15 December 2011

My Favourite Christmas... by Milly Johnson

Welcome back to my Christmas 2011 feature! As you know, I've asked lots of authors to write something about their favourite Christmas, and I've been lucky to have a great response. Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming the brilliant Milly Johnson!

"I’m a ridiculous traditionalist at Christmas.   I like that it varies little from year to year.  It’s relatively quiet, the same people come for dinner, we eat more or less the same food, the day follows the same pattern, but to me it’s that dear familiarity that makes Christmas so special.  Once, I decided to rebel against the routine and we booked a 3 week cruise in the Caribbean.  No cooking, no Christmas shopping, no standing in queues at supermarkets beckoned.  We cancelled it because the kids didn’t want to spend Christmas away from their grandparents –and neither did I really.  So once again, I was there in Morrisons with my trolley full of pickled onions, booze and veg and when the big day came, I was so glad that I was there, pinney on, peeling spuds, roasting the turkey.

There are so many things I love about Christmas Day.  I love the look on the kids’ faces when they get something they’ve wanted (after I’ve told them there is ABSOLUTELY no chance they’re going to get it).  I love the fact there are magically no calories so a Baileys and Thorntons breakfast isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to my figure.  I love to see my parents relaxing on my sofa and doing absolutely nothing all day that taxes them.  I love the dog falling asleep on my dad’s foot whilst we’re watching Morecambe and Wise (The Andre Previn sketch – Christmas is not the same without it).  I love that last year the snow was so bad that my mum and dad – who only live across the road – stayed over.  I love that for a few days we are in a big warm messy cocoon with sleepy cats playing with tinsel and family and lovely things to eat and drink and new slippers and dressing gowns.

It’s the simple things I used to enjoy most myself about Christmas when I was little.  I remember when we got our first house with central heating in it and just for Christmas Eve dad used to keep the heating on all night.  I remember the Post Office set I wanted (and got) every year.  A new Enid Blyton book, turkey (we only ever had it at Christmas), my Nana’s home made Christmas cake and mince pies, lying in bed on Christmas Eve with my hot water bottle willing myself to get to sleep and then finding a huge pillowcase full of parcels at the bottom of my bed in the morning.  I loved watching the Sooty and Sweep Christmas special on the black and white TV whilst having a special breakfast of Ritz crackers and ‘squirty cheese’ (we still do this).  Every Christmas I’ve had has been 90% the same, 10% ring in the changes – some wanted, some unavoidable.  Alas ‘big school’ doesn’t have a carol service so this is the first year I won’t be sobbing in church with the other mums at ‘Little Donkey’ and watching a teacher trying to stop Joseph from picking his nose. 

It’s a time for making memories and I just hope that my boys take some lovely ones through to adulthood of Christmas with their grandparents lit up like the Christmas tree on brandy, the dog with a reindeer headdress on, the cats scoffing turkey and their mam enjoying every minute of it."

You can read my review of Milly's latest book An Autumn Crush here. It's available to buy in paperback or as an eBook now!

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