I put my Christmas tree up this evening, on the 1st of December, the same as my parents had in all the years I can remember. It’s a twiggy affair, dark brown with LED lights, picked up today for half price from Wilkinsons and one I might keep up all year round, perched and twinkling in the corner of my lounge.
I hung from it knick knacks from around my flat, Christmas decorations from years gone by fashioned from things like old front door keys, junk jewellery, pine cones, photographs and small stuffed toys.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, I whispered to Small Boy, kissing the top of his head. And overwhelmed, I found myself crying silently into the top of his soft little blonde head. Because this year, I don’t hate Christmas.
This year, I have a job that I love, a home that is secure, and a fridge that is plugged in at the mains, with a pint of milk in it, and some chicken, and some vegetables.
This year, I am not scrabbling around for something to sell to be able to buy Small Boy something from the 99p shop, just so that he can have something to open, from me.
This year, Santa will come down the chimney and leave flour-snow footprints, and an orange and a bag of chocolate coins in the bright and shiny new little stocking that will hang on the fireplace on Christmas Eve.
This year I will not try to commit suicide on Christmas day, nor spend it stomping along the beach alone, anything to get out of a cold and desolately empty flat.
This year we will be parcelling Christmas things up for our local food banks, and dropping them off a few days before.
This year I will be able to exchange cards with friends, and small gifts, as a Thankyou for sticking around during the tumultuous and now crazy busy year I’ve had.
This year there are no red-topped bills, no bank charges, no missed or delayed benefit payments, no rent arrears, no threat of eviction, no friend sitting in my living room in tears giving me a weeks rent just to see me and Small Boy through to the new year. This year there are no bailiffs, no debt collectors, no constant unsolicited phone calls. This year there is peace, and quiet contentment. At last.
This year I don’t fear, spurn or renounce Christmas. It’s not cancelled, reviled, or desolate. And it’s thanks to every one of you.
I sometimes describe my job, or what I do, as a publicly elected post. I didn’t put myself here, I didn’t drag myself out of the black hole all by myself. You, my readers, did. You read my musings and ramblings, shared my recipes, gently nagged me to write them in a book. And every single day I am thankful for all of you – even the criticism, the differing opinions, that keep me grounded and challenged and analytical. Even Richard Littlejohn, who gifted me 7,000 extra followers on Twitter by accident…
And so here I am, making a new batch of tree biscuits to hang up now we actually have a tree to hang them on, with my Small Boy by my side, and this year, for the first year in a long time, I don’t hate Christmas. Thankyou. X
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack