Posted by: christinelaennec | December 28, 2012

An unforgettable Christmas

It’s funny how, in my mind, most Christmasses blend into a happy blur of the same family traditions.  I do remember certain Christmasses, for example the Dafter’s first Christmas when she was up all night long and in the morning she and her 6-year-old brother had each cut a new front tooth!  (Cue the song, “All I Want for Christmas…”)  But this Christmas has been very, very special and I think will always stand out in my memory.  It’s been such a long, tough year and the Dafter has been so very unwell with ME.  One of the worst things about her illness has been how isolated she’s been.  I can count the number of times she has seen another person her own age in the past three months on the fingers of one hand.  Meanwhile, she reads on Twitter and Facebook about how the other kids she knows are busy doing carol concerts and going to parties – things she used to be able to do.  I was so worried that Christmas this year would be depressing for her and for all of us.

But I shouldn’t have worried.  First of all, the Dafter’s own nature made her decide to enjoy Christmas no matter what.  Secondly, we have been showered by good wishes and attention from our friends and family – not to mention the many Christmas wishes that have come to us via this blog!

Christmas wishes from so many friends!

Christmas wishes from so many friends!

And, because we weren’t zooming about to myriad Christmas activities, as a family we’ve had a chance to really talk about the true meaning of Christmas.  The Dafter said to me, earlier in the month, “I’m going to have to take a long-term view this Christmas, because even if I do get books and art supplies, I know I won’t be able to use them right away.  But I’ll keep them for when I’m better.”  Also she said to me, “The one thing I most want for Christmas is something that you can’t buy for me.”  She didn’t have to tell me what that was.

We have appreciated the closeness and love we have in our family even more than we usually do, this year.  And we’ve had some laughs together:

Michael and the Dafter reading a review of the 'Outnumbered' Christmas special.

Michael and the Dafter reading a review of the ‘Outnumbered’ Christmas special.

Me and the lovely Dafter, Christmas 2012.

Me and the lovely Dafter, Christmas 2012.

Even though she, and all of us, came down with colds (and for the second year in a row, the Dafter had a cold sore for Christmas), we’ve had a great time.   The best thing this Christmas was a short spell, just before Christmas, where she and we had a glimpse of healing to come.  She was able to leave the house for four days in a row, was able to do art on two of those days, and on one day was able to walk more than the usual 100 yards or so.  “This is the Christmas miracle I’ve been praying for,” she said, so grateful to experience again a small amount of the abundant energy she used to have.  Her fatigue levels have since gone back to what they were, but I’ve said to her, “Your job is to remember what that feels like, and know it will come again.”

Parcel after parcel arrived, from various parts of the world, and come Christmas Eve the number of presents under the tree was looking rather excessive!

An incredible number of presents under the Christmas tree, 2012.

An incredible number of presents under the Christmas tree, 2012.

Notice that we also saw the SUN on occasion, a rare treat lately!

Christmas tree, 2012

Christmas tree, 2012

And finally Santa made an appearance in the Playmobil advent calendar – although he hid behind the tree to surprise the family:

Santa finally arrives in the Playmobil Advent calendar scene, Christmas 2012.

Santa finally arrives in the Playmobil Advent calendar scene, Christmas 2012.

Come Christmas morning we were spoiled absolutely rotten by our family and friends.  Here are some of my presents, lucky woman that I am.  Note the gorgeous tea cosy from a generous knitting friend, and the beautiful mitts made by the talented Roobeedoo:

Some of my presents!  Christmas 2012.

Some of my presents! Christmas 2012.

I’d like to think that we have always been grateful for the love that comes with the presents and cards at Christmastime.  But this year we really were able to look beyond the Stuff we were rubbing our hands over, to the true meaning behind these offerings.  Michael and I had expressly forbidden the Dafter to make us anything for Christmas, as she always likes to do, because we knew she would put pressure on herself and that would not help her health.  However, she sneakily wrote a beautiful Christmas card to us, which was the top present of all.

We also had some fun, perplexing the Dafter with a large, very light box (a fluffy pillow).  She in turn decided to bury a small creamer for me in much newspaper, inside another large box!  Shades of my Grampa.

Michael made us a delicious Christmas dinner.  We prayed that we will be able to recall all year long the feeling of security and of being loved that we experienced this Christmas.

Christmas dinner, 2012.

Christmas dinner, 2012.

I like the angel chimes that turn when the heat of the candles rises up.

Tilly has enjoyed a new spot this Christmas.  Do you see the lovely felt runner (a present from dear friends a few Christmases ago)?  It’s a little too long for our table, so we let one end rest on the unoccupied chair at the end.  Unoccupied unless Tilly is there!

Tilly in her Christmas place

Tilly in her Christmas place

And we made it to the panto again this year!  The Dafter had said “It’s not Christmas without the panto – we must go!”  So we bought the tickets back in September.  An hour before the performance, she was collapsed in her bedroom and I was struggling to get her dressed.  But we managed, with the help of the wheelchair, and some bread and chocolate given to her at key points.  We went with our neighbours, as is our tradition, and a good time was had by all.

The 2012 pantomime:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen.

The 2012 pantomime: Snow White, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen.

And here she is, having made it back home.  Isn’t she lovely?  (Note the Harris Tweed bag.)

The Dafter makes it to the panto (and home again).

The Dafter makes it to the panto (and home again).

