My Free Christmas Book for You

peachey xmas

As a coach and the writer of Peachey Letters, I come across many versions of Christmas… There are people who love it and people who loath it.  It can be a time of joy and it can be a time of stress.  It can induce a feeling of nostalgia or indeed one of loss, depending on your point of view.  And like life, how we feel about Christmas is often a combination of many different issues and ingredients…

If you’ve read my book Peachey Letters or this blog before, then you’ll know that I love to celebrate and learn from all aspects of life.  The same is true of Christmas, so I have written a capsule Christmas book to share my celebrations, reflections and conclusions on this festive time of year.  This year, it is my free Christmas gift to you

For most of us December is a busy month, and as a coach my time, alongside all the usual preparations, is so often spent with cherished clients who have booked me in for their Christmas Check-up, where together we plan for the best inside out Christmas, to make the most – internally (emotionally) and externally (practically) out of the end of one year and the start of a new one.  This year too, for everyone I am in touch with, I am sharing the gifts of my writing and learning to entertain you, make you think and to deepen the Christmas experience in my newly finished capsule book.

This latest ebook – A Peachey Christmas is a collection of (previously published) blogs along with new material, gathered into one, gorgeous Christmas capsule…  All you need to do to claim your own free electronic copy is to fill out a few details here and it will wing its’ way back to you (as a .pdf).

This capsule book comes as a electronic book, which you can print off or read on your favourite device to your heart’s content.  Whereas my published book Peachey Letters – comes in paperback and kindle too, so you know it’s an ideal Christmas gift, with all its reflections on life – in all its’ gore and glory.  Just in case you weren’t aware – Peachey Letters has been featured in Psychologies magazine and The Lady, along with numerous other publications and websites; and it has also received reams of positive feedback from across the globe.  And if you don’t have your own copy yet or would like some more copies as gifts, you can get them here on my website, where I can even personalise and sign them for you.

And, as with all good books, you can also order them in bookshops and buy them on Amazon (or any global book site) in both Kindle and in paperback.

So here is my gift and there was my plug, and so it just remains for me to wish you true Christmas Spirit, in all that you do and be.

With warmest mistletoe wishes and kisses,
Sandra
Sandra Peachey
Coach & Author

LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching
Email:  sandra@sandrapeachey.co.uk
Web:  www.sandrapeachey.co.uk

~ Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor
~ International Book Awards Finalist 2015, Women’s Issues Category
~ Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award 2015
~ Shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, nominated in 2012 & 2013
~ Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award 2013

Letter to Christmas Food

My Mince PiesMy own imperfectly delicious mince pies…

Dearest One

It is time now to explore and exonerate you, to devour and venerate you, to eat you up, digest you down, and inwardly ingest and digress on all that you are to me…

Christmas food is feast and I can feast upon these words too, calorie free, yet still savoured deliciously and selfishly, gobbled up again and again, and all this with no widening girth, no indigestion or regret, a word diet eaten and repeated in the best possible way…

Food, when you listen to it, tells stories… and Christmas food harks us back to history, hyperlinked to a past, long ago forgotten, although eaten and excreted by our own ancestors.

Pick over archaeological sites and find remnants of millennia old meals of bones and seeds and cooking pots. And now pick up your fork and eat a Christmas meal today to ingest a more recent history, albeit more quietly and neatly.

In my Westernised world at this time of year I am warmed through by winter spices in pies, puddings and mulled wine. They are the devices that have travelled down time and along trade routes, carried on beasts of burden through deserts and sent in ships across seas to enliven the dull winter diet of my pale historical counterparts here on this island land.

Each pie, each pudding, and each component on my Christmas plate has a history, a fascinating story of currency and enrichment underlying the aroma and flavour which has been tasted by so many, through so much darkened winter time.

Then we marry this history with our own recent traditions, of coming together to celebrate Christ’s birth and the ensuing mercantile madness of gifting and wrapping and eating to excess, so that we fall in to a snoring afternoon sleep after lunch on the 25th of December, full as we are, of thousands of Christmas calories.

