Christmas is massive in our family, it always has been and always will be. It’ll be 26 Christmases this year that I’ll have spent at my Grandma & Grandad’s home in the Lake District, that’s every single Christmas from being just four weeks old surrounded by the people who matter the most to me. We have some great traditions and they have just been carried on as our family has grown with the addition of my two cousins who now that I’m older keep the Christmas spirit alive, it’s also a time for us to remember the traditions set by those who sadly are no longer with us too.
