White Christmas, White Lies, White Ribbons

When you wish upon a chocolate mousse star (not an ad for the ice cream.)

I’m never a stickler for tradition and I certainly don’t believe a virgin got pregnant (although stranger things have happened.) I do remember how magical Christmas felt as a child though and the snow made this year particularly special. I couldn’t wait to pretend Santa was coming. Weather and other elements conspired against getting to Mum’s. She lays on a great Christmas, but I wanted to have a go at Father Christmas visiting our house and leaving presents under our (small, wonky) tree. We are, after all, a family (in our own small, wonky way.)

“We haven’t got a fireplace,” said Tom, “How will Father Christmas get in?”

“There’s one in my bedroom”

“But your bedroom’s a mess.”

“I’ll make a path through the clothes for him to get through.” (White lie.)

I have never cooked a turkey in my life and I’m a vegetarian.

“What do you fancy for Christmas dinner?”

“Beans on toast with a little bit of cheese.”

“No, it’s Christmas, you can have anything you want, what’s your favourite meal of all?”

“Beans on toast with a little bit of cheese.”

That caused some controversy amongst family and friends, who believed I should make Tom a proper meal. So, I hauled him and the Pensioner’s Shopping Trolley through the snow to the supermarket and spent far too much on veg, fake meat, a Christmas cactus, fancy snacks and a couple of bottles of red.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve with good friends. One of them carried Tom home on his shoulders extra late at night as we looked out for Father Christmas in the cold sky. Inside, we left out a mince pie and a carrot, some water and  glass of red wine. (Good job I went to the supermarket.) There was also reindeer food, which looked like a mixture of porridge oats and red glitter and required hoovering up.

The following morning, Tom opened his Scooby Doo Pirate Castle and other presents.  We lazed around most of the day, sharing popcorn and watching the telly, playing his new Guess Who (did you know that it now comes with pets as well as people?) and eventually got round to the big dinner in the evening. I laid out the table with the Christmas cactus and the leftover golden star glitter from the last wedding we went to. As I served up the food, Tom disappeared upstairs.

“I’ve got us some napkins!” he announced when he came back down.

I walked over to the table and saw him neatly rolling up strips of toilet roll and putting them in front of both our plates. Things really aren’t that bad.

Of course, he ate hardly any of his dinner, moaning the whole way through that he wanted beans on toast with a little bit of cheese. “Or how about we just have a bowl of popcorn then a yogurt for pudding?”

Pudding was better than yogurt though, a posh chocolate mousse with stars on top.

“If I make a wish, then eat one of those stars, will it come true?” Tom asked.

“It depends what it is.”

“Well I’ll try.”

I’ve mentioned Handsome here before. He’s Tom’s “invisible dog”. He’s white with grey patches and wears a red cape. He lives in a winged kennel and seems to be a bit of a canine superhero. His name is ridiculous, but endearing.

Tom closed his eyes tight and popped the star in his mouth. “I wish Handsome would become real,” he whispered.


“Will it come true Mum?”

“I didn’t hear it,” I white-lied.

“If you didn’t hear it, that means it will definitely come true.”

We are not getting a dog. I’ll get my book written, then maybe I’ll find another way to bring Handsome to life.

I’m making a small donation to the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and will be writing more about their work in 2011: Although maternity services in the UK are under enormous pressure at the moment, they are still far richer than those in developing countries, where a woman dies through pregnancy or childbirth almost every minute of every day.

*I should have written this ages ago and today should be a New Year post. Happy New Year to everyone who reads this. Thanks for reading, have a wonderful 2011.

Just visible - the bog roll napkin (yes, it's white.)


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9 responses to “White Christmas, White Lies, White Ribbons

  1. Nicky Wisniewski

    I always seem to turn to your site when i’m grumpy and fed up, those times when you feel like you’re the worst parent in the world, i’m currently being completely out smarted by a four yr old!!!!!!!! He constantly winds me up and is nearly always completely oblivious to the stress he cause’s me. I know i’ll get on top of it but at minute feel like crying or opening vino at 5pm – neither of which i have the time for. But ur blog always fills me with hope and motivation again…..you remind me that, a-all mums feel like this at some point and b-how bloody precious and amazing our children are! So Thank You.

    Happy New Year to you both and I’ll look forward to reading this year!! x x x x

    • Emily

      Hi Nicky, it’s lovely to hear from you. Four year olds are clever little things aren’t they? They do try us but there’s nothing like a challenge. Thanks so much for writing what you did – increasingly I find myself wondering what the hell I am doing writing about my private life on the internet and in a book. Comments like yours remind me why. Happy New Year to you and yours and thanks for reading and commenting xx

  2. Sounds perfect – you and Tom together on Christmas. love your blog!

  3. What a wonderful, wonky christmas. Reading this reminds me how much I missed my son on christmas day. We sprinkled reindeer food too, but outside – no hoovering. How wonderful would children’s books about the adventures of Handsome be! (My son’s imaginary friend is a baby duck called Lawrence who lives in his tummy…) Although right now, Im very much looking forward to the book – how far you have come since I first started reading! Congratulations.

    • Emily

      Wow, Lawrence is really out there! I like it. Thanks, it was alright. Sorry you missed out on having your boy on the big day, but it looks like you had plenty of other festive fun. And I am jealous of your tent-making skills. I’ve bought te fabric but never worked out what to do without, so there are just swathes spilling out from under my bed.

  4. beautiful post Emily, sounds a perfect day xx Happy New Year — have a fab one, good luck with the book!

  5. Me and my Mum cook the turkey every year – despite the fact that I’ve not eaten meat since I was 12 and she gave it up when I did. At some point every Christmas, we’ll try to decide if it’s cooked, look at each other, say “don’t care we’re not eating it anyway”, snigger and stick it in the corner. It’s become our own little festive tradition!
    PS, Tom should bring Handsome to life in a comic strip.
    Happy New Year, Kath x

    • Emily

      Thanks Kath, Happy New Year to you too. Well done for braving the dead turkey. Funnily enough, Tom dreamt the other night about people with ‘dead chickens like meat’ for heads. Lovely. I am going to write about Handsome, I just wish I could draw. Tom might be able to do that though… xx

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