And we have our social and cultural traditions and create our own intimate ones too… I make mince pies and snowballs to prepare for the big day, and then eat ham (cooked in cider on Christmas eve) along with my turkey on my Christmas plate. There is then a long pause of several hours before Christmas pudding is eaten. Then what little room is left in my stomach later that same night, is filled with tinned salmon and cheese. It is the comforting ritual of my Groundhog Christmas, to be repeated without erring or swaying from the pre-destined foodie plot of many previous eating years.

Before we get to feasting, we must literally prepare and over many years I have learned to do this slowly, languorously and easily, completing each component in turn, relishing the gorging gratification to come, by setting out my laden larder in advance. Mince pies are made then, stuffing done now, things bought in readiness and stored in order, all components waiting for the blazing heat of an oven for their moment of gourmet glory when they are all bought together to celebrate and complete the ritual on the plate.

So Christmas food to me is a blandishment as well as nourishment; it is a sign of love, and lore, it is history and culture. It is a wanted necessity, as well as a glorious luxury. So there it is, as always with me, that strange dichotomy of love and difficulty. Because my friend, you know that I have a complicated relationship with you, as I do with just about everything in my life.

And there I was a few nights ago, quietly cursing you… You see I was up to my elbows in a foodie fuddle, flinging flour around the kitchen in the name of creating the most perfect mince pies. Blithely tying on my apron and feigning Domestic Goddessery in my Christmas kitchen, it was instead, all mess and stickiness…

But I persevered: I experimented, added, stirred, chopped and kneaded. I rolled, cut, then filled, and finally there was the tenderly triumphal moment of committing my precious labours to the waiting oven.

They weren’t perfect those particular pies, but oh my goodness, they were delicious. Friends had pie-gasms whilst consuming them and went silent for seconds of ingestment and wonder; whilst I on the other hand, experienced the smuggery of creation, of earth mother provisioning and the satisfaction of an empty plate, with a just few forlorn crumbs left as the legacy of pies past.

I love Christmas cooking and have my big day down to a tee, tying together all my provisions and preparations onto one plate of perfection, served with relish and a flourish and on the same old Christmas crockery that we air for one day every single year.

And then I pay the price with indigestion and tightened clothes and extra winter fatted weight. It’s not just about the Big Day, but the Christmas build up, with chocolates never more than 2 feet away from reach and Christmas dinners, lunches and buffets to be feasted on and quietly, farted out…

You would think that after all my time on this planet, with all those Christmases under my gut bending belt, that I would remember; yes, you would think that my stomach would remind my brain that such fullness is disastrous, yet in my stomach also lies my heart, so the stomach says nothing; it just senses survival and suggests I keep eating and savouring and so simply stores all the nourishment as fat for a long winter famine that will probably never arrive.

So as my gastronomic voyage through Christmas Food comes slowly to an end, and as I boast of plenty and excess, I now want to give thanks for all that I have, which is in every way so much, when I appreciate that there are many who have so little. So I give some food away too, so that other humans and animals may also have a feasting festive Christmas, in what ever place they may be in head, land or heart.

For food, be it Christmas or of any other sort, is love to me and love is always meant to be shared.

With love and burps…

Sandra xXx

PS: As a Christmas Gift, I’m sharing the gifts of my writing and learning to entertain you, make you think and to deepen the Christmas experience in my capsule ebook. A Peachey Christmas is a collection of (previously published) blogs along with new material, gathered into one, gorgeous Christmas capsule…  All you need to do to claim your free electronic copy is to fill out a few details here and then it will wing its’ way back to you.

Letter to Christmas Commercialism

Xmas moneyDear CC

It all starts in September, when friends start saying that they have done all their Christmas shopping already…

And then I start spotting mince pies on supermarket shelves…

Next come the TV adverts… between every programme I am haplessly watching – surely and suddenly I am bombarded with images of happy families sitting at tables heaped with festive fare. There are always crowds of them, but even so, how could they possibly eat their way through all that food?

