MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 🙂
I hope everyone’s having a wonderful time, with all the fun and food and festivities that Christmas brings!
If you’re working to keep services and utilities running, or you’re volunteering to help out those less fortunate e.g. the disabled, elderly, homeless, etc, then thank you so much for your efforts and commitment, as you don’t get as much gratitude as you deserve for it.
And if you’re not having a nice Christmas for whatever reason, then you have my sympathies, and I hope you’re able to find some support or company to help get you through the day. There are lots of options if you need someone to talk to.
For me, this Christmas is hugely significant, as it’s my first proper one as a resident of London. So I wanted to mark it with a special Christmas Q&A , all about how I celebrate and enjoy Christmas. I’ve also made a video to go with it. Everyone reading this is welcome to answer the questions as well, I tag everyone who wants to do it. So I hope you enjoy reading my festive posts, and finding out about how I celebrate Christmas!
Before I get to the questions, I just want to give some background as to why Christmas this year is particularly important to me.
My mother and I moved here just before Christmas last year, in 2016 – and where has the year gone since?! – but everything was rather chaotic then, as you can imagine. Everything was a mess, lots of things were still boxed away, and we didn’t have central heating, a working oven or fridge, or a landline internet connection. So we didn’t bother with any decorations, and had to be very simple with things like food (we did have a microwave and a cooker hob we could use at least!). Our aunt did cook us something for Christmas dinner and brought it round, so we were able to have a nice Christmas meal.
Thankfully this year things are much more settled, and we’ve been able to properly experience Christmas in London, including all the build-up that goes with it. I’ve been out to events and meals, and seen lots of the displays and lights, and we’ve been able to buy decorations and food and so on. And there have been other developments at home, which I can’t go into here, that have marked our first anniversary here very nicely and made it all the more special. It’s laid some good foundations for the year ahead, which again looks set to be very interesting.
In the past, my mother and I have experienced Christmas in London before, but the circumstances were very different. My parents both grew up in the city before they met each other, got married and moved down to the Westcountry. So they always had Christmas in London when they were younger. And we all used to visit my grandparents in London a few times a year during my childhood, including at Christmas, so I regularly had festive fun here back then.
But that was a long time ago, and I don’t remember my childhood holidays in vivid detail. And because we were only here as tourists for a week or two, I never got to experience all the build-up to Christmas in London itself, and I didn’t have the chance to go to many events or engage in any social activities outside of the family.
Most importantly, however, this Christmas is completely different to the ones that my mother and I had years ago, because Dad is no longer with us. It was his passing that caused us to move back to London in the first place. It was a long and sometimes very frustrating 6-year process before we could actually relocate after his death, for a variety of reasons. And that meant we had a few Christmasses where, although they were nice and we treated ourselves as you should, we still had worries and hopes in our minds that were distracting and overshadowed the occasion. So we’ve been through a few Christmasses that were nice, but not fun, if you know what I mean.
Hence the move last year finally gave us the fresh start we absolutely needed. Which means this Christmas is our first opportunity for some time to truly relax and enjoy the festive season. We can now celebrate this new chapter in our life, with no frustrations about the year just gone, and no worries about the year ahead. It’s our happiest and most relaxed Christmas for quite a while.
So on to the Q&A. As I said earlier, anyone is welcome to do this as a tag.
I thought it would be fun to combine their questions into one big list, as there’s a great variety of questions between them, along with a few questions of my own as well. So there are 30 questions in total. Let’s get started!
1. When do you start getting excited for Christmas?
After Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th. Once the fireworks are out of the way, Christmas is the next big occasion to look forward to, and it’s not far away then. Shops really start to push their Christmas products pretty much straight after Halloween (and some will have made a small start even before then). Decorations also start going up around the city, along with the lights ready for their official switch-ons. So you can’t avoid all the reminders about Christmas anyway. And I’m fine with that. It gives you something to look forward to, including all the events and shopping expeditions that you can enjoy in the lead-up to it. it all helps to get you in the mood for it.
