This Christmas will be the first we've had without both our children being at home. Daniel's girlfriend, Jasmine, is American and she doesn't have any family in the UK so she's celebrated with us for the last three years. This year, however, they're going to spend Christmas with her family in Colorado, leaving just me, Mick and Eleanor at home for Christmas as my parents have stopped coming to us for Christmas now too.
They won't be able to take presents with them so the main bulk of their present is money this year but we have bought them a few things to open. On Saturday, we went down to see them in Essex and to exchange presents too. We were going to stay overnight but in the end we decided we'd do it in a day. We set off early and it took us four and a half hours to get there. Coming home wasn't quite so bad, we did it in about three and a half hours. We're saving the gifts they've given us to open on Christmas Day but they'll be opening their gifts before they go.
I try to hold off doing anything Christmas related until we get into December, apart from buying gifts that is. I don't put the tree up, listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas films until the big day approaches but, Saturday being the 1st of December, we went all out and listened to Christmas songs on the radio the whole way there and part of the way home too.
We had a really lovely day with them, went out for a delicious meal and caught up on each other's news. Living so far apart we don't get to see each other very often these days, this was only the third time I've seen them this year, Mick's seen them more as he sometimes works nearby and they'll meet up and go out for a meal then, but we make the times we do see each other count. I'm sure we'll catch up with each other on Skype on Christmas Day and it will be lovely for Jasmine to spend Christmas with her own family for a change. We will miss them though.
As today is the 3rd of December, I just thought I'd mention that it's thirty years to the day that Mick and I got engaged. Looking back, such a lot has happened in those thirty years and yet on the other hand it doesn't seem like any time at all.