Mine this year, was ok. It may seem ungrateful to say it was just ok.
I was grateful for the cards, the gifts, the family time, the messages from friends and family who don't live nearby and being in peoples thoughts.
But, something was missing. And I'm not sure what?
I think the build up to Christmas was a hint of what was to come. With my husband being ill, and practically being in bed every day for 2 weeks from the end of November into December meaning I had to start the Christmas spirit without him. Buying the tree without him, even daring to go into the loft to get the decorations down, then putting the decorations up. Sorting out presents, wrapping presents, sorting out food and keeping up with all the school Christmas trips and events.
I was exhausted, stressed and tired and it almost drained any piece of Christmas spirit left in me.
It got closer and closer to Christmas, and despite listening to the Christmas classics, and watching Christmas films everyday nothing ignited that usual magical flame and feeling I would usually have.
I tried so hard to get that feeling back.
I don't take too many photos on Christmas Day. It was a rule I made last year after enjoying Christmas a lot more by being a part of it, and not just taking photos of it.
It didn't feel Christmassy, it felt like any other day.
There were moments that stood out though.
This year was the first year Harry really got involved with the whole story of Santa. They both loved watching him fly over at 5.21, putting out the food and drink for the Reindeers, and for Santa. And for the first time popping out the 'Santa please stop here' sign passed onto them from their Grandad and Grandma.
The day was hard, and this is something we don't know how on earth you combat. And it was hard because of over-tired and over-excited children. There is the option of not actually telling them that it is Christmas Eve and that Christmas is the following day....but advent calenders ruin that, and they miss out on the whole mince pie, whisky, water and carrot things.
I couldn't blame them for being over-tired. Or for not being able to sleep. Even adults go through that. It just become hard when you have an image of how Christmas should be. All sat round playing games, laughing and so on when in fact you are busy in the kitchen, the children want a drink/cookies/chocolate coins and to play with all the toys.
The hints of every day life reminded me that Christmas is just a day. And it didn't matter if things didn't go as planned. Those hints reminded me of what was important. Family being together, love, kindness and smiles.
Those hints reminded me that those images, and plans I had in my head were not realistic. Christmas Day is so hectic, it is so stressful, and sitting down to relax is near on impossible.
Those chocolatey mouths and milk mustaches following the 6 or 7 hot chocolates consumed throughout the day.
The fun little photoshoots you do together that he asked for because he wanted to show off his new Mickey Mouse dressing gown. And those little smiles. The smiles that make it all ok and are almost apologetic, and understanding. A knowing smile, telling you that they also know that today wasn't the best, and wasn't what we hoped for, but that it's ok. Because Santa came, and they got presents. And to children that is what matters.
And Boxing Day, which doesn't start off so well but involves cuddles and stories with grandad. And you are again reminded that this is what Christmas is about.
That excuse to get together.
Family, love and time.