I feel a little like the Queen, writing a speech for Christmas Day…

Christmas is a time filled with love, friends, family and far too much food and drink. No matter how you celebrate Christmas, or if you don’t celebrate it at all, it’s undeniable that around this time of year there is just a little more sparkle in the air.

I get so excited to come home. To watch the films that I’ve seen 100 times before, listen to my Dad and his friends tell the same stories that I could recite myself and eat all of the food that my Mum has specifically told me is for Christmas Day only.

I love going to the pub that I used to work in, and seeing people that I used to be close to. Even the people that I dread to see, I love to see. Because it shows me how far I’ve come, or how grateful I am for the friends that I have now, or how no one really knows what they’re doing with their lives, even when they tell you that they do. I love dancing under the fairy lights and dancing/falling off of the bar. (My bruises are no joke, and for the man that I took out with my ungraceful landing, I am eternally remorseful.)

I love getting inordinately pissed like Jude Law in the Holiday. I love being allowed to put on weight guilt free. I love the loose but hopeful promises of the New Year. And more than anything I love the tradition, the endless repetition and our determination to do absolutely nothing differently.

Every year, my family have two Christmas’, one with my Mum’s side and one with my Dad’s. This year we’re spending Christmas Day with my Dad’s side in Cheltenham, and then it’s straight up to Liverpool to see the Scousers.

Our Cheltenham Christmas plays out the same. We stay at my Aunty’s on Christmas Eve and I occasionally sneak out to the pub that I mentioned earlier (sorry again to that poor man that saw his life flash before his eyes when I clumsily slipped off of a bar stool) and then we wake up early to see what Santa left. My Aunty still leaves a Mince Pie and a glass of Brandy, despite the fact that I’m the only child in the house, and I’m 22. We put on music, have a bucks fizz and get ready to go and see which ever cousin has dealt the unlucky card of cooking Christmas Dinner for the whole family.

This year it’s my cousin Tan, 30 years my senior and she still drinks me under the table. Every year after dinner she sneaks off to get her ‘special sack’, containing a £1 present for every family member. How she does it I will never know, I got a bra one year, a really nice mug, a bottle opener. I think she steals it all but she would be highly offended if I said that to her face. And then we slump in a heap on the sofas and the floor and don’t move until the first person decides to crawl up to bed.

My Mum’s side is a little different. Every year after we’ve eaten Jess does a quiz. By this time we’re all so pissed that arguments are inevitable. I must admit I love this part. I love a good row. I’m probably responsible for egging everyone on. It’s a good year if no-one cries to be honest.

Apart form partners we’re all girls and let me tell you, eight Scouse blooded women filled with gin and rose is a recipe for disaster. But we love each other and that’s what family is for, and we make up 5 seconds later anyway. We do presents all day long and honestly don’t stop eating. My Nan offends someone by being politically incorrect, (mostly me because I’m “left leaning” as my Dad would say, or my cousin, because she’s a lesbian.) But through all of this, we don’t stop laughing, even during the fights, if you’re not involved, you’re laughing.

I then leave both Christmas’ in a heavy daze. Overdosed on good food, family time and Christmas cheer. Feeling a little heavier, but at the same time a whole lot lighter. Lighter from stress, insecurities, responsibilities and anything negative that’s happened the year before.

Even when my Dad’s embarrassing, my cousins are annoying or I’m so bloated that I can’t sit up without making a groaning noise, I am so thankful for this time of year. That I have a family to spend it with, that I have friends to drink Mulled Wine with and that love actually is all around.

Happy Christmas Everyone, I hope that you have had a day filled with food, booze and laughter and remember how valuable times like this are.

Love you all x

(All 34 of you.)

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