Also in TV land there are the glamorous women sparkly clad in gorgeous gowns and the handsome men in dinner jackets, unwrapping perfect presents or clinking champagne filled glasses in castles, or suburban semis – with snow on the lawn and privet hedges…

In between the adverts it feels like there is an endless Christmas cavalcade of American made for TV Festive movies, with added smoltz and a cachè of mistletoe kisses; all back lit by snow, instead of sunsets, for the happy protagonists to walk off into…

In the outside world, the shops are playing Christmas hits as I wander around the aisles, skirting round the huge Christmas Tree by the door and trying to ignore the vast tins full of biscuits and chocolates calling to me softly from the shelves. Then there are all the gift sets – turning ordinary every day items into the boxed and cellophaned extraordinary…

It isn’t even December yet and still celebrities start flicking on switches that illuminate town centres with wattage and bright bulbs, flashing loud lights at me to heighten my Christmas consciousness.

I visit my favourite restaurants and suddenly turkey is on the menu and the prices have doubled. I try buy to a drink at the bar and Christmas people heave and jostle in order to fill themselves with Christmas spirit/s and get in my way.

It’s CHRISTMAS!!! Except that it isn’t… Not yet any way… Around about early November I always have a comic concern that my Christmas spirit will be worn out by mid December. This means that in my house, the tree will not go up and decorations cannot be hung until the week before the 25th, and then must be religiously un-decked on Twelfth Night.

And as much as I love shopping, love presents (giving and receiving), love parties and feasting and all that a merry mercantile Christmas entails, I’m still not sure how I feel about the constant and cunning commercialisation of it all…

For Christmas is actually a religious declaration that for Christians, our saviour – God’s own son, was born of man, in a stable. A stable with a bright star above, illuminating the camel tracks of the wise men, travelling towards Bethlehem, there to venerate the Messiah.

The Messiah, then a baby, who became the man who preached and created miracles and is known to us through the New Testament and contemporary historical accounts. Jesus who was born a Jew and so from Judaism a separatist group created Christianity, an entity which changed and ended the lives of millions upon millions of people.

Christmas was and is the celebration of Christ’s Mass, replacing a previously pagan rite of passage – a celebration to mark the end of the cold dark nights of winter, and the slow, Spring lengthening of day light hours, with its’ re-awakening of nature’s bounty.  This ritual, during those ancient druid times, was a feast to forget the frozen famine.

The Christmas we westerners experience now, in our corners of the round globe, with its’ trees, presents and mulled wine ambience, started forming its self in relatively recent history – being just a few hundred years old. From Christ Mass it morphed in to ‘Merry Christmas’ after two millennia of worship and reverence. In fact, for so many, Easter was and is, a more important celebration – the resurrection of Christ, rather than his birth.

So now I am experiencing a Commercial Christmas – an experience which I simultaneously relish and reject. And when I think of candle lit Christmases, with a chorus of carolling, accompanied by candy and cake, somehow cold, hard cash seems at odds with the sentiment of peace, love and good will to all men (women and children).

At the root of it all is a deep down, inherent discomfort of buying and so it follows, with selling. As a business woman I choose to sell to live and I have had to learn that selling services is a good thing. I couldn’t pay the bills with my coaching and professional support if I gave it away for free. And because I am a creature of constant contradiction, at times I find this joyful and times I find it difficult.

So it feels like Christmas has the same inherent contradiction – Christian versus commercial… So I admit that to myself and by doing so turn it in to a simple fact, and a choice, rather than a concern.

And you know this is the world that I both live in and have had a hand in creating… For years I have shopped and wrapped and watched and feasted and carolled. And still now I do all these things… to a degree; yet recently I find that I have scaled down and pared back… I don’t put pressure on myself to conform. Rather I confirm and affirm what Christmas is to me and for me.

It is a time to connect – I love how Christmas brings families together from streets or continents apart and means that I catch up with friends near and far, by touch or by Christmas card.

