December to me is the day where I wake up in the early morning, when the light begins to gently filter through the blinds, I look outside and it appears to be raining paper. Standing at the window, every year without fail I am transfixed by the pure white flakes that appear as if from a picture book, settling on the urban pavement and juxtaposing the harsh London setting with their wintery hue. They dance through the air; spinning and leaping and twirling like ballet dancers performing a well-rehearsed routine. They settle in every corner of our humble monochromatic street, creating a blanket of beauty that cocoons the city in it’s chilly embrace.
December to me is waking up in a house that smells of freshly baked gingerbread cookies that throw out an aroma that makes you want to run downstairs and shove your face full of sugary goodness. It’s laughing with my cousins as we hopelessly make an attempt at icing before inevitably ending up in the world’s messiest food fight as the sticky substance is flung around the room and smeared on clothing, hands, faces and threading it’s way though our hair, dying us shades of green and purple and yellow and red.
December to me is lying awake at 10pm on the 24th of December and hearing the soft whispers and giggles of my parents, aunts and uncles as they fill our stockings to the brim. Sweet smelling treats. Illustrious ink pens. Wonderfully weird erasers. It’s all this and more that erupts from the top of the sacks; an eruption of joy that brings and explosion of chaos when 6 pairs of feet run down the stairs the next morning.
December to me is the look on our faces when we run into the living room on Christmas morning. It’s the Christmas Tree that stands proudly in the window, glowing with an amalgamation of every colour imaginable that’s wrapped around its tall figure. Ravishing reds and poignant purples dress the tree in a coat of joy and the care with which we place each bauble evident in the delicate balance of branches. A carpet of pine needles stretches out across the floor, battling the carpet in a fight for dominance of the creaky wooden floorboards. They fight with the seemingly hundreds of perfectly wrapped parcels piled under the tree from our far too indulgently generous parents. They are in every possible colour, shape and size. They range from tiny tins to ginormous boxes that hold whichever new piece of gaming kit is fashionable that year, or a giant Barbie dream house that will take several hours and several hundred curse words to construct. The presents look as if they’re tumbling out from the tree, admired by 6 bleary-eyed, awed children and we have grins from ear to ear plastered on our faces.
December to me is the decadent dinner that seems to be every meal rolled into one, served by my incredibly talented aunt who every five minutes appears to go and pull another four dishes out from the seemingly endless oven. No-one will ever be able to convince me there is any taste better than a sausage and bacon roll dipped in cranberry sauce and homemade bread sauce quickly followed by a Yorkshire pudding dipped in gravy. It’s also the laughter and the jokes and the teasing that accompanies that meal as the world seems to stop for a moment and nothing is better than the enjoyment of a Christmas dinner with my family.
December to me me is the hour after we rip open our presents and before Christmas dinner when we all sit in a giant bedroom fiddling with a random bundle of objects, eating far too many sweets while attempting to simultaneously play a card game and hold 3 different conversations. It’s leaning against a radiator huddling under a duvet with my five best friends while watching the same movie we always watch which is definitely far too inappropriate for my 9-year-old cousin but it’s Christmas Day and the adults are downstairs drinking champagne and fiddling with a random bunch of objects, eating far too many sweets while attempting to simultaneously play a card game and hold 3 different conversations and we don’t care because we are so, so happy and there is nowhere else in the world we would rather be.
December to me me is the 6 days between Christmas Day and New Years Eve where it may or may not randomly snow because the English weather is as unpredictable as the 9 million people in London because no-one knows what day it is or what is actually going on. The entire British population is living off sandwiches concocted from Christmas Day leftovers. It’s the walk we go on every year the day after Christmas in some attempt to pretend to be *healthy* and chasing each other through the woods. It’s spending three hours building a den out of sticks which we then abandon after 5 minutes because building the den is far more interesting than having said den and it’s the UK in late December and if you aren’t moving you’re probably going to freeze to death.
December to me is realising it’s New Years Eve and racing to the shops in a blind panic because it’s NEW YEARS EVE and there’s no food or alcohol left in the house and we’re supposed to be hosting a party for 50 that evening. It’s the moment my aunt stands at the bottom of the stairs and shouts at us to get downstairs and we spread out across the kitchen preparing various elements of the meal loudly singing along to Christmas music because we’re still in denial that it’s another 259 days until Christmas again and that school starts again in 2 days.
December to me is that evening where there are 50 adults in our house and we’re all in a room upstairs lying on someone’s bed watching a movie off an iPad and sending someone out to scavenge for canapés and the brownies that my mum makes because they are the most delicious thing in the world. It’s toasting in a New Year with friends and family and being allowed alcohol for the only time in an entire year by adults who are slightly too intoxicated to realise what they’re offering to my 9-year-old cousin.
December to me is the most magical time of the year because it’s the time that I get to go home.