I am in an “extended” family. That is, Michael and I have both been married before, so our children have stepmothers and stepfathers and our grandchildren all have at least three sets of grandparents sometimes four.
Christmas is the worst time for divorced families because everybody wants a piece of the action, everybody wants to see their children or parents on Christmas day.
This often causes such conflict in families, that the whole season is often completely spoiled by resentments and rushing around to fit everybody in.
So not wishing to add to my children’s conflict, in the past I have stood back and not made any demands or fuss, let them go to dads, mums, mum-in-law, (plus up to a few years ago, Christmas day was often a normal working day for me. ) Traditionally I would invite everybody around for a low key brunch on boxing day 26th December but that changed two years ago. (which is another story)
The result of this is that, my children think I am “not bothered about Christmas” and we end up on our own on Christmas day for dinner. This wouldn’t be so bad but Michael does not eat turkey ( whoever heard of somebody not liking turkey other than vegetarians) So a Christmas diner for one is not really any fun.
A few nights ago I was bemoaning this and feeling a it sorry for myself, anticipating yet another Cold and lonely, ( self pity exaggerating my mood!) Christmas day, eating turkey on my own and trying to find something interesting on TV, other than re runs of Wizard of Oz and the Snowman.
So first we discussed the possibility of charity work on Christmas day, but we have done that in the past and frankly it was not the sort of Christmas I was looking for.
Michael suggested going out for a meal on Christmas day, so we explored that possibility, but the prices were so extortionate, that I resented paying so much. In the past I have suggested going to Birmingham to visit my son, but Michael looked forward to seeing his children on Boxing day (26th December) and would not leave Bolton
I must explain that the UK closes down on Christmas day, there isn’t even any public transport, The streets are empty except for children riding out on new bikes and people walking to relatives with bags of presents. and the odd man struggling along with the “emergency chairs”!
Along with Easter Sunday, Christmas is the only day that shops over any sort of size are not allowed to open by law. So unless you work in an emergency service you will be at home, because there are very few places to go. There is only the occasional big hotel open and the odd pub .
So off I went to the bedroom to sulk and wallow in this completely unwarranted and ridiculous self pity, until about an hour later when, as he had not come into the bedroom to find out about my petulant mood, I passed behind him to noticed he was looking at Paris hotels on the computer.
“Flybe flights are really cheap late on Christmas Eve” he said
“That’s cheaper than the meals we have been looking at!”
“do you fancy going to Paris for Christmas day? My treat?” he said.
Did I need asking twice?
Suddenly Christmas looked warm and cuddly. Waking up on Christmas morning to the bells of Notre Dame, Strolling along the Seine arm in arm, Christmas mass for him in a French church. All the streets lit up as they are in Paris, with beautiful Christmas trees everywhere. Tourists in the street in good mood. The lights on the Champs Elysees, The wonderful window displays. Other tourists wishing each other happy, Christmas. Christmas lunch in some nice little bistro.
..and even better, no washing up, no cooking, no boring TV and eating just for the sake of it.
But what about the children? …. now feeling guilty at depriving Michael of seeing his Children over Christmas I rang his daughter to sound her out.
“oh what a relief” she said. “I have been panicking trying to figure out how I could fit in my mum, mum-in-law and dad, as I am working at 5am on boxing day and have only one day off.
I had equally positive responses from the other Children so it was agreed we would visit them all the weekend before Christmas.
I AM SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN PARIS!
Just hope the reality will live up to the fantasy!