I like feasting and socialising and believe in marking time and occasion, so Christmas is a perfect concentration of love, laughter and celebration for me.

I have had a life time of being a Material Girl, who has loved her stuff and populated her life with things. I love giving and receiving too and find – slowly and naturally, that I am now more about giving my time and energy, rather than a thing – beautifully wrapped and soon forgotten about…

And after all the Merry Christmas madness, for me – it is time to slow down, to rest and relax for a while. Time to contemplate a year in my life and all it has bought me and what I have learnt from it. And then it will be time to welcome in a New Year – to contemplate, to plan, to prioritise and then dream through the pregnant possibilities of the months to come.

So, after all the shopping and socialising, it will be time to be slow, to both step into and sleep through my Christmas; this being partly Christian, partly commercial and all me.

And so, Commercial Christmas, farewell…

Yours (maybe)

       Sandra

PS: This year, as a Christmas Gift, I’m sharing the gifts of my writing and learning to entertain you, make you think and to deepen the Christmas experience in my capsule ebook. A Peachey Christmas is a collection of (previously published) blogs along with new material, gathered into one, gorgeous Christmas capsule…  All you need to do to claim your free electronic copy is to fill out a few details here and then it will wing its’ way back to you.

PPS: And here is the perfect Christmas irony – I am now being unashamedly Commercial – as Christmas comes round and you are thinking of a gorgeous gift, a collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together, along with new material, in book form.  It makes the perfect present, for you, family and friends… You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), and from all good book websites around the world…

Letter to Christmas ‘Let Down’

Xmas broken

Dear Fiend

This I remember:
It was Christmas day. I was seven or so. And I was curled up in a wet self pitying ball, upstairs on the bed, crying my girlish heart out.

My mother was being mean. She was angry because I wouldn’t eat the food she had made for Christmas dinner. I was a fussy eater and didn’t like most of the things on my plate…

So I was shouted at and sent away from the table with the things I actually wanted – the fizzy pop and the Christmas crackers and cake. My presents were taken off me. I was smacked and sent upstairs. Mean… Horrible… Not fair!

I was crying because Mummies are not meant to be mean on Christmas Day. Not that any one had ever told me that, but to my seven year old mind, she had definitely broken a real and sacrosanct rule… The same rule that applies on birthdays and other such high days and holidays. It seems that I have always had a sense of occasion, that I came into this world with my own ready little rule book. And now that book had red ink and tears all over it…

How strange that I can remember nothing else about that day, just me, crying alone – my memory now fixated on the anguished unfairness of it all, rather than the presents or what was on TV, or what I was wearing, or where my father and brother were.

I know that I was sent to my room, but instead went to my father’s bedroom, to cry alone on his bed, covered in his books and newspapers and now with me. Clearly my mother was no respecter of any rule book – for she had moved out of that bed long ago, too. Mean! Instead I had to share a room with her and since I hated her right then, and it was the only small rebellion I could wreak, I snuck into dad’s place instead.

So I had already created, expected and anticipated my Christmas Day… A day of gifts, of playing, of chocolate and of unalloyed seasonal happiness. Yet here I was, alone and sobbing salty tears. All my rules had been broken, stamped on, repudiated…

And my memory funnels in on that scene… Takes the plain pain and rolls it around, spiralling it into a blur of pity, anger and loathing. A memory of Christmas Past, hardly a happy yule tide Christmas card scene of carolling, chocolately warmth and wonder…

My mother never was a great respecter of my unspoken seasonal rules. At times it felt like she was on a mission to destroy and stamp out the seasonal glow, forgetting all about goodwill to all men, women and especially children… And following Christmas, I remember how New Years Eve was always marked by my parents, with a flaming, screaming row; which I listened to, sitting it out on the stairs and which I always blame, blame, blamed my mother for…

