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The Spirit of Christmas

Budge over. Look William, it’s snowing. When was the last time it snowed on Christmas day? Wasn’t it when the children were very young? Do you remember making that sledge for them? Snow up over our boots, snowballs flying, soaked from tip to toe, we laughed so much that our tears froze on our faces. Funny things that you remember. It’s just a bit chilly in here, William, let’s pull the duvet up over us, nice and cosy. There, that’s better isn’t it? How did we ever manage to keep warm before duvets?

Do you remember our first Christmas together? We sat cross-legged on the rug in front of the log fire. Well we could in those days, couldn’t we? I mean sit cross-legged for hours on end. I wouldn’t like to try it now. And you sitting in that dressing gown I bought for you and me in that cheeky little nightie and negligee. Just as well the neighbours couldn’t see in the windows. I always loved that set. It broke my heart to have to part with them, but everything wears out in the end. We’re no different, are we? I don’t think we even bothered to get dressed that day, did we? You were such a silly boy in those days. Anne Summers - she did well that year, didn’t she? I’ve often wondered how you had the nerve to go into that shop and buy all those things. Naughty, so naughty but nice. We had such fun, didn’t we, not a care in the world.

We drank champagne from those little bubbly glasses that belonged to my grandmother, didn’t we? Remember, the ones with the hollow stems and those never-ending bubbles that tickled our noses right down to the very last drop. Was it Bollinger or Moet that year or did we spoil ourselves with a bottle of Dom? I really can’t remember now. We always pushed out the boat at Christmas in those days, didn’t we? It was long before ‘they’ started to tell us what was good for us and what would see us in an early grave. It’s Prosecco or Cava now, you know. Whatever happened to style?

The tree looks beautiful too. It may be artificial but at least we don’t have to clean up the needles every day. Maybe we’ll get a real one next year like the one we had that first Christmas. Look at it now, twenty, maybe thirty feet high. We’d have our very own pine forest if we’d planted all the trees we’d had over the years.

Christmas lunch is all prepared. I did that last night before I came to bed. There’s just a turkey breast this year. We don’t eat as much as we used to, do we? But I’ve done all the trimmings: sprouts and carrots, potatoes ready to roast, chipolatas, stuffing and gravy. The champagne is chilling in the fridge and the bubblies are out on the table. It’s just a Lanson this year, William, but it comes highly recommended. I wanted to be able to spend time with you this morning and here we are. It’s still snowing, pretty as a picture out there. Look, William, it’s settling ever so gently on the branches of our tree, white as snow - well it would be, wouldn’t it. Silly me.

Do you think we should open some of our presents? I’ve put them at the foot of the bed so we can reach them easily. Don’t they look pretty? All that lovely wrapping paper, tags, and bows. I always think it’s a shame to have to open them. But it’s Christmas Day and they can’t stay there until next Christmas, can they? Shall I go first? And then you? Shall I open your present to me first?

I couldn’t resist it. I knew you would approve. Such a fascinating shop, I could have spent hours in there. When I poked my nose in through the door it was such a surprise – ordinary people, just like us, William. A little younger maybe but ordinary people all the same and everyone so friendly. Mind you I didn’t know what some things were, and I couldn’t ask, now could I? The girl - such a lovely girl at the checkout - asked me if it was a present and should she gift wrap it. I told her that it was a present to me from my husband, and that he had once been a regular customer. She had a lovely smile. Shall I put it on?

Thank you, William, I shall wear it today - just for you.

Your turn now, William. How about this one first? It’s from me. You can tell from the wrapping. Shall I help you? I’ve got the scissors right here. You know what I’m like - a terrier with the Sellotape! There you are my love. I hope you like it. I bought it just for you. It comes with all my love.

Shall we save the rest for later, savour them one by one? Maybe after lunch? I’ve laid the table just as we like it. There are crackers and party poppers and some quite exquisite gold edged paper serviettes. Only the best for our special day. The candles are all new and ready to light. The matches are on the table. The holly is fresh from the garden. The bush is a mass of berries this year. We might have known that it would snow. There’s mistletoe over the kitchen door, not that we ever needed mistletoe for a kiss and a cuddle, did we?

Ah well, time waits for no man, as they say. I’ll just slip this on and then I’ll pop downstairs to check that everything is perfect. Before I go, I want you to know that you are as handsome as you ever were. You haven’t changed a bit in the past twenty years.

You’ll be with me in spirit. You always are. Happy Christmas, William, happy Christmas.