It seems a little odd to be typing those three words when it’s only the beginning of December! By the time you receive this first edition of The Church Street Chronicle for 2019, all the excitement of Christmas will be behind us, and a whole New Year lies ahead. I trust and hope that you all had a happy Christmas and I wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.
As for the Clarke family Christmas, we’ll have been joined by both sets of parents again for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s always very exciting for the boys to have both Grannies and Grandads together at Christmas! The fun will have started a couple of days earlier than usual, with a family trip to The Oxford Playhouse to see “Dick Whittington & His Cat”. You can’t beat a Christmas Panto to get everybody in the mood for the festive holidays (oh yes you can! – sorry, couldn’t resist it!). We’ll have gone to the Christingle service at our village church on Christmas Eve, followed by a hearty family meal back at our house. Like millions of children across the country, Tom and William’s excitement levels will have been gradually building in anticipation of “The Big Day”! Christmas Eve would not be complete though without the ritual of leaving a few mince pies and a glass of milk for Father Christmas (i.e. me!) and a couple of carrots for
the reindeer! A ritual I have fond memories of from my childhood and am pleased to continue with my own children!
Christmas Day will have started good and early, probably pre-6am! The children will have unwrapped their presents in a frenzy under the bleary and half-closed eyes of parents and grandparents alike. A new record for “speed-unwrapping” will no doubt have been set and the “business-end” of Christmas Day will be all over after about half-an-hour! I’ll more than likely have been drawn into a new game on the PlayStation only to have been thoroughly whooped by a ten and 8-year old! Grandparents will be busying themselves preparing Christmas dinner whilst knocking-back a few cheeky festive sherries, under the watchful guidance and supervision of my wife Karen! A few bottles of Prosecco will be popped, toasts made to absent friends and family, thoughts spared for those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year, and promises made to be a better person in 2019! Then we’ll have settled in to the Christmas dinner, excited chatter across the table, holding multiple conversations, and we’ll all end-up flopping-out on the sofa to watch a Christmas movie or play some board or card-games. This probably all sounds very familiar and will be a scene repeated millions of times up and down the length and breadth of the country.
I love Christmas, not for the presents (at nearly 45 years of age I’m well passed that phase!) but because it’s the one time of the year when we really get together as a family and enjoy quality time together. Running the business, raising a family, maintaining friendships and acquaintances is hard work, it takes time and energy. Sometimes the world seems like it’s spinning too fast and you just want it to slow down, just for a little while, so you can enjoy the time you have with those closest and most important to you. So, here’s an idea for 2019 for all of us; let’s make an extra effort to spend more quality time with our nearest and dearest. Call that friend you’ve not seen for ages; turn your phone off when you get home from work and give your loved-ones your undivided attention; be kinder to yourself and make time for the nice things in life, go for a walk, spend time in the garden. Be present.