Now I see how the ball of expectation and emotion that is created around Christmas can explode like a broken bauble, sending white hot shards outwards like mis-directed fireworks, or indeed implode inwards, passing sharp shards of depression and grief into hearts, fed by the bonfires of what should and could be a special tide marked time. An anticipated seasonal glow, turned inside out to saturnal, pagan darkness.  And my parents, especially my mother, had no other known way of expressing the stress, of coping, of changing…

Suddenly I sit back from this fogged, festive focus and take note of what is going on with me…

Just lately… I have been tired and busy and changing the direction of my life… I have had an imagination of what Christmas is meant to be for me and how it will absolutely fail to add up to that equated expectation. So I dive into the depths of a warm, sludgey, familiar pit of self pity.  Then I swim around in its’ treacly waters, sometimes immersing myself deep down into it and then choking in its’ cloudy depths, and often grabbing hold of any one around me and trying to pull them in.  Or instead, scrabbling desperately back up the smooth sides, all on my own…

But then the light comes to me and I see a ladder – the way out of my woman sized bowl of pity soup, and suddenly I climb upwards, swiftly and smoothly; then once up and over the rim, I start to focus differently…

I see this all the time, with friends who dread this time of year and all the effort it involves. All the choosing, wrapping, cooking, visiting and social compliance. I see it with clients who have associations of loved ones lost, and the feeling multiplied by having to relive the seasonal associations of the original trauma.

And I see me – since the tired, dark part of my brain tells me I lack and I want and there is a dearth of all that is dear to me.

But that doesn’t add up. I have so much. I live a crazily amazing life. I admit that it is not exactly where I want it to be right now, but so what?! My brain had blinded me to the actual brightness of my life and led me back into my habitual pattern of woe.

So I repeat to myself the litany of love that I have learnt – to choose to see the light, even when I can’t feel it. To explore the facets and features of what I have and who I am. To celebrate what I done, every step I have taken, every word I have uttered – good, bad or indifferent. To be grateful for everything that has bought me to this time and place – yes, grateful for everything.

And so too it follows that I can create my own Christmas – to revel in it, and plan for it to Santa suit me. And in suiting me – being happy and fulfilled – I get to share the true glowing spirit of Christmas, and be at my simple best and show the shine to those around me too.

So then I remember who I really am and what I have really got, and then too, I can remember who I was, at another past point in time…

This means that I can turn the direction of fate and recollection and re-spin it into something new for the me of now, since the fussy childhood eater that hated her food and got into trouble with her mother, loves Christmas feasts – loves preparing, sharing and eating them.  So I am in no longer ‘in trouble’ with the mother that isn’t here any more – to shout or to smile…

As I started with a childhood Christmas memory, so shall I end my letter on one too…

I was five years old…  It was the only Christmas Day I can remember, in all my life, where snow lay on the ground…

The family walked to church to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the spectacle of the newly fallen snow… My elder and longer legged brother strode ahead on the urban pavements of our early life, whilst I ran in fast, small steps, trying vainly to catch up with him, and knowing too that my parents were safely in sight behind me.

In the snow I could clearly see tracks and decided that they were made by Santa Claus and his reindeer. I had on my smartest dress and my only coat and crunched through the sparkling morning snow in my wellington boots. Inside the church, with its’ festive flowers and organ music, I sang and prayed along with the Barbie doll that Santa had bought me only that morning. My beautiful, well dressed companion was enjoying all my attention as I held her proudly in front of me. When we sat to listen to the sermon, I folded her limbs neatly onto my lap, in to a right angle of complicity. And later when we got home, the beautiful purple shoes and neat little handbag that adorned her slim, blonde Barbie self, would soon be lost, along with the happy memory of that day.