2. What do you enjoy most about Christmas?
All of it. Christmas is a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the year, and I always enjoy the food and sweet treats, the songs and music, the lights and displays, the TV and radio programmes, the shows and events, and of course getting together with family and friends above all, some of whom you may not have seen for a while. There’s always so much going on, and it’s completely different to any other time of year. So it’s a time to treasure and enjoy, allowing you to reflect on the year gone by, and refreshing you for the new year head.
3. Do you still have advent calendars?
I used to enjoy them as a child, but hadn’t bothered with them as an adult – until now, because I decided to buy one this Christmas for the first time in ages. I just felt like treating myself to one. So I got Lindt chocolate calendar, which has been really nice. The gold numbers aren’t easy to pick out on the brown packaging, granted, so I’ve had to look quite closely some days to get the right door. but the chocolate’s great, so it’s worth the effort.
There are 4 flavours – orange, mint, sea salt and dark. And behind each door you get 2 wrapped pieces of chocolate, each being a different flavour. That’s what attracted me to it in particular, because it means that my mother and I have been able to share each day, picking out which flavour we each want. You don’t often see calendars that allow you to do that, so it’s great. And I think I’ll get back into the tradition of buying advent calendars each year, they are a nice little treat for the month.
4. Do you send out Christmas cards?
Yes. There’s my aunt and uncle in our immediate family who live nearby, and a few close friends and colleagues of mine that I send cards to. And then there are other distant relatives, such as cousins on my father’s side of the family, along with a couple of people that Mum used to work with many years ago. We never have any other contact with them otherwise, but they always send us cards, so we do likewise in return, as it’s traditional.
5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay at home?
As a child I would often travel with my parents to London a few times a year to see our relatives – usually Easter, summer (around my birthday) and Christmas, so it was always in the school holidays. We would mainly stay at my nan’s house (on my mother’s side of the family), with my aunt and uncle nearby. But during our holiday I would also accompany my father to stay with his parents (my gran and grandad) for a few days elsewhere in the city. I called them Gran and Grandad, while my mum’s mother was called Nan. It kept things distinct that way, so we always knew who we were referring to. I never met my granddad on my mother’s side.
Now, though, I live in London, and I don’t have grandparents to visit any more. It’s just me and my Mum mainly. Our aunt and uncle also live nearby, so we see my aunt in particular every so often. However, I have travelled down to the Westcountry for a weekend this year, to have a Christmas meal with my colleagues and meet an old school friend. So that’s probably going to be my new tradition every year – instead of travelling to London with my parents for 2 weeks, I’ll now be travelling down to Devon by myself for 2 or 3 days. It was a little bit strange doing it that way round for the first time this year, but it is a nice new way of doing things.
6. Do you go to any Christmas parties?
Depends on your definition of party really. If social Christmas meals count, then yes, as I’ve been on 3 of those this year, with East London Vision (at a Turkish restaurant), South East London Vision (at a Wetherspoons), and my workmates (at a Harvester). And the food was really nice in each case. I had a lamb casserole at the Turkish restaurant, and a turkey dinner at the other two. So I came out of each one feeling nicely full, and had enjoyed good conversation and laughs with my friends. They were wonderful festive occasions.
But I’ve not been to any parties where you might get dressed up and play games and things like that with a large group of people. We would have had some kind of party at school each year, sure, but outside of that environment my Christmas was always spent with the family, during our visits to London as I mentioned earlier. We weren’t big party people really. One or two of my cousins, who were about the same age as me, might come round, and we’d hang out for a bit and have a bit of fun. And sometimes I would play games with my relatives, like Uno, Pontoon (aka Blackjack), Trivial Pursuit, etc. But we never had a big formal party or anything like that.
These days I’m still a relative newbie to London of course, still growing my social circle bit by bit, so parties aren’t on my radar anyway, and I haven’t been invited to any. The closest possibility was The Bobs by Thinking Bob, which is a big formal get together by the social group I’m a member of, and they give out awards to some of the members and stuff like that. But I wasn’t able to go on that day anyway, and even if I had been, I wouldn’t have won any awards, and I’m conscious that it would have finished really late, so getting home safely might have been an issue unless I were to leave early.
