The best gifts…

A car with a smashed windscreen, hotly pursued by a police car with sirens blaring, missed me by inches as it tore round the roundabout. I got home drenched from faffing about in the pond with the sick sturgeon and an unexpected appointment that meant assembling the wheelchair in the freezing downpour…which will teach me not to leave my coat at home. The front door key snapped in the lock and it was no easy task getting in through the back gate against which I’d piled all the bags of garden waste for recycling. The fence had blown down again, so I had to wrestle that back into some semblance of a barrier before letting Ani out into the garden. I finally managed a cuppa then got stuck into the Christmas Eve housework. The hand-wrung laundry had left a puddle on the carpet as it dripped. The vacuum threw in the towel… and threw out all the dust… as soon as I’d polished. Stressed? Me? It’s Christmas… and typical.

There had been a ray of sunshine though. I’d been obliged to pay a reluctant visit to the supermarket and was greeted by a small face wreathed in smiles; her Mum had the same idea… get in and out early before the late shoppers, to buy the breakfast we would share when my granddaughter had opened all her presents. Last year, she was the Christmas present… a grandchild I could cuddle and so tiny it seems incredible to see her now, when I have to chase her on all fours.


So, Christmas morning, sometime in the hours before dawn, I went out. There is something about the silence of Christmas morning that is unmistakable. The roads are empty, the world sleeps until its children wake, then instead of joining the rat race, families gather together around a tree. In that silence, I walked the dog, did dire things to the newly acquired turkey and got organised for a rather impromptu Christmas. Both my sons had asked after my mince pies with a mixture of desire and compliments, so by six o’clock I was elbow deep in flour. A little while later and armed with a batch of steaming mince pies, it was round the corner to my younger son’s home and the infectious smiles of a small, mischievous elf. You can’t help smiling around Hollie… she radiates joy… and the love in that little room was palpable. Watching my son watch his daughter makes my heart smile.


After that, I had an hour to get the rest of lunch prepared. Being a last minute decision… and only the two of us… it was an improvised meal, cobbled together with what I had scrounged from both our larders and the few things bought last minute, but somehow we ended up with the turkey and all the trimmings anyway. I collected Nick, and brought him home for Ani to jump on while I cooked, then we shared Christmas lunch and memories, with carols playing quietly in the background… and suddenly, putting up the tree made perfect sense. The afternoon was spent simply throwing tennis balls, while a laughing dog forcibly cuddled my smiling elder son. They have a special bond… it was Nick who cuddled her all the way home when she came to us and she seems to understand his physical limitations and treats him gently.


I had to smile though as I washed the dishes. I have been responsible for organising Christmas for longer than I care to think. There is so much planning and preparation, so much skimping and saving involved in providing all the traditional things like the piles of neatly wrapped gifts, the mountains of food and baking for the family gathering… Christmas has always been hard work, no matter how much you enjoy the results. The past couple of years have been rather different, with little or no planning, little shopping and much less work and hassle… it is now a far simpler, more laid back affair. But in the new, simpler version there are just as many smiles shared, just as much love and laughter. It has been an education… a real demonstration that the true spirit of Christmas doesn’t lie in the things we do or buy, and the best gifts are found in sharing warmth and smiles with those you love.


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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43 Responses to The best gifts…

  1. Beautiful post Sue and Merry Christmas to you and your family 😀


  2. Susan Scott says:

    Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day! Hope you’re resting … 🙂


  3. Ritu says:

    Merry Christmas Sue’


  4. jenanita01 says:

    you have an actual job too… you really are amazing, Sue.
    We women get a rough deal at Christmastime, even though we say we prefer to do all the organising, just once I would like to be the recipient, just to see what it feels like!
    Best wishes!


  5. ksbeth says:

    beautiful post – merry christmas ) beth


  6. I love the Christmas miracle of learning that it’s about the people, and not the things we do and buy for them. Beautiful sentiment, Sue. And that baby, with the name Hollie and wearing a Santa suit/dress and a brilliant smile. Perfect. ❤️


  7. Merry Christmas Sue, to you and your beautiful gifts.


  8. Angie says:

    Thanks for sharing your day with us! Merry Christmas!


  9. Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us. I always feel like I’ve navigated very deep and treacherous waters when the holiday is over, the food has been served, eaten, complimented. The presents are opened and this year, they were small … more the idea than a major investment and it was just fine. The sun is out today, first time in a week, but snow is expected Monday. I had hoped our warm days would last awhile longer. Here’s to a happy year ahead with success to every endeavor.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I have to say this year Christmas sailed by gently… and that’s rather nice. I could get used to it 🙂 Presents were minimal here too.. and mostly made of time… but it really didn’t matter.
      We still have rain and gales here, though the sun put in a brief appearance this morning, but it is still unseasonably mild and I have a lot of roses, rain-battered, but still in bloom.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. No surprise, I’m sure – but I’m with you on that one, Sue. Glad you had a great day!


  11. Eliza Waters says:

    It must be a function of having grown older and realizing it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ or lavish. We expect less and thus relax and enjoy the company above all else. When our boys were young, it was a lot of work, then if I hosted family, it was even more so. This year was so laid back, I loved it!
    Ani clearly adores ‘her boy’ – sweet photos!


  12. noelleg44 says:

    Christmas is run by Moms, its’ true. I’m happy to read that yours, while hectic, was a good one all the same. I’m sure Nick and Ani appreciated your efforts! Your granddaughter is precious!


  13. reocochran says:

    Your little one in photos, decked in her Santa suit , is adorable. ♡ The beautiful gifts you featured were love, laughter, kindness and family. I wish for everyone to celebrate and have these gifts, Sue. ☆¤☆

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How lovely, Sue, to be able to roll through a peaceful day without as much work as in the past. Your granddaughter looks adorable. Years of magic yet ahead. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ali Isaac says:

    Lovely post about what’s really important. So many trials and tribulations involved in reaching the day though. Your granddaughter looks so cute in her Santa dress!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Such a heart-warming post this one is… 🙂 Simply loved it…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Darcy says:

    Merry Christmas. Lovely post.


  18. Clicking around while I wait for an expected call and stumbled on this older Christmas post. Nick and Hollie – how very Christmas of your tribe.

    Your grand daughter is adorable – and I’m not biased in the slightest. I hope you’ll post new pictures this Christmas – her first that she will really understand what all the fuss is about. I hope you’ll catch at least one with her playing with Ani.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”


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