Christmas confuses me these days. When I was a kid it was pretty simple: the grown-ups were kind of a by-product of Christmas. My Great Aunty would appear, and would graciously receive her packet of American Tan tights and her box of jellied and sugared orange and lemon segments whilst handing out Christmas cards to her adoring relatives. The actual experience of Christmas for the young McLeod was thus: wake up early, get extremely excited, get a present, give a present, eat a big lunch, watch the grown-ups fall asleep in front of the afternoon movie, go to bed. Simples.
These days, given my adult status as a wife and mother, the expectations seem to have changed. We get petitions from July onwards asking us about what we might be planning to do for December. The answer is normally a fudge: we don’t know, we’re too busy to tell, can we tell you in October? I don’t really understand why it’s such an important thing. When I was a child we always spent Christmas at our house, why are we expected to travel anywhere else to celebrate it?
If Christmas stands for family, for love, for being peaceful, for being generous, then why do we only recognise this on one day of the year? Why can’t we do this every single day of the year? In the words of Wizard, I wish it could be Christmas every day. Then the pressure would be off. Well, it would be off of me, at least. What I really want to do is bring my own ideas and traditions to the winter festival. I would like to make memories for my daughter that are for her and for my husband and for me, the way that I remember my Christmasses then. Special things. I want to make something special, and something private that is only for the three of us. I struggle with that because at the same time I don’t want to disappoint others who hope to relive the Christmasses of their pasts through us. I just don’t know how to combine the two.
So picture the scene: yesterday morning, La Gidg, in between demanding yoghurt and watching Tiny Pops, came across a photo of Charley Crooks. She knows about Charley as I took off last week and took some portraits of him and his mum to highlight his medical situation and try to enlist some extra support to get him over to GOSH in London. ‘Mummy’, yes baby, ‘I want to raise money for this little boy’, really baby? (she’s never met Charley, he’s three years old, and she is six, they’re not really contemporaries). ‘Yes mummy, how can I do that?’ My heart was breaking as my amazing little girl let these pearls drop, and at the same time, my mind was reeling: how could we make it happen? Sponsored silences and sponsored karaokes were discounted as impractical, and then we fell upon a solution: a kid triathalon. So look out for a blonde bombshell walking from Andratx to Port Andratx, swimming ten lengths of the Olympic pool and then scootering back to the Port. She’s on the hunt for your money, and she’s on a mission. So there was the generous, wholehearted spirit of Christmas: the childlike, beautiful, innocent, hopeful spirit that I’d been missing, And, she was there, in front of me, all along. Really, in the heart of a child it is Christmas every day.
If you want to support Charley then please visit www.supportcharley.com and get involved. Thanks.