The room was dark when I woke up at 5am on Christmas morning and it was still dark when I woke up again half an hour after that. I couldn’t sleep too well, my mind was overwhelmed with the excitement of the chaos that would start in a couple of hours time yet felt like forever. I remember when I was a child, when trying to sleep, in that place between asleep and awake, a couple of nights before the big day… I would become so excited for Christmas day that I would convince myself that Christmas Eve,Eve was actually Christmas Eve and Christmas day was just that bit closer. I used to be so excited I could almost burst and as a child I didn’t think that it would get much better than those precious years of ‘believing’ and the magic of it all, surrounded by friends and family, cheer and fun.

Maria Noell

I was wrong.

Because when my bedroom door swung open at 7.30am, on Christmas morning and I could hear little voices telling me that ‘it was Christmas day and Santa may have been’ before I had even opened my eyes… I knew then… Nothing could beat this feeling in my heart at Christmas time.

And also before I had opened my eyes, I had flung my legs over the side of the bed, thrust myself into the lingering darkness, threw on some fluffy socks and an oversized shirt and scraped my hair back out of my face. This mama was ready for it.

I looked into the faces that those little voices belonged to and I will never be able to truly describe what I saw. I won’t do it justice. I could only really throw words around like excitement, eagerness, hope, joy, cheer… It was all there as they jumped from foot to foot. Noah and Ellenah held hands and waited a little longer for the moment that they had been waiting for. Every word that I could use to describe how I once felt, as I waited at the top of the stairs for my Dad to ring the Christmas bell, to then hearing it ring and practically launching myself down two flights of stairs into Christmas… I could see every word behind Noah’s big hazel eyes which are the same as mine…and behind Ellenah’s smile, it was the biggest I think I have ever seen it. I could see the words. Christmas was ooozing from them. It was beautiful.

Maria Noell

My heart thumped in my chest as I stood at the bottom of the stairs watching their little feet shift around the top two steps, too excited to stay at the top but too nervous to stray closer until they had heard the sound of the bell, the one that we have had since 2009, Noah’s first Christmas., the one that we ring every year.

My heart warmed to see them hold hands so tightly in the moment, that they probably thought would never end. I could see them make a childhood memory of each other in front of my eyes. I could see how in the future they would maybe tell their children how they used to wait at the top of the stairs until they had heard the sound of christmas, they may even say ‘we used to hold hands because we were just so excited about everything that would come after… after the first time that we would walk down the stairs on Christmas morning’… I hope that is what they will say. I hope that they will remember that they did that. I hope that they will remember that about each other.

The bell rang.

Thud.Thud.Thud.

Little footsteps trotted down the stairs, eyes peering over the wooden banister and through the balusters to look at the lights of the tree, the gifts and the place by the fire where Santa would have stood not many hours before. They looked at the plate of goodies which had been devoured. They looked for his letter.

His letter meant a lot.

From that moment, the day became a blur. A big toy fest blur.

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Shiny wrapping paper was scattered everywhere, little hands were into all gifts immediately, loving them and wanting to play with everything all at once.

Christmas is not about gifts.

But…the time we spent together playing games, building lego, dressing and undressing Barbie, building robots, colouring in and laughing out loud…that is what mattered to my children.

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Just time. So simple really.

The smiles on their faces and love in their hearts is what mattered to me. The way that Matt and I matter to them… that matters.

Obviously not just at Christmas…

I’m lucky and blessed for that every single day.

Christmas just has a tendency to shine over such feelings and realisations because we give ourselves over to the season and allow ourselves to get lost in all of the people that we love and the things that we do have rather than the things that we don’t.

Again…it all comes down to time, right?

This year, I really understand the song ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’…not for any other reason than the time that we dedicate to family, friends and ourselves. The kindness that we throw around like confetti and the happiness that is oh so infectious.

Why wouldn’t we want every day to be like that?!

Maria Noell

Christmas dinner was gorgeous but we mostly enjoyed the Christmas crackers, the same jokes that we tell and hear with each passing year, the naff toys that end up in the trash quite soon and the brightly coloured hats that rip and never stay on. We overindulged as Christmas intends us to, it’s certainly not every day that you would allow your little ones to eat a large tube of smarties for breakfast, is it?

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria Noell

Maria NoellAnd it was perfect!

Night came too quickly and washed over tired eyes and exhausted little bodies. We carried our children to bed and kissed them goodnight. We listened outside their bedroom door as they discussed what they would do the following day together. They would have talked each other to sleep. They went to bed happy that evening, so happy, so content…

Maria Noell

And as Matt poured us some Jack Daniels over ice, we said the biggest ‘Cheers’ to the best Christmas yet and spent the rest of the Christmas day … in love!

Maria Noell

With Love,

Ria x

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