that I spent two Christmases as a patient,
I was anxious to rescue the whole affair.
A minimalist at heart, I tried to avoid glitter, and pared it down.
I bought magazines, and pored over the pages.
We could have a White Christmas,
or even a recycled Christmas, with. everything made from string and newspaper.
I would decorate the front step.
If I changed the decor,
I could wipe away past years,..the arguments with alcoholic relatives.
It was ambitious, and involved a lot of work.
I made rules!
Everything is to be completed early.
No-one needs to go out on Christmas Eve.
No last minute panic.
I made a list of names, and they all got a card.
I visited the neighbours with boxes of biscuits.
I was organised.
But it all collapsed.
I could change the decor,
but the fact remained we were a dysfunctional family,
and this was never more obvious than in December.
It was the pressure,..to be cheerful, gregarious.
My Mum thought we should all play board games,
but no-one wanted to.
There was a dream of everyone sitting around the table, relaxed and laughing.
We will not attempt it this year.
It is hard work, and we cannot make it work anyway.
It is like stepping off a Carousel.