At this time of year, my mind always turns nostalgic for my Christmas Past.

I think this was when my life was simpler, then there was a move then a large middle bit and I then jump to Christmas Present and life has become, once again, simpler, more from my choice rather than accident.

Early life and now life are different, yet very similar. Let me explain.

Pre 1977 from our move to England from Scotland, Christmas honestly was magic. Mum's little marzipan fruits (orange with pits and a clove on top), apple and banana. Dad and I only liked them. Satsumas and walnuts in a real stocking – oh the excitement. The smell of Scotch tape which was always used on presents. The little blue cottage with the frosted sparkling roof that my brother and I would fight over to put up on the tree. The tree going up in the lounge on 1st December. Greg Lake (I Believe in Father Christmas). The excitement of the advent calendar. And drum roll for my favourite bit... going to Grandpa and Nana's and counting the Christmas trees on the way back in the back of the car.

Jump to Christmas Present. This year I am going to make marzipan fruits and I will probably do them at my art group's annual Christmas lunch instead of the cake I iced last year (still great fun with a Christmas "snow dog" on top). We are getting a real tree again as we have done as it is the place for Christmas trees! I love to sing carols so I try and find local events to go to. I'm trying to get tickets for the local panto. I watch Kirsty's Handmade Christmas. I love to read The Willows at Christmas and watch certain Christmas films and watch old Top of the Pops where they show classic tunes (not a Mariah Carey in sight!!) I go to lots of wee church and local craft fairs as opposed to the advertised commercial ones to do the bottle stalls and buy bits. I craft my own wreaths. I scout the charity shops for presents. I will put up the same decorations (rotate them as there are so many... well over 100!) and put up the rest of the bits in turn. I will decorate the top of the fireplace. Two of the Christmas lunches I am going to (art and writing) will be our own affairs where we bring our own food and make our own entertainment. On the day itself there is only three of us – two adults and a dog. There will be a Christmas walk on the beach.

Yet I look at all these perfect TV adverts where there is a large group of all the generations and somehow I feel a bit like mine falls short although I know it's perfect for us. It's just that you feel like you 'ought' to be doing things a certain way but reality is that some family and friends are 500 miles away. We made this decision for a simpler way of life. It feels like salvation. I'd love to know about your celebrations...

A Moodscope member.

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