Lost and now re-found – my newest recalled old memory. And with a happier, lighter heart, I choose that memory, the shining spirit of Christmas past, rather than its’ darker, shadier ghosts…

It is time now to expect and accept my Christmas, so that from ‘Let Down’, I ‘let go’ instead – to a cliché of love, life and of course, Christmas…

With Mistletoe kisses, from

       Sandra

A forgetful, remembering believer… xXx

PS: As Christmas comes round and you are thinking of a gorgeous gift, a collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together, along with with new material, in book form.  It makes the perfect present, for you, family and friends… You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), and from all good book websites around the world…

Letter to Christmas Malady

Xmas Heart Bauble

Dear Christmas Malady

So we here we are and as I write this I have a pounding headache, I’m oh so tired and my muscles ache… Basically I’m suffering from a seasonal condition called C.A.D… Christmas Affective Disorder…

Every where I go, I meet people who are similarly afflicted – sniffing and croaking and bravely battling against Christmas maladies, afflictions, conditions, illnesses, or what ever label you choose to stick on them…

So this is Sickmas and what have we done to deserve this disease?  Why is this when now should be the time to rest and rejoice and yet our bodies rebel and implode instead?

So many Christmases I have spent with a box of tissues by my elbow, with antibiotics, paracetamol and a ready cupboard full of medicines, that I wonder what provokes this, and why it is such a part of the common Christmas experience of so many fellow sufferers..?

Could it be the mystery of the change of season?  Winter comes in, bringing chill and ice and fog… does it permeate the bodies of creatures – even human ones, who should slow down and find a form of hibernation, instead of speeding and shopping and labouring and living too hard for the time of year?

Without realising it, thinking we are modern and hardy and masters of the planet, we are still prone to the time of year… so as the seasons slow, so should we too??  In many ways we do… I have endless conversations with female friends about how the cold and dark inspire us to stay indoors more; to love the cosiness of winter clothes – to retreat to our caves until the spring sunshine beckons us outdoors again.

And it is as if we are attacked with illnesses – the viruses and germs coercing with nature to force us to slow down and lie down, swaddled in blankets – to take seasonal care of ourselves.  It is as if our bodies allow the onslaught so that we store and nurture our energy for the new year to come.

Yet here is the thing… Christmas for so many of us means to speed up, to run around, to work at playing… To travel; to shovel food and drink of Christmas excess into our bodies… To please, to chatter, to try, to cook, to wrap, to run, to share, to please…

And ‘to please’ turns to disease… Otherwise known as dis-ease – an unbalance, a causal effect wreaked on our systems, as we humans ignore nature’s balance.  Yet as earth’s children and creatures we must survive – we cannot stop completely, we must keep the wheels of the world turning and feed the body; and so in our 20th Century brains, we would not reckon on being slaves to the rhythms of season and solstice.

Yet our ancestors knew.  Our pagan parents knew when the solstice turned the tide towards longer and lighter days; and this feasting time began back then – not as the Mass of Christ, but a feast of celebration for the end of the dark winter era; of moving back towards the light, of quickening and growth and the start of a new cycle of seasons…

And our bodies still have this history imprinted in them – we respond to moon and weather – whether consciously or not, and so Sickmas is a reminder of this natural fact.

And could Christmas, itself, make us sick??  Could it be that all this expectation and energy expended into a seasonal and universal mass celebration turns in on itself and attacks us when we are wintered down?

Or is it simply that we know that there is a ‘slow’ (time) coming, that we can be ill and therefore still, and so let the latent stress and illness that has been lurking and kept at bay by busyness, creep out into the open, presenting itself to be healed and cosseted and given its’ due attention?

I believe that it is all of these things and that the knowing or not, probably does not make an iota of difference, quite literally to how we feel.  That is the mystery of malady…

So the Solstice is turning now and as the lengthening day light calls us to a new year, let’s choose comfort and healing and cosiness, choose them over the rat race and speed and effort and electric light.

And in accepting and surrendering to this so called seasonal ‘suffering’, most of all, let’s accept ourselves and not dwell with the devil of disease, but simply be, and to simply let our hearts accept the message that the season and our bodies are telling us… that it is time to slow and to heal and most of all to love… as well as to celebrate.

