Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come

Christmas past

I used to love how excited the girls got about Christmas when they were small. I loved that they put their letters to Father Christmas in our fire place (sometimes as early as October) and got even more excited when it disappeared some time later, with cries of “Mummy, Mummy, It’s gone!”. I loved reading their letters, mainly because it gave me a good idea what they really wanted but especially because they always asked for things for G too (because he couldn’t!)… Always brought a bit of a tear to the eye to be honest!

I loved that they were too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve and I loved watching them open their presents on Christmas morning, still believing they came from Father Christmas…. There is something quite sad when they tell you they don’t believe anymore.

While the girls were going through this stage G wasn’t and, just like Birthdays, there was a time I thought that he would never really understand what it was all about. Of course I knew he’d never get the spiritual significance and probably never will, but then neither do lots of other people do they!

He certainly gets the whole Father Christmas gig and has for many years now. In fact one of the joys for me of having a son like G is that the magic of Christmas never really stops. He loves the big man in the red suit…

getting the hang of the whole present lark Xmas 96   Demasking Santa  Xmas 94







He loves any film that has him in it and will sit for ages looking at Christmas magazines and catalogues (basically if it has red, green and white in it he’s hooked!)

For G Christmas, just like Birthdays, means chocolate and presents. Except at Christmas it also means that the house gets sparkly and there’s a real tree in the sitting room.  We don’t go in for artificial… nor do we like colour coordinated, designer type trees either. Our
Christmas tree is full of memories, whatever colour they are…decorations the kids made when they were little, a little Santa made out of the inside of a loo roll, crape paper and cotton wool, bells made of tin foil and tinsel and some hand crafted ones made by friends who always send then instead of Christmas cards (going back from 1995).

Lots of things had to change in our home to accommodate G and Christmas was no exception. Christmas morning, the girls got up when he did…a shout of “G’s up” (whatever time that was) prompted them to rush out of their bedrooms when they were younger and stagger out (slightly miffed that they were still doing this) when they reached their teenage years.

We’ve never put presents under the tree, until Christmas morning, because he’d open them all. Chocolate Christmas tree decorations were a big no no! I did adorn the tree with them once when he was very young and found several baubles, of the none chocolate variety, at the bottom of the tree with teeth marks in them, and the shiny foil peeled off. The lovely dough decorations T made in primary school didn’t fair too well either.

When we say to G on Christmas morning “should we go and see if Father Christmas has been?” his eyes light up, he grins and rushes down stairs to the same spot his presents are left in every year,  just like the girls did when they were little!
Chrismas 09




Chrismas 2010


A few years ago he started to get the whole excitement/ anticipation bit too and we stopped telling him it was going to be Christmas when he went to bed on Christmas Eve. We decided we would try to fool him into thinking it was just another day so we could hopefully get a bit of lie in and for a few years it worked.


Last year he totally surprised us and taught us that he has now reached another stage in his understanding of this whole Christmas thing, I guess it was only a matter of time.

Last year we were all awoken to Christmas music blaring from the TV in the sitting room at 3am. I rushed downstairs to find G waiting patiently on the sofa. Fortunately I’d kind of suspected he knew and as a precaution I didn’t put the presents out the night before as I usually do (just in case my suspicions were right!). I managed to persuade him to go back to bed and when he came up to me in the morning he was rather confused.

Later, much later thankfully (Several videos later), I tried to sneak downstairs to put the presents out but he’d sussed what was happening and followed me. I led him into the kitchen and he sat at the table, watching the door and waiting for the call to come through to the sitting room. He even ignored the chocolate his Dad gave him to encourage him to stay there (the first time ever he’s refused chocolate!)

Last year we had him home from Christmas Eve until the 28th but by Boxing Day he was handing me his shoes (which usually tells me he wants to go home!) We always have a house party with family and friends on Boxing day and they love to see him, he’s always enjoyed it but last year I wasn’t sure!

We decided there and then we’d make his visit shorter next year.

Christmas present

I’m really, really looking forward to Christmas this year. This year I have all the kids home!…Yippee…but I know it won’t always be so. Earlier in the year I started to panic a bit thinking neither of the girls would be here only to get a message from T saying she’s coming with her Boyfriend and then a few days later another from Ollie saying she’d be here too. I was one happy Mumma!!

I’ve got him lots of new DVD’s a mug that plays the Wombles tune when you tip it, a DJ mat that plays music and a few other bits and pieces including this…

15397_10151217292039023_841653838_n (1)






I think he’ll like the biscuits inside it more than the tin!!


G’s back on Christmas Eve and we’ve arranged for some of his staff to come and collect him on Boxing day. We’ll give him the option to go home if he wants to but if he wants to stay that’s okay too. I’m leaving it totally up to him instead of assuming.

Christmas yet to come

The last twenty two years has taught me not to even try to predict the future…this young man continues to surprise me with what he knows, understands and the choices he makes.

I’m kind of guessing that as both the girls have boyfriends they will need to split Christmas’s between families (Just like we did!) They will eventually have their own families and start their own traditions. They’ll make Christmas what they want it to be for their own kids, but, what about G?

A friend of mine said quite recently “but, then you and “Victor” can go away or visit friends and do your own thing!”

I’ve always assumed that’s what other parents do when their kids grow up not ours. I’ve always thought that we will always have to consider G…but now I’m not so sure. Maybe, just like his sisters he’ll decide he has other choices too…who knows?

So, I’m going to stop worrying about Christmas yet to come and just enjoy this one. Some things I can predict though. I predict there will be an early start. I predict there will be an excited and happy young man eager to open his presents. I predict he will dominate the TV and I won’t get to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas special and I predict there will be CHOCOLATE!!  And lots of it!!

Happy Christmas everyone!! xx

About Oxfordshire Family Support Network

Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN) is a not-for-profit organisation run by and for family carers of people with learning disabilities – both children and adults. Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OXFSN) was set up in 2007 by family carers who wanted to use their experience to help others in the same situation, based on our belief that family carers are experts by their lived experience.
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7 Responses to Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come

  1. Hilary says:

    If he decides to stay at home with his favourite housemates one year I guarantee that he will have an equally good time – all part of growing up!

  2. Jan Roast says:

    Lovely Gail – it makes me wish Gem could tell me more about what she likes and doesn’t in a way which I can understand. Will she want to be a bridesmaid inn January? I can’t tell but I am hoping so…..

    Happy Christmas to you all and have a lovely (but probably tiring) time with all the family.

    Much love

    Jan 2 xx

    • emptynestmum says:

      I’m sure she’ll love it. Happy Christmas to you too Jan x

    • Hilary says:

      Christmas means very little to Ellie, so we usually let her have a quiet day at her own house. She really enjoyed being a bridesmaid at her sister Kate’s wedding some years back – she had a lovely day. The other bridesmaid was an old school friend of my daughter’s who had known Ellie since she was a baby. We have some beautiful photos of the day, and it meant a lot to Kate to have her little sis as a bridesmaid.

  3. Magi says:

    Happy Christmas. Thank you for the blogs which have kept me going throughout the year, whilst Christmas will just be another day for my son – it will still be special because he is who he is xx

    • emptynestmum says:

      Hi Magi, thanks for your lovely words, I’m glad you enjoy them. hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas however you celebrate it and I hope your son enjoys it too, even if it is just like any other day x

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