So we start the countdown to Christmas, and for our family this year it is tinged with sadness.  There is an empty chair in the room.  My mum has been with us for Christmas for all but one of my daughter’s 13 years, and facing the time without her is going to be extremely difficult this year.

We’ve discussed all the implications as a family, and we have come to the conclusion that we have to make it even more festive than usual.  Some of my usual traditions have been cast aside in order to make the children as happy as possible.  The Christmas tree has gone up early this year, and there are going to be paper chains, lots of home cooked food and a general two week long party atmosphere.

Grandma is also going to be giving gifts this year even if she is not physically present.  She left me a small amount of money, and I am using it to spoil myself and others this Christmas. To start off with, I have had the garden landscaped – it has got very overgrown over the year when mum was ill and I was preoccupied with her care.  So for me and my husband is the gift of a low maintenance and very attractive garden , which we are looking forward to making the most of when the weather improves.


For my daughter (and for all of us) we have transformed a shed at the bottom of the garden into a den/indoor gym and there will be a rowing machine, some mats and some weights so we can all take some time to look after ourselves and keep healthy.  I’ve also invested in an “adult sized climbing frame” from Xorbars, with pull up and dips bars that we can all learn to use.


And my son is finally going to get his long awaited bedroom makeover.  His room was the least in need of decorating when we moved in 10 years ago – plain magnolia with a neutral carpet.  When he was younger he liked it that way, but now he is starting to have some aesthetic opinions of his own and I think it is time to add a splash of colour and a bit of a theme.  I’ve looked at some websites for boys bedroom ideas and I’m fairly certain that we will find something that will make his room a place where he can feel happy and comfortable.  It probably won’t be as fancy as this idea, but we can dream….

Recámara infantil basada en Harry Potter : Modern nursery/kids room by MARIANGEL COGHLAN

So we are taking time this Christmas to bring the spirit of Grandma into our home.  She was a very houseproud lady with an amazing garden that she tended with care.  I’m sure if she was here to see it this Christmas, she would be as excited as the rest of us at the little treats we have in store.  We will miss her so much this year, but will take time to raise a glass or two and smile.

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