Yours with sweet surrender

       Sandra

PS: To admit to a Christmas Cliché – the published version of my Peachey Letters will  make you feel better and be a perfect present too, ALL year round… A collection of the Letters from this blog have been gathered together, along with new material, into book form.  It makes the perfect present, for you, family and friends… You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), and from all good book websites around the world…

Letter to December

Dear December

Here you are… the clock and the calendar have ticked and clicked around to you yet again…

My December is the feeling of Christmas coming – a slow and relentlessly gorgeous anticipation of celebration, of receiving and of feasting.  Then there is the savoured future joy of family and friends coming together; of anticipated gifting and unwelcomed bloating.

That is December in my head and heart; and then there is the external twelfth month landscape too.  Sunlight and chill combine to crisp refreshment of the senses – the cold stinging us into action, so we must dance and cush through our outdoor chores to return as quickly as we can to the internal warmth and comfort of anti-cold, back to our own warm and cosy indoor comforts.

December’s outdoor world is alternatively gloomy and sunny.  I dive into the lush, sunny, crisply cold days. These days are meant for walking, and I devour them with all my senses – frost under foot, slickly wet autumnal leaves carpeting the ground, a lack of smell sense, bare and beautiful trees; ice skimming and then thickening the surfaces of puddles and ponds, widening as the thermometer dips…

These are my December days and as we troll down to the end of the year, the dark nights deepen and thicken and deprive us of daylight.  On past winter days I have risen in the dark, worked in caves of chores and returned back to my lair, hidden in the same darkness – a kind of celestial vampire, never seeing, and so starved of the sun.

Then somehow we contrive to bring the outside be-wintered December into our interiors.  Chopping down and dragging in fir trees or counterfeiting them with tinsel or plastic representations of their tree selves.  Then we spray and scatter pretended snow and bring in boughs of holly and mistletoe – the forgotten ghosts of our pagan past.

So my indoor world transforms to Christmas land with decorations collected over decades and added into every single year.  Boxes brought down from the dark attic, waiting their turn, and when opened, bringing with them joyous shocks of remembrance – a year of Christmas stored in the glistening darkness, germinated and then liberated to live in the Christmas light for a few shiny, glamorous weeks.  Then the cards trickle in and are displayed – from colleagues, cohorts and friends; from long lost cousins and nearly long lost friends of decades gone.

I love the preparations… I take and make them languorously and slowly, relishing the joy of Christmas transformation, dining and dancing, of presents wrapped to be deliciously unwrapped.  To choose the present that will delight the gifted one, that will make them pause and smile.  There are Christmas decisions to be made – whether to take the time trodden path of tradition or to spice it up with modernity; then again to take and shake all the elements together to make it MY chosen Christmas, a blend of me and of history?

My December is flavoured with gluttony and gastronomy.  Spices tingle and warm through mulled wine, mince pies and other wintery delicacies.  Chocolates rustle, jostle and abound.  Spirits chink in glasses and some seem reserved solely for Chringle tide – port and advocaat stay firmly at the back of my drunken cupboard for 11 months of the year, and then in December are opened, poured and appreciated in their own spiritual season.

December is winter through and through.  The distinct and distant possibility of snow can transform our outdoor world and seize up the systems of transport and safety – slipping us up, or blanketing our dull world with white ethereal beauty.

December is light and shade.  A tingled anticipation or a mangled realisation of misplaced expectation.  Expectation or negative association can be heavy and brutal, so consciously choose delicious anticipation and feel and fly through your own December.

So December is a choice, a feeling, a flux of emotions.  Choose wisely and craft your Christmas to you.  For all that your December is, I wish you joy of it, to love and revel in the now of it.

So dream your December, deem your December; live it and love it.

And so Dear December, another end here begins…

Yours, again and again

            Sandra x

PS: All the letters published before this one, have now – with added material, been turned into a book, which you can buy just about any where in the world. With new and remembered material, they come together to show me and you, that life is worth living, loving and celebrating… It has been featured in the national press and received amazing reviews… Buy it in Paperback from any well known book site or in Kindle on Amazon