Breathe out and breathe in the real meaning of togetherness

You made it then. You survived Christmas Day for another year.

Are you still talking? Will your mam ever forgive you for going to your in-laws this year?

Will your Auntie Sylvie, who’s not your real auntie, remember that funny turn she had after lunch?

And did you have to hide the port from Uncle John?

If so, well good for you. Well done.

Ignore the bags of recycling stuffed with discarded paper and let the turkey roasting tray soak for another day.

Today, Saturday, it’s all for you.

The day after the day after Boxing Day is elasticated waistband day.

It’s the day to reflect. It’s the day to delve into the second layer of the Milk Tray even though the top layer isn’t yet finished.

It’s the day to do something a bit mad like sign up for a half marathon in the new year.

It’s also the day when everything is possible… as long as you can do it sitting down.

Many people go for a brisk walk on this day. I don’t recommend it.

If you go anywhere go to Chepstow for the Welsh Grand National.

I’ll be there spending the £10 I got in a card from someone vaguely related.

(Don’t you think they should make Christmas versions of cash so that the cash-in-a-card thing is a bit more festive? But anyway, that’s by the by).

Yes, I’ll be in Chepstow hopefully turning £10 into something a bit more substantial to put to good use in the sales; not quite water into wine or the virgin birth but if I do get a winner it really will be a miracle.

Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, Brother-in-law, we’ll all be chancing our arm and, no doubt, having our photos taken next to the Six Nations Cup which is also there.

Seeing as Son decided on December 22nd that he was only going to take off his new Welsh kit (courtesy of Mamgu) ‘when he grew out of it’ and seeing as he’s so far true to his word, that’ll be a picture and a half.

Where is Husb, you may well ask. Husb is playing the most important golf of his life.

He is not taking my Sit-On-Your-Bum advice. He is playing Royal Porthcawl.

It’s his favourite club in the whole world and he wants to make a good impression. He’s suggesting Porthcawl as our next summer holiday destination and is sizing up holiday cottages in Nottage. I grew up going to Porthcawl on holiday and, to be fair, I can’t see much wrong with a caravan down Trecco Bay.

But then, Husb’s a bit posh.

In the night we’re all up Auntie Jenna’s for the premiere of Sister’s Wedding Video.

There’ll be nibbles, there’ll be giggles, there’ll be cousins galore. I can’t wait.

This is what Christmas is about eating too much, laughing too much.

You let your hair down and your waistband out. You empty out your pockets and your hearts until you’re well and truly spent.

Just before Christmas I went to an If Carlsberg Did Neighbourhood Christmas Parties party.

It was in Rhoose. It was all created by a man called Patrick who, according to his lovely daughters Louise and Jess is ‘just a bit mad’. It was said it with a smile and there was nothing that you couldn’t just beam at.

He created a near-life-size nativity scene out of an old storage box and a delivery of wood.

This was centre stage amid a gazebo which had to be drilled to the floor because the weather forecast was for gales.

The gazebo was filled with hay. There was a delicious pony called Holly, who really wanted to be a reindeer covered with sparkling lights (available for parties!!) who gave the children rides.

Patrick provided carol sheets. Peter Holly provided the music. There were pork baps that were to-die-for and a never-ending carousel of sweets and biscuits that made Six and Four-Year-Old dizzy.

Why did he do it? Just because.

And isn’t that really the most wonderful, most Christmassy, most generous reason of all?

He made memories that day that will last forever.

Maybe today isn’t about breathing out after all.

Maybe it’s a day when you turn to those who make/made Christmas for you and say, quite simply, thank you.

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