But I’ve been very happy with the meals I’ve gone to anyway, along with a carol concert I did go to with Thinking Bob. This has already been my most social Christmas for a long time, as I’ve got to hang out with a lot of great people, eating good food and having a good laugh. So if future Christmasses continue in the same vein, I’ll be perfectly happy. But if I get invited to parties in future years, sure, I’d definitely consider going to them. If they’re going to be late ones, then I would just have to ensure I can get home safely afterwards or find somewhere to stay, that’s all.
7. Do you decorate your house?
We’ve been decorating the living room, yes, as that’s where we spend most of our time. And we had to buy everything new, as it’s our first proper Christmas in our new home. So as well as a tree, we’ve put up our Christmas cards, and some tinsel, and banenrs made of a felt-like material, and baubles, and window-cling snowflake stickers. So it’s all looking nicely festive.
I’ve also discovered some delightful things called Command Hooks this year. They’ve probably been around for ages, but I tend to be slow on the curve on many things! Basically, you don’t need to stick pins or nails in the walls, or use something like Blu-tac that leaves a residue behind. Instead, the hooks just use double-sided adhesive strips to stick to the wall, and they’re pretty strong – you can get hooks in a variety of sizes for all sorts of different purposes in different rooms of the house. And to take them off the wall, you just pull down on the stretchy tab at the bottom until the sticky strip is released comes off, and it doesn’t do any damage to the wall. I’m not affiliated or sponsored by the people behind them in any way, they’ve just seemed like a revelation to me, as they’re really useful!
8. When do you put up your Christmas tree?
This year we only got our new tree a couple of weeks before Christmas, so we put it up as soon as we got it. But generally we’ll put up the tree in the first or second week of December. We’d never put it up before December, that feels too early.
9. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
We’ve got a fake one, as they’re much easier to look after and can be reused every year. The tree we’ve got this year is one with fibre optic branches that light up in various pulsing and flashing patterns, along with lovely big stars with bright yellow lights around their edges. it looks really good, we’re very happy with it.
10. What tops your tree?
The top of our tree simply has some of the fibre optic leaves sticking up – there isn’t anything to put a star on or anything like that. So we just get a nice light show at the top of the tree, just like the rest of it. And it looks nice that way.
11. How long do you leave up your decorations for?
When I go back to work in early January it’ll feel like Christmas is done, so we’ll probably start taking them down then. We might leave them up until Twelfth Night, but it’s not essential to do so. They won’t stay up any later than that, certainly – not out of any suspicions, I don’t believe in all that, but just because it’s traditional. But I expect I’ll start taking them down earlier than that.
12. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
No, not really. If it falls on a weekday, I’ll be at work anyway. It’s usually really quiet, but we still have to be open. This year it falls on a weekend, which is handy if we want to go out for a walk, but we never have anything specific planned for the day.
13. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas Morning of course. It hadn’t occurred to me that people might open presents earlier than that, but apparently some people have a tradition of having a small present or two on Christmas Eve, a bit like a starter before the main course I suppose. We never did that though.
14. What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
Probably a video games console or video games when I was a kid, something like that, as I used to play those a lot. Nothing else major springs to mind particularly, but then I don’t remember everything from my childhood clearly. These days my mother and I usually just ask each other what we want, and we get it. My mother’s blind and relies on me to help with her with shopping, whether it be in physical stores or online, so she can’t go out and surprise me anyway. So we just keep it simple and easy, and we’re very happy that way.
15. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving presents?
Giving of course, because you get to see people’s reactions, especially if it’s something they really wanted and/or really like. Receiving presents is cool too of course, but it’s not as essential. The act of giving is more special, as it feels more rewarding.
16. As a kid, what was the one crazy, wacky, extravagant gift you always asked for but never received?
I don’t think I ever asked for anything extravagant to be honest. I was a quiet kid really, so I only ever asked for things that I knew my parents could get and could afford. As I said before, I may have asked for a video games console or a DVD player perhaps, but nothing weird or wacky beyond that.
17. When and how did you learn about Santa Claus?
Quite early on I suspect. I can’t remember exactly when, but it was quite easy to figure out that it was my dad. So I would have been very young probably.
