I love Christmas. LOVE IT. I have always been a fan, but since the whole cancer thing, the feeling of joy I get from searching far and wide for gifts for my nearest and dearest, putting up the tree, nagging Dave into putting up the outdoor lights and wrapping the presents has increased about a million-fold. I’m alive, and I’m well and I’m loving the shit out of the season, completely and unreservedly without apology.
For me, Christmas is primarily about the food – making it, sharing it, and eating it. So far this festive season we’ve been to a dinner with our neighbours, hosted a barbecue for 19 friends and their kids and another dinner for 8 other friends, and gone for dinner and to see the amazing Christmas lights in our city with our other dear friends (who recently gifted me the Pussy in a Package). Dave’s been to his work Christmas dinner, I missed mine because I was crook (sob, sob) but made up for it with a lovely lunch with my fabulous workmates.
We are hosting either 13, 16 or 17 people for lunch on Christmas Day – the numbers are a bit fluid as we get a lot of pleasure out of having strays and waifs at our place, and some people’s plans aren’t get locked in until closer to the day. It really doesn’t matter how many there are, as we will have enough food to share with a small army. Ham, turkey, beef, pork, potatoes cooked in duck fat, roasted beetroot and goat’s cheese salad … you get the idea. I am, as I have previously mentioned, a feeder from way back, and Christmas Day gives me a chance to show my love and appreciation for everyone in the best way I know how – by making a heaving table of deliciousness for them to slowly consume over the afternoon.
Of course Christmas is also about family, and in particular my little family of three. Hugh still firmly believes in Santa and is full of ideas about how Santa knows what all the kids are up to and what they will be getting for Christmas. His wide-eyed wonder and excitement is contagious, and I am now counting sleeps until the big day, so I can see the look on his face when he finds his Santa sack. He is getting a much wanted but completely unexpected gift, so it should be a joyous – if early – morning.
Christmas 2012 I was in the middle of chemo – bald, sick, and pretty well convinced that I wouldn’t make through the coming year. So to be two years down the track, and feeling good, makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world. I had my regular appointment with my oncologist on 9 December, and was utterly thrilled to be deemed well enough to be moved from a three-monthly check-up schedule to six-monthly. That means I will only have to go back to the mind-fuckingly awful chemotherapy ward twice next year. I could say that news was the only Christmas present I need, but I’m just not that kind of Hallmark kind of cancer patient – bring on the gifts!
Best wishes of the season to you all, thank you for reading and for commenting and for being so bloody kind. I’m going off air for a while to spend time with my loved ones, and I hope you all have the chance to do the same.
See you on the flip side!