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gillian.loney.

IT'LL all be over this time next week - the leftovers will be wrapped in foil in the fridge and those socks gran bought you will be relegated to the back of the drawer.

The festive season seems to roll around faster each year and you find yourself reciting the same lines like a Great British meme: "Can't believe it's Christmas next week" or "I just don't feel Christmassy this year".

I've had a long love/hate affair with this time of year. The bright lights, festive tunes, the parties and a running loop of Christmas films have always been my thing - there's nothing like baking up a storm of edible gifts while watching Elf for the umpteenth time or belting out the words to Christmas Wrapping.

But there's a tinge of sadness to the season, too. Anyone who has ever lost someone knows that with Christmas comes the reminder of loved ones who can't be there for a singsong or another helping of turkey.

This year marks my ninth Christmas without my Mum around to insist on a Mamma Mia! singalong, or my Dad unwrapping the obligatory yellow jumper.

"My Christmas" ceased to exist almost a decade ago. Nowadays there are no Cadbury's Roses at 10am, no retro prawn cocktail for starters and no one picking out the teariest of tearjerkers to watch, stuffed and emotional, after a mammoth turkey dinner.

That Christmas has been replaced with fragments of my family's traditions, usually done with a wee lump in the throat, and new, cheerier must-dos - picking out a real tree with my other half and humphing it up three flights of tenement stairs, or saving The Muppet Christmas Carol (undeniably the best festive film) until at least the 23rd.

I'm not the only one left with a touch of sadness at Christmas time. Take a look at Facebook and you'll find it awash with sentiments about those spending it on their own, whether they're far from loved ones or living alone.

Thankfully, I'm neither of those things and this year, like others, will be spent with in-laws who have made me feel welcome for almost a decade - even if they do skip the prawn cocktail.

I doubt there are many of us who make it through December unscathed.

We're all bound to have sad moments when faced with the "most wonderful time of the year". You can't have the highs without the lows.

It may be just a bit harder than those early Christmases, when a new bike or Santa's milk and cookies were the only things on your mind but there's just as much to be said for closing down the pub on Christmas Eve.

But perhaps that's what it's all about as an adult, paying a nod to the sad parts and fully embracing the happy bits, cheesy as they are, while making new festive traditions along the way.

'My Christmas' ceased to exist almost a decade ago

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 19, 2018
Words:490
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