18. Did you take part in school plays at Christmas?
Yes, I was in all of them when I was at school. Though there was one that I almost missed, because my grandad died just beforehand, so I had to travel to London for the funeral. I did get back in time for the play, but I ended up having a very minor role of some sort, instead of the major role I had originally ben rehearsing for.
But apart from that, I had good roles in school plays, either in the band or acting in the play itself. The very first play I remember was called Tarfa And The Trolls. And, despite being quite a shy kid, somehow I had the lead role of Grandfather Tarfa, which I managed to pull off.
In another year we had a Medieval play, where I had to carry the boar’s head into the Medieval banquet, singing a song that had a chorus in Latin. There was another play called Ocean World, which was set in the sea. And there was one about Christmas around the world, consisting of different mini plays about Christmas in different countries.
My favourite of all was probably Stateside Express, which was a musical road trip across America, with songs like Hello Dolly, Three Wheels On My Wagon, Old Man River, and so on. It also had a Can-Can sequence and a Bugsy Malone sequence, and various other fun sketches. It was a really fun and varied play.
And another favourite was a comedy horror musical called Dracula Spectacula, about some kids who had been taken on a school trip to Transylvania, and the trouble they got into. I was a main character in that, and it was really fun, because there was a lot of great humour and fun songs in there.
The only other thing I remember from a school play, for some random reason, is the opening verse to a song. It was a parody of Good King Wenceslas, and went like this:
The premises of Good, King And Wenceslas,
Looked out over Clyst St. Stephen.
Opposite the cafe at the roundabout,
Selling deep-pan pizzas, crisp and even.
So yes, I really enjoyed my school plays. We never did The Nativity, we always did something fun and original and different every single year. So it was always an event to look forward to.
The video I’ve made to go with this post contains a few clips from my school plays if you want to see some examples. They’re old VHS videos filmed from the back of the hall, of course, so the quality’s pretty poor. But they bring back good memories for me.
19. Talk us through your typical Christmas Day.
I’ll have a lie-in to begin with, of course. Then Mum and I will open any presents from our aunt and uncle. As I said earlier, Mum and I will already know what we’ve got each other, we don’t bother wrapping each other’s presents up. In fact, this year’s present for Mum has already been theatre trips that I’ve paid for, so you can’t wrap those up anyway! And Mum’s paid for a Blu-ray drive for my computer. And we’ve managed to sort out one or two things in relation to the house that have been a joint present to ourselves in a way. So we’re very happy.
Then we have our Christmas lunch. And with it, we’ll usually listen to Junior Choice on BBC Radio 2, which I’ll have recorded in the morning. It’s a bit of fun nostalgia really, consisting of lots of songs for children from days gone by e.g. Nellie The Elephant, The Hippopotamus Song, My Brother, Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West), and even an extract from Sparky’s Magic Piano. As it’s a 2-hour show, we’ll listen to it in stages over 2 or 3 days at least – which suits us, as we usually have the same dinner for the same number of days in a row, so it works out nicely.
Many of the songs are from my mum and dad’s youth, but I’m also familiar with many of them as my parents had tapes of such music while I was growing up. So it’s just been our tradition for quite a few years now – not always, but certainly for a few years before Dad passed away, as I remember we used to listen to it with him. The show used to be hosted regularly for a while, and then one edition annually at Christmas, by Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart. After he died, however, other DJ’s have taken over – I think Tony Blackburn did it one year, and this year it’s being hosted by Anneka Rice. It’s lovely that it’s still running, because it’s always very popular.
This playlist by another Youtube user contains a wide variety of songs that get played in the show each year.
After Christmas lunch we usually just have a lazy afternoon. We can’t really go out much here in London that day anyway, because we can’t drive, and the public transport doesn’t run for the day. We could walk to one of the local parks if we wanted to though. But I suspect we’ll just have a lazy afternoon indoors, just sitting down and watching the telly. We’ll have turkey sandwiches for tea, and some cake later on, and then more lazing in front of the TV, drinking and nibbling on treats for the night. And that’s fine. It’s great to be able to have a lazy over-indulgent day like that, when you don’t have to worry about work or any other commitments.