Last but not least, Michael has been to visit Our Son, who gave us presents this year, and enjoyed ours.  They had a good visit, and we have so very much to be thankful for on that front as well.

I hope you’ve all had a very peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.  Thank you so much again for all the warm wishes that have made this Christmas special for us.  Not long now until New Year’s!



  1. Pure joy I felt as I read your post — so thrilled you have a cherished Christmas… I did as well..
    Hugs… have a most wonderful New Year EVER!

  2. So glad that you had a wonderful Christmas and the Dafter was well enough to enjoy some of the festivities. She does look lovely, especially in her pretty blue dress – a good color on her with her fair coloring and tawny tresses! Your tree and table setting are beautiful and the play looks like so much fun. A beautiful family – many wonderful Blessings for the New Year to you and your family, Christine! xx

  3. what wonderful pictures of you and your family! i am so happy for you that you had such a brilliant Christmas and that your daughter was feeling well enough to do some Christmassy things. she has a persevering spirit and that is a very nice picture of her. i remember at one time we also had the candle/whirleygig centerpiece and I also love Pears soap and what lovely purple mittens!

  4. I am celebrating with you, Christine! So glad for the moments of better health! We are having happy times here as well. This morning we had a break in the rainy weather . I just posted some photos of the snowy mountains around us, Mt. Hood included. xx from Gracie

  5. What happy news! So delighted for you all. Love just shines out of your photos and words.
    Yup, that girl has style – the Harris tweed bag and that dress are a great, not-on-the-high-street pairing.
    Your photos reminded me of the final, happy part of Bergman’s ‘Fanny and Alexander’ – if you don’t know it, get hold of a copy and watch (tho it is dark in the middle). And long – I once saw the uncut version in a cinema in Paris – 5 hours.

  6. Yes, she is lovely, and so are you! Thank you for sharing such a positive, thankful Christmas, it was a very heart-warming read. I love the Playmobil set-up and your beautiful new teacup and teacosy, and of course the ever delightful Tilly in her Christmas spot. Roll on the new year and more good experiences like that four day period the Dafter had recently. She’s definitely getting there and we’re all rooting for her.

  7. So good to read you have had a wonderful Christmas, thanks for sharing this with us.Lovely photos…I like The Dafter’s dress…

  8. Amazing! Your Christmas, The Dafter, Tilly, lovely. Hope wishes come true in 2013.x

  9. It gives me such joy to hear that you all had such a good Christmas!
    I really pray that the coming year might see increasing glimmers of health and healing for ‘The Dafter’. She looks beautiful all dressed up for your evening out — i really love that dress!

    Best wishes for 2013 xo

  10. Loved the photos – especially the one of mother and daughter together! I’m so happy that you have all had a wonderful, blessed Christmas! Your dafter looks beautiful and all grown up. So glad she was able to enjoy the play and have a few days that speak of more energy to come! Wishing you a healthy, happy new year!

  11. The best sort of abundance 🙂
    Really pleased you had such a lovely time together.

  12. I am so very glad that you all had such a good Christmas. And the Dafter is looking lovely! Wonderful that she is having glimpses of what it will be like to be recovered.
    I used to think that Tabby, our Aberdeen cat who lived with us past her twentieth birthday, was the prettiest cat ever, but now I have to admit your Tilly is just as beautiful.
    Our very best wishes to you all for 2013.

  13. Great heartwarming post Christine, so glad that you all had such a wonderful Christmas, sounds like it was just perfect together

  14. Joyous! 🙂 xxx

  15. The Dafter is very fortunate to be blessed with such caring people around her. I can see from these images what a lovely warm environment she lives in.

    (and by the way, the bell-ringing advent candle thingy and exactly those blue & white plates also feature in our house…can we have Michael to go with them next year to make our Christmas dinner? I think every home should have one!)

  16. The Dafter looks lovely. So pleased that you and your family had a happy and joyful Christmas.
    Our Jo has coped well too. I don’t know whether the information I emailed you was helpful or not? But Jo stayed on an even keel throughout the Christmas celebrations and has become stronger with fewer ‘highs’ and ‘lows’

  17. I just wanted to pop by and wish you the happiest new year. May your 2013 be full of blessings, laughter, and happy surprises. Thank you for being a blog friend and a joyful part of my life.

  18. Hello Christine – I’ve been a long time catching up with your blog – every now and then as I’m rushing out in the morning I see the email that lets me know that you’ve posted something, I take a quick note of the photos, then promise myself to read on later on. I loved all the photos of the trees in the windows around Aberdeen. I am so pleased that your daughter is having some good days – I hope that you get to see more of them soon. And to continue in the Gaelic vein, ‘Slainte’ for 2013.

  19. Dear all,

    Thank you so much for your seasonal wishes, which added to our already very full collection! The Dafter was particularly pleased with the compliments about her.

    oldblack – the only thing is, if we sent Michael to cook your Christmas dinner, you would have to put up with his jokes! How funny that our Christmas tables must have looked very similar.

    Ann – I hope you’ll have received my belated reply by now. I’m so pleased that Jo is continuing to go from strength to strength!

    Judy – Slainte indeed!

  20. Your dafter looks so beautiful. She has such a lovely smile. Wishing her health improves this coming year. She is certainly surrounded by lots of love and warmth in her home. Glad you made it to the panto!

    • Thank you, Suzy! Many good wishes to you and your beautiful daughters for this coming year.

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