Friday, July 24, 2009

#29: Christmas 2008.

In the absence of children, my Christmas celebrations have come to owe more to Saturn and Bacchus than to any Christian character.

For the past two decades I have spent the holiday with my parents at their caravan where tradition dictated only that Christmas necessitated excess. My mother's huge steak meals would be served reverentially with copious amounts of dense red wine, Champagne would accompany the lighter meals and a brandy or vodka would ensure that we were incapacitated by the evening.

Our bitterly cold nights were punctuated by trips to the bathroom just to run the water supply, thus ensuring we didn't have frozen pipe work to deal with at breakfast. Every aspect of these past Christmas' was wonderful and our simple routines became for want of a better phrase: our Christmas traditions.

With Christmas 2008, both Lisa and myself set out to establish our own routines, to create our own take on the festive season. This was to include my first real Christmas tree, stockings hung over the fireplace and for the first time in over two decades: the giving and receiving of gifts on Christmas morning.

In their brief meetings with Lisa Jane, my parents had already come to love her company and so they were both thrilled when we invited them to spend Christmas with us. Initially they were wary of the invitation, not wishing to intrude in what was obviously a very special time for Lisa and myself, but Lisa Jane played the hostess to perfection and it was soon apparent that my parents were having a wonderful time.

Just one year earlier I had sent Lisa Jane a simple video for her birthday, 2008 saw me attempt to better this by presenting her with an unconventional engagement ring.

The choice of ring had proven a problem, I strongly dislike most jewelry and engagement rings can be especially gaudy to my uncultivated eyes. My research was beginning to show that the larger the stone, the more expensive the ring, or as I saw it, the more ostentatious and unwieldy, the more befitting the importance of the moment. Allowing my English eccentricity to come to the fore, I chose something less sensational on the eye, something that would be worn long after the engagement: a simple diamond and platinum eternity ring. As usual, Lisa made allowances for my unconventional nature, in fact, I think she actually approved of my choice.

The high point of the holiday definitely wasn't the murder mystery jigsaw that Lisa carried all the way from the States, the box full of dark purple and tartan pieces proved a trial on the eyes and a test of everyone's patience.

The party we held for some of my family members proved much more of a success, it was an intoxicated affair that judging by everybody's unwillingness to leave, was a major triumph.

On a more personal note, this proved to be an amazing end to an incredible year. Both Lisa Jane and myself had developed a close empathic bond when working together that I believe stemmed from the fact that our love had its initial foundations in friendship rather than anything physical. We had already developed a natural ease around each other, our different cultural backgrounds and the minimal amount of time we had spent together in real life was not important, we were functioning as a couple. It is hard to appreciate that after forty plus years as single entity, I suddenly started to look upon myself as one half of partnership; by the end of 2008, I was a different person from the man who had initially seen in the year.

Our goodbyes were not as miserable as on previous occasions, we were both too eager to move forward, forward towards a more permanent arrangement.


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