“Merry Crisp-mas and Good Will To All Chairs”

I’ve just woken up in Fat Sister’s living room. As for many people, my bed last night was the family sofa. I haven’t travelled far, though – my own bed’s just across the road.

Also like for many people, this isn’t a time of year I find easy – sometimes it can be stressful or expensive, and often both!

This year, though, I feel very relaxed and full of festive spirit – thanks in no small part to my nineteen-month-old niece who we call Bean.

It’s Bean’s first proper Christmas. She was around last year but was too little to do much more than play peek-a-boo with the wrapping paper. This year she’s noticed the fairy lights on the house down the road and the Christmas trees popping up all over the place, and she’s even taken part in her first carol concert at nursery, though ‘concert’ might be a slight exaggeration.

It’s fun watching her experience all these things for the first time – in fact it’s really made me think. She’s able to take pleasure in the preparations in an open and relaxed way because she has no expectations, no pressure and no real sense of what other people are doing. I’ve found myself following her lead, minimising my expectations and going with the flow wherever possible.

The last year or so hasn’t been easy, issues with pain, nausea and fatigue have often left me feeling miserable and frustrated. But over the last few days I’ve had some time to relax properly and pace myself. Sometimes this has meant missing celebrations or not staying as long as I’d really like, but I’m sure this is part of the reason why I’m feeling so resilient now.

If you’re looking for a few moments’ relief from relatives, cooking or over-excited kids you could watch our Christmas video.

Christmas can be joyful but for lots of people there are also hardships or stresses that can be overwhelming. If today’s difficult for you I send much love and empathy. If you’re feeling really low, the Samaritans are always ready to take your call or email.

Whatever you’re doing and however you’re celebrating I wish you a very merry Christmas. And here’s what my tics wish you:

“I wish you a very hairy Mary Berry.”
“I wish you a lactating aardvark in disguise.”
“I wish you a linguistic linguine trifle.”
“I wish you a layby piss Christmas.”
“I wish you a whole load of love and a squirt of ketchup.”

Related tics

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