Like many people, for the greater part of my life, Christmas revolved around food. Tempting treats and too much turkey, a little something special under (or on) the tree, the fun of carrying on a family tradition (like the flaming brandy, and finding silver sixpences in the Christmas pud), and all those things which, through the years, I thought made a Christmas complete.
As a child, I remember it was THE time of year when we had a box of Quality Street on hand, open for anyone and everyone to dip into whenever they pleased. OK, we had to endure those awful (as a child) Brussels sprouts, but we had tins of assorted biscuits, my Aunt's lovely home-made Chocolate Log (complete with plastic robin), and home-made sausage rolls and mince pies aplenty, Advocaat 'snowball' (a sophisticated glass of which I was allowed, well-diluted with lemonade, from a fairly young age), pigs-in-blankets and all sorts of other goodies we didn't see at other times of year.
There was always a tray of nuts (in their shells) for us to dip into, and the traditional Boxing Day well-buttered rounds of cold meat and stuffing sandwiches, usually with a liberal helping of my Mum's home-made green tomato chutney. We maybe even had a Cadbury's selection box to enjoy all to ourselves if Santa thought we'd been good boys and girls. As I grew older, you could add wine with dinner, a glass of sherry with those mince pies, and other alcohol to the mix too.
There's nothing surprising or unusual here, to be honest. Most people I know, and have ever known, have or do something pretty similar. After all, it's Christmas!
I can recall all this with nostalgia now but, d'ya know, I've slowly begun to realise that the entire focus of my Christmas has changed over the last few years. Firstly with the changes in how I ate for weight loss and now with the low-carb lifestyle, food, while it's still important and both enjoyable and enjoyed as a part of the festive season, is no longer the be all and end all. It's just that - a 'part' of the celebrations. If I'm honest, with the way we eat nowadays we'll probably seem like party-poopers to many during the festive season, but I'm just not too interested in the 'traditional' Christmas feasts any longer.
Overindulgence with those seasonal 'treats' is no longer a thing to be eagerly anticipated because of the relative rarity of the goodies involved - I guess that's part of it. But the lack of scarcity doesn't cover everything.
Even though the goodies are now readily available, I just don't really feel the need to overdo it for the sake of a 'good' Christmas any more. What's even better, the sometimes (OK, often!) uncomfortable after-effects of wall-to-wall festive munching are something I no longer feel I 'have to' endure because they too are now something that's pretty much past. But hey, I can still enjoy the Christmas carols, the decorated tree, the joy of time with family... and let's not forget those presents!
Gradually, I've come to see what a valuable, incredible, and long-lasting Christmas gift this is. One of Mum's 'blessings' to be counted indeed, so here's to a Merry low-carb Christmas.
On a slightly sadder note, the season will be redefined in another way too this year. We won't be heading off to look after my lovely (and much missed) Mum, to cook a tempting turkey roast for her or see her open her stocking. Yes, it'll be different this year. Yes, there'll be sadness because we won't be with her. But there will also be a host of beautiful and happy memories to look back on.
There's also the knowledge that she'll never suffer again, and that she is where (for the last few years) she had desperately wanted to be - safe and secure in the arms of her God, reunited with my Dad and other precious family.
So, keep that in your mind, fat lass - then how could you possibly see it as a bad thing, eh?
My poor darling, who had just gone back to work today after his 'problems', now has another thing to worry about. He managed to cut his hand badly this morning and had to go to the surgery. He'll have to go again tomorrow to get it re-dressed.
Ho hum. What was that about it never raining, but it pours! Guess I'm on KP duty full-time this festive season, eh? Ah well, at least it'll take my mind off things.