20. What do you eat for Christmas dinner?
Turkey. In the old days we used to get a whole turkey, so Dad and I would get a leg each. Then, after Dad passed away, I’d get one leg one day, and another leg for dinner the next day. But this year we’ve decided to try a turkey crown from Marks & Spencer, which is essentially a big breast of turkey. We got it from their Christmas Food To Order service, by ordering it online and then going to collect it. It’s described on the packaging as:
Bone in stock basted British Oakaham turkey crown with pork, chestnut and thyme stuffing, garnished with maple cured streaky bacon, bay leaves and thyme.
With the turkey we’ll have pigs in blankets of course (sausages wrapped in bacon), along with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, sprouts, carrots, peas, cauliflower, and then turkey gravy over it all. So it’ll be a lovely big dinner.
We also got a couple of other things from the M&S Food To Order service as well. We’ve decided to try a 4 bird roast (turkey breast stuffed with duck, chicken and pheasant breasts), which we’ll have after we’ve eaten the turkey. And we’ve got a big piece of sugar glazed gammon for after that.
Sure, it’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for with M&S. And, for the reasons I explained at the start of this post, we really want to treat ourselves as it’s a very special Christmas for us. We’ve earned it, believe me. And we’re looking forward to eating everything, as it all looks delicious!
21. What’s your favourite thing to eat during the Christmas holidays?
The turkey dinner is obviously a big highlight. And we get through a lot of mince pies – we start buying those as soon as the shops bring them out in November, you can never have too many of those in my opinion! We’ve had them from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S, in varieties such as shortcrust and puff pastry, and some with icing on top, and they’re all nice.
Mum and I aren’t big fans of Christmas puddings or the richly fruited Christmas cakes really. We don’t mind them, but we prefer other things. Mum likes to have a Stollen, for instance. And my tradition since my childhood has been a Tunis cake, which is a madeira sponge with a layer of thick chocolate on top, and marzipan decorations in the middle. They’re quite hard to find in the shops sometimes though. Very few shops do them, and when they do they bring them in quite late, as they only have a short use by date, because the sponge dries out quite quickly I suppose. I’ve found a couple this year though, in M&S and Sainsbury’s, so I’ll be enjoying those this year.
And apart from that, we’ve got plenty of other treats to enjoy. We’ve had a yule log this weekend as our pre-Christmas treat. We’ve got tins of Cadbury’s Roses and Heroes, and a tin of Celebrations too, giving us plenty of sweets to mix together so we have a big variety to pick from over the next couple of weeks. I’ve got some Pringles too, as they’re always addictive. And we’ve got some apples and oranges so we can at say we’ve been a little bit healthy at least!
22. What is your favourite Christmas scent?
Christmas cooking is always a delightful smell, because all the smells wafting out of the kitchen are always nice. But the big thing on the fragrance front for us this year is diffusers, as we’ve decided to get a few to spread around the house. We bought them from Marks & Spencer, as we liked the smell of them in the shop.
Diffusers are basically a glass jar containing a perfume liquid, into which you put special reed sticks. The perfume then gets absorbed up the sticks and evaporates gradually into the air. So it’s a very subtle smell that keeps being generated for quite a while, they last for weeks. We got them instead of candles, because they feel safer to us. Because Mum can’t see, she’s always a bit worried about knocking candles over or brushing against the flame, even if we try to put them out of the way, so diffusers seem a lot safer. And you don’t get any unpleasant smokey smells with them either of course.
So we’ve got 5 scents in all, which all smell really nice:
- Lavender & Chamomile (in the living room, at the rear of the house)
- Pink Peony (in my mother’s bedroom)
- Neroli, Pine and Basil (in the front room)
- Vanilla Bean (in the kitchen)
- Sweet Apple (in my bedroom)
23. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
Die Hard. I know a lot of people don’t think it’s a Christmas movie, but I’m one of many that do, because it is set at Christmas and it’s an amazing action film. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are fun as well – the sequels beyond that aren’t so worth it. And The Muppet Christmas Carol is fun as well, though I haven’t watched it for quite a few years now. But Die Hard’s my top favourite, it’s hard to beat that film.
