie things. Most of all though, I want to share the magic with Christmas with them. Give them memories they can never forget.

Ted did his normal it’s okay and we will get there speech. But we’ve tried so hard this year and nothing. Not even a false reading on any of the tests! It’s shocking that I tried so hard not get pregnant all those years we dated and the first few we were married and now when the time is right, nothing! There’s time I know, but still….I’m ready and next year I hope we can finally hang that third stocking.

Cold Morning

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Lizzy didn’t want to get up, but the alarm clock was demanding she did. Throwing the bedding back from her nest, she got up and ran to the bathroom, before her body had time to register the cold. She got in the shower and blasted hot water until she felt like a layer of skin had been burnt off.

She got out before she had fully thought about it. Leaving the shower to drip itself to a stop, Lizzy wrapped three towels around herself and went back to the bedroom. There she got dressed, trying not to take too long to decide what office clothes to wear. Anything warm and comfy would do.

In black trousers, a dark blue blouse and a long black cardigan, Lizzy sat before her mirror and sorted out her hair. Then abandoning the towels on the heating rack, she went into the kitchen and made breakfast. It was at that point Lizzy’s mind fully awoke. It was as if someone had flipped the switch that made her off autopilot and on to normal again.

Lizzy sighed as the kettle clicked and the microwave binged.

‘I don’t want to go to work today,’ she muttered, ‘its going to be another blue Monday.’

She made a cup of tea then collected her porridge out of the microwave. She put the TV on just for background noise and had breakfast whilst half watching the news. Then she left her things in the sink, feeling an odd sense of satisfaction that no parent or housemate could yell at her. Living alone might have it’s loneliness, but there were so many benefits.

Gathering her things, putting on her shoes and coat, she risked a peek out of the windows and saw the streets below shining as if a million tiny diamonds had been dropped on the tarmac. The weather forecast hadn’t lied.

Leaving, Lizzy didn’t bother calling the elevator, but went straight down the five flights of turning stairs. She braced herself at the front door then opened it. An icy wind blew in her face and around her legs like an old man’s wandering fingers. Lizzy fought it off and hurried outside. She walked boldly to the bus stop and waited with a few other people.

There were two old women dressed like Antarctic explorers with shopping bags on wheels. A middle-age man in a tried grey business suit who looked washed out by society’ demands. Four chatting school girls in mini skirts and nothing covering their legs, but short socks. Lizzy wondered how they masked the cold they must be feeling so well.

The bus pulled up and it was full as was to be expected. She showed her pass and had to stand up for the twenty minute ride into the city center. Luckily, her office was just around the corner. Getting off in a sea of people, Lizzy hurried down the slippy street and to the office door. She took off her gloves keyed in the numbers and opened the door when it clicked.

Climbing the stairs, she decided to head straight to the kitchen and make herself a hot drink. Maybe some fancy fruit tea? She pushed open her office door and stopped.

Brightly colored Christmas decorations were hanging from the ceiling and the windows. Plastic ornaments spun in the breeze from the door and the soft notes of Christmas songs tickled her ears. In the far corner, a fake green Christmas sat. Heavily decorated with cheap tatty things which the string of fairy lights lit brightly up.

Lizzy walked in and closed the door. A few people were at their desks all ready. Their voices as they spoke to one another or to someone on the phone rose and fell. She went into the small kitchen and found that had had a make over too. Someone had hung some mistletoe up by the window and there was a wicker gift basket by the sink.

She went over and looked at it. A large noticed announced it was a collection for the homeless to be given to the church just up the road on Christmas Eve. Lizzy tucked the card back and made herself a strawberry and lime tea. She took it back to her desk and just sat there for a few moments.

There’s just something, she thought, about Christmas decorations that makes you feel at home. I guess I was wrong about it being another blue Monday.   

Dear Diary #26

Dear Diary,

I can’t believe October is already here! September has gone too fast, but that’s okay because it’s now the run up to Halloween. I’ve been seeing stuff in the shops and online already and so far – yes I’ve already begun! I’ve brought two sets of lights, some sweets and entered a competition to win a full size skeleton.

I think he’ll look great with my skeleton dog. I did also see a rat and raven/crow skeleton and they seemed pretty cool. Going to have to budget carefully again this year! I’ve though started my Christmas shopping too. Saw some cool handmade soap that granny will love. Also, book for my sister and a sports wash bag for my stepdad. So making a good start on that.

My search for a new job has been slow. Even though there’s lots popping up because of the Christmas hiring period as started, nothing seems to be in my area nor what I want. I need to keep trying though and not give up so easily. Applying for like twenty jobs a day is hard though. If Misty Wonders payed me more and give me more hours it would be okay.

I asked the other day about it and Madam Witch said she just couldn’t. The problem started when she took me and her second cousin’s daughter, Anna on – who was meant to only be staying a few months to get some experience. If she had left instead of deciding she liked the shop too much, then I would be employed full time.

Anyway, my window Halloween display has turned out great. I set it all up today – that’s been like my total five hours of working! Madam Witch loved it and said was the best ever. Anna was sulking in the store room when I left, so win for me.  I can’t wait to go and see the shop front in the morning now. Hoping it’ll also help boost customers, but things normally pick up about now.

I also managed to get the actual 31st off as Halloween falls on a Monday and also the 1st November, so I can go to that party after all now. I’m still not sure if Carter is going to be there, but great if he is though. I’d love for him to see me in my slutty bride of Dracula costume. It’s going to be a really good night no matter what.