This is a very different post today from my usual book reviews. A personal post about celebrating the first Christmas without my dad. When I was 16 dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a form of blood cancer). Our world was rocked. But dad was amazing and out did every prediction he was ever given. In April of this year, almost 19 years after that first diagnosis, dad passed away peacefully at home.
The firsts are hard and some are harder than others. They are also different for us all, my mum, my brother and I. But my hardest will be Christmas, Dad and I were mad about Christmas. I didn’t appreciate, until this year, just how many traditions we have that have been started by my Dad and I (usually in the form of a competition!). I’m going to share them with you in this post.
Oh yes, around September it would start. Dad and I would be sat at the kitchen table and a look would pass between us. ‘Shall we check the decs?’ Usually followed by mum telling us it was too early. Did that stop us?! NOPE, things only snowballed from there
The Coke Advert
This was huge!! When I moved out a competition started. Who ever saw the coke advert first, the proper one – you know the one I mean, won a bar of chocolate of their choosing. I was really good at this one, I watch ALOT of telly. The music would start and the shout of ‘PHONE, PHONE GET ME THE PHONE’ would go up. It didn’t matter where I was or who’s house I was in. I have hurdled sofa’s in my desperation to get to a phone in case dad had seen it at the same time. Three years ago I woke my sleeping child shouting for the phone, it was worth it, I won.
Dad was at a dinner party one year and heard the music start, main course be dammed he was getting in there in first. He won, I was gutted. Five years on the trot I won, but last year dad was the one to see it and a bar of crunchy was requested. I smiled when I saw it this year and I went and bought a crunchy – it’s what he would have wanted.
Yep another competition, this started innocently enough, who could get the Christmas music on earliest on December 1st. What could possibly go wrong? Well let me tell you, how early do want to be woken with Noddy Holder shouting ‘It’s Christmas’? Apparently not that early. Things also ramped up a gear and simply playing music was not enough. The radio dedication on our local station is up there as one of the best, however, the car could not be surpassed.
I was living near Bristol at the time and had decided that playing music down the phone was no longer an option. I purchased a tarp, decorated it with glitter glue and baubles and on the 30th November, my then boyfriend and I drove to my parents house under the cover of darkness. We lived 1hr and 15mins away at the time. However when we turned up, my parents were still awake! That never happens, unbeknown to me, my brother had been at a concert. We had to hide, hoping the neighbours wouldn’t call the police until the lights finally went out. The tarp was attached to my dads car and we drove back to Bristol. I would have dearly loved to see my dads face when he walked out the following morning.
We called a halt to it that year and starting giving a little gift on December 1st. Something I continue to do with my children, it’s a lovely way to kick of December.
We love a good Panto, every year my parents would take us to Birmingham to see the performance. It’s such a fabulous thing to do, they took my son to his first one four years ago. He has been going every year since and this year will be my daughters first year.
I have quite possibly saved the best till last. We do Christmas and that means outfits. There have been all sorts over the years. I worked in a Santa’s grotto for four years and would drive home Christmas Eve dressed in my outfit. There having been matching PJ’s, family onsies, Christmas jumpers – we’ve done the lot. Two years ago though dad won Christmas. He found an Elf Onsie and on Christmas Eve my mum and dad arrived at my house dress like this (see photo)! Brilliant, just brilliant. I may have a little something stashed ready for this year.
Christmas was an amazing time in our house, we had so much fun. There was always a game being pulled out, a deck of cards being found and the boxing day puzzle. I’m rubbish at puzzles, I always snuck off with the last piece so I could complete the puzzle. One year I took it home with me and posted it back! I intend to carry on these traditions with my kids (maybe not the puzzle) and I hope that when they are grown up with homes of their own and possibly kids, they will look back and think ‘our Christmas’ were amazing.’ That will be because of their Grandad and his unfailing Christmas spirit.
Happy Christmas Dad xxx