24. What are your favourite Christmas songs?
My absolute favourite Christmas tracks have to be:
- Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
- Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
- Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens (including his newer version)
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
- Step Into Christmas – Elton John
But I like lots of others too, including (to name just a few):
- Mistress For Christmas – AC/DC
- Walking In The Air – Aled Jones (he didn’t do the version in The Snowman as people often think – that was Peter Auty, but Aled’s version in a Toys ‘R’ Us advert became much more popular when released as a single)
- Cashing In On Christmas – Bad News
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
- A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris De Burgh
- Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
- Mistletoe & Wine – Cliff Richard
- Dream A Dream – Charlotte Church
- What Are We Gonna Get ‘Er Indoors? – Dennis Waterman & George Cole
- Step Into Christmas – Elton John
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Jackson 5
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon
- Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie
- Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Mel Smith & Kim Wilde
- In Dulci Jubilo – Mike Oldfield (we used to dance around the pool table to this in our boarding house at school!)
- Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
- Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
- It’s Christmas Time – Status Quo
- Christmas Bop – T Rex
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- Wombling Merry Christmas – The Wombles
25. What are your favourite Christmas TV programmes?
My tradition these days is Doctor Who, because they always have a Christmas special every year. And this year’s special, being Peter Capaldi’s last episode as the Doctor (meeting his first incarnation), and Steven Moffat’s last episode as showrunner, will be very interesting and should be really cool.
Apart from that, though, I like to watch comedies and have a good laugh. And there are many classic sitcom Christmas specials that I’m always happy to watch again at Christmas, including those by Only Fools And Horses, Father Ted, Blackadder, The Good Life, Porridge, Bottom, Dad’s Army, One Foot In The Grave and Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em, to name a few. I wish they’d repeat the 2Point4 Children ones as well, as they were always enjoyable, with a fun musical number at the end – thankfully I have the first few series on DVD at least. And there are variety shows by The Two Ronnies and Morecambe & Wise that are also fun to watch.
And from modern sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory and Not Going Out also have fun Christmas specials too. Quiz show QI also has a fun Christmas episode every year. And comedians like Michael McIntyre and Al Murray are also doing specials on TV this year. And I like watching stand-up comedy DVDs as well – they tend to come out in late November, so I buy them and save them to watch over Christmas. And away from comedy, I’m really looking forward to the return of Black Mirror on Netflix this year – that will be amazing viewing I’m sure, even if it’s also unnerving!
There will be plenty of other things I watch as well, but those are the sort of things I like to watch over the Christmas period.
26. Do you like snow?
Yes. We had a bit recently in fact, though only for one day. But it was lovely to see, as we hardly ever saw it where we used to live before. I’m hoping it might be a bit more regular in London so we see it a little more often, even if it is only once a year. I wouldn’t want too much of it though, as it’s difficult to go out in then. I don’t have the proper footwear to go out in it now, so I’d slip over far too easily. And even if I cold go out in it, I might not be able to get far if it’s messing up the public transport anyway. But I do love being in a nice warm house and admiring it through the window. And we used to love having snowball fights at school when I was a kid too, on those rare occasions we got it!
27. Do you wear Christmas jumpers?
Yes, as of this year for the first time ever. I’ve never bothered buying them before, but I really wanted to get into the festive spirit as fully as I could this year, so decided to get a couple.
The first one is a novelty jumper by Charles Wilson, which I purchased on Amazon. navy in colour and has black and brown silhouettes of London buildings on the bottom half, such as The Gherkin, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and above that is a white silhouette of Santa and 3 reindeer flying over them. The rest of the jumper is covered in small white stars.
And the other one is an Only Fools And Horses jumper, which I got from the online merchandise store run by the fan club, which they were also selling through Amazon. It’s navy, and has the words “Cushty Christmas” in large yellow letters, above an image of the Trotters’ three-wheel van with a Christmas tree on the roof rack. The rest of the jumper is then covered in a variety of snowflake patterns.
Obviously I was a bit worried as to whether they’d fit properly, or if they’d be scratchy and uncomfortable. But they fit me perfectly and are really soft and comfortable to wear. So I’m really happy with them. I’ve already worn them to the Christmas meals I’ve attended them, and will wear them around the house over Christmas too. And next year I might try and get one or two more to give me even more variety.
28. Have you been to any pantomimes?
As a child I used to go to quite a few with my parents, at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as that was local to us. And we still live near it, so my mum and I went there again this year to rekindle the tradition. This year’s pantomime is Rapunzel, and we went to the audio described performance. And it was really good fun. They had to add Goldilocks And The Three Bears into the storyline to make it work, because Rapunzel alone doesn’t make for much of a pantomime. But it worked. There were songs, jokes and audience participation all the way through, it was delightfully silly, and the children in the theatre were enjoying themselves without being disruptive. So it was very enjoyable. There are other theatres in London that we want to try pantomimes at too, but this was a good start as our first one since moving here.
29. Have you been to any carol concerts?
Yes. I’ve been to one with the social group Thinking Bob this year at The Royal Albert Hall, called Christmas With The Stars, in aid of the blood cancer charity Bloodwise. It’s the first time I’ve been to a carol concert since I was a child, as I know we went to one or two at the Royal Albert Hall back then as well, although I don’t remember it now of course. So I really enjoyed it this year, and you can read all about it in my blog post about the concert.
30. What is your favourite Christmas memory?
School plays are a very fond memory from my childhood, which I’ve already mentioned above. But I also remember my grandad dressing up as Santa Claus. Not just to entertain the family, but also to deliver presents to the children at the local hospital, which was very, very nice of him.
And more recently, of course, the most significant memory for my mother and I is moving to London at Christmas time – both last year with us actually arriving here, and then this year being our first proper, relaxed Christmas here. These are going to be the most memorable Christmasses for us for a while I think, because they’re the most special ones we’ve had for a while.
And that’s it. Thank you very much for reading, I hope you enjoyed that. If you want to answer the questions yourself on your own blog, please feel free to do so. The full list of questions is at the bottom of this post for you to copy and paste.
Thank you again to Just Call Me Elm, Luke Sam Sowden and How Casey Sees It for the questions I took from you. Or feel free to just leave a comment. For instance, let me know how you’re celebrating Christmas. It would be really interesting to hear about it, as everyone does it differently.
And thank you to all of my supporters and followers for a great year. I’ve had a steady increase of people following and subscribing to me on my various social media pages, which is great. It’s been great to have that support while I’ve been settling into London and trying things out. I’m enjoying sharing my experiences with people and answering your questions, and I’m very humbled by how useful it appears to have been for other visually impaired people as well as parents of children with sight loss.
I’ve also had various guest post opportunities and given my first public speech about my disability this year, and there are already more opportunities for guest posts and public talks in the pipeline for next year as well. I’ve got to meet a few people in person (including Fashioneyesta, and a student doing research into museum accessibility, and a journalist), as a direct result of getting involved with the blogging community, which is awesome.
In any case – if you’ve interacted with me in some way this year, then thank you very much. You’ve enabled and supported me to keep generating content for my blog and Youtube channel, and I love interacting with you guys. So your support is genuinely very much appreciated, because I wouldn’t bother doing all this if nobody was interested. Thank you!
My very best wishes to all my followers and supporters for a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year! 🙂
- When do you start getting excited for Christmas?
- What do you enjoy most about Christmas?
- Do you still have advent calendars?
- Do you send out Christmas cards?
- Do you travel at Christmas or stay at home?
- Do you go to any Christmas parties?
- Do you decorate your house?
- When do you put up your Christmas tree?
- Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
- What tops your tree?
- How long do you leave up your decorations for?
- Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
- Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
- What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
- Which do you prefer, giving or receiving presents?
- As a kid, what was the one crazy, wacky, extravagant gift you always asked for, but never received?
- When and how did you learn about Santa Claus?
- Did you take part in school plays at Christmas?
- Talk us through your typical Christmas Day.
- What do you eat for Christmas dinner?
- What’s your favourite thing to eat during the Christmas holidays?
- What is your favourite Christmas scent?
- What are your favourite Christmas movies?
- What are your favourite Christmas songs?
- What are your favourite Christmas TV programmes?
- Do you like snow?
- Do you wear Christmas jumpers?
- Have you been to any pantomimes?
- Have you been to any carol concerts?
- Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?