Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Time to count your blessings.

Well it's that time of the year again and it's getting harder to ignore it! Christmas is fast approaching and until this weekend I was trying to do an 'ostrich act' and hide my head in the sand and pretend it wasn't happening. I sound like the Grinch, when in actual fact I really quite enjoy the run up to Christmas, once I get started. I love seeing the shops festooned in decorations and I sing along to the Christmas music blasting out over the sound system. So what's happened to make me stop ignoring it?

This weekend past my hubby and I went to visit our son and daughter-in-law. Our first grandchild is on the way and our son wanted his dad to help him put together the cot and a chest of drawers for the baby. On Saturday however we decided to go out to visit Chatsworth house, a stately home near Bakewell. We arrived expecting to see grand rooms decorated with priceless works of art and sculptures. In one respect we were correct in our assumptions, but what we didn't expect was to enter a world of Pantomime! The day before the house as it usually is, closed for the season and instead rooms that were normally closed to the public were open, but with a twist. We should have realised when the lady at the ticket desk said that we should turn right instead of the usual left, that something different was going to greet us!

As we ascended the few steps up into the corridor, we were greeted by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! At the end of the corridor we turned left to walk along streets paved with gold and passed Dick Whittington and his cat resting on their journey to London. Then we stepped through a doorway into what should have been the library but which had been transformed into the Darling children's bedroom with Peter Pan flying in through a window. In the opposite corner of the room, stood Captain Hook's pirate ship, with Tinkerbell hovering in the background. In each of the rooms there was a Christmas tree. Each tree was decorated with items relating to the theme of the room. For example, another one of the rooms contained Puss in Boots sitting in a wheelbarrow and the tree here was decorated with cats. In another room Widow Twanky was doing her washing while Aladdin was sitting in a cave surrounded by treasure!

I was in my element! The smile on my face was only outdone by the enormous Beanstalk going up into the roof in the grand staircase of the house! Upstairs the main dining room contained a Gingerbread house and a Witch wandered around beside a large child sized cage. Hastily leaving this room we entered a gallery full of statues covered in cobwebs. There was a chill in the air in this room and in the centre stood a four poster bed on which lay Sleeping Beauty flanked by 2 guards slumped on the spot that they were standing when the Good Fairy cast her spell on them all. If you looked out into the central courtyard you could even see Cinderella’s Glass Coach.

Finally we stepped out of this magical land into the gift shop! However my enjoyment didn’t stop there. The shop was an Aladdin’s Cave of ideas for Christmas presents and I made full use of this opportunity to start my Christmas shopping. At last I had found my Christmas Spirit.

I know that Christmas shouldn’t really be about the presents and the decorations. I’m also very aware that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to celebrate Christmas and that it can be a difficult time of the year for many. This blog may strike you as being a bit frivolous and in many ways it is. But having had dark times in my life, the fact that I can look forward to and enjoy Christmas is actually a sign that I have survived and come through the other side. In the past there have been Christmas’s that I have dreaded and my heart goes out to anyone who is in that position this year.

I can hardly believe that next year we will have a grandchild to spoil for Christmas. After all Christmas is really for kids, young and old. It should be a time when we count our blessing’s, I know that I’ll be counting mine!

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