Today Daughter 2 gave us some reindeer-shaped table confetti - such as every well-dressed Christmas table must feature -
and we gave her a mint chocolate tree.
Every second year nowadays, our daughters come to us for Christmas and to their in-laws for New Year; and the alternate year they go to their in-laws for Christmas and come to us for New Year. (Theoretically our son does too but this isn't working out this year.) Also, my brother and his wife and two offspring come up from England for Christmas every two years and the girls make sure that they time it so that we're all together at once. Of course, this means that when they're not here, it's just Mr Life and me, so this New Year's Day it'll be just the two of us (though we've been invited to a dinner party for Hogmanay and the bells so you don't need to feel too sorry for us).
Until recently this was very much not the case. Our offspring lived with us and my brother and his family used to stay over New Year as well as Christmas - though only every second year. Also my parents were still alive so they were with us, as was my late (latterly confused) aunt and not that long ago also her husband. Because they'd worked abroad, they often had a visiting foreigner who was staying with them and he would come along too. So there were frequently about thirteen of us for Christmas and New Year meals.
Now, for once I'm not trying to sound pathetic - but I was struck the other day by the realisation that if Mr Life departed this world in the next few months or left me for a glamorous blonde, then because of the way we've arranged things, next Christmas it would just be me - sitting in front of the telly with a good book. Well, me and the cats. It seems so recently that there were thirteen of us and now so much has changed. I know there are lots of people who have Christmas alone, and I'm sure I'd be fine, but it's just that - it didn't occur to me that this change could happen so quickly: centre of operations and surrounded by people expecting turkey and trimmings one year; old lady with cats the next. And it makes me realise that the same must be true of lots of old ladies with cats. Not to say old gentlemen.
Actually, I said all this to my family the other day and Son-in-Law 1, who is a kindly soul, said that if that scenario looked likely to happen then he would take me down to have Christmas with his family. (Thank you, SIL 1, though I don't quite know what we would do about the cats and your guinea pigs.)
I'm happy to say, by the way, that Mr Life is feeling quite well. Which is good. But possibly not well enough to pursue any glamorous blondes. Which has its advantages too.