Well, goodbye 2011, welcome 2012 and a Happy New Year!   I hope it will be a wonderful new year, full of opportunity. 

It is a process, I am sure, that is totally age related but 2011 passed so quickly it barely registered with me.      I found myself arrived at Christmas with absolutely no preparation.  

My state of readiness for this particular seasonal celebration has always fluctuated fairly spectactularly.    I have been triumpantly ready for the coming of Christmas in the past with presents bought and wrapped before October has been and gone.   Alternatively, I have been found painting my dining room on Christmas Eve and putting up the tree on Christmas Day morning.     It is a time of year I have always loved and I am, therefore, amazed at my almost constant inability to see it coming!

You see, I believe in Christmas!   I believe in it as a time for tradition, I believe in it absolutely and, ordinarily, I am overwhelmed with the desire to recreate the nostalgic christmases of my past.    A fools errand you may say and, with hindsight, I suppose it is totally impossible to create such a time of happiness with all the pivitol players gone.    My parents have passed on to the blessed summerlands as have the other major participants of my childhood christmases, aunts, uncles, grandparents.   This year old friends were missing, happily such friends are still alive and kicking,  just many miles away.   

Unable to resurrect the actual Christmas of my past I have always tried to aim at a close proximity of it.    Buying cards, wrapping paper, selecting presents, getting down the baubles, putting up the tree, picking the turkey all these things have helped me to create the feel, the warmth of Christmas past.    It has always been a welcome ghost, the nostaglic embrace of a simpler, happy time.   Sadly, inexplicably, the ghost walked elsewhere this year and was missing from our celebrations.    

Living in Cornwall for the past few Christmases, Lee and I found ourselves living in a community that celebrated Christmas with great gusto.     The village came together to put up the Christmas lights, festooned along the main street and the sea front.  There would be a carol service with mulled wine and mince pies and the lights would be ceremoniously switched on.   Kingsand Cawsand glittered throughout Christmas and the New Year.   

On Christmas Day we would meet our friends in the local pub to wish them seasons greetings over many an excellent pint of Doombar and then make our way home to a late Christmas lunch.    Last year we had goose, locally raised.     

New Year in Kingsand was spent in fancy dress roaming between the various public houses.    There were fireworks and a New Years Day charity swim in Cawsand Bay.   

If I had known in 2010 it would be our last such Christmas on the Rame Peninsula, I would have made more of it.     Silly to look back now, I know, but I loved living in Cornwall and miss it so much, the friends we made, the place, everything about it.

This year Christmas was a quite different, quiet and frugal affair.    We decided against a turkey and had instead a leek, broccoli and cheese tart which really didnt cut the mustard.     New Year involved a bit of a walk and then flopping in front of the television.     It all came and went in a flash.    

I never take my tree down before twelfth night, Mum always said it was unlucky to do so, but now I keep looking at it with growing irritation and wonder when I can finally get it all put away.   It is so unlike me.   This year’s festivities have been swamped by a layer of disappointment.      Perhaps I have grown up at last, grown old even, and the magic of Christmas has finally deserted me.      I do hope not.  

Next year I will try again to find the spirit of Christmas.   I hope the ghost of  christmases past will walk again in friendship and visit us.    Where ever we may be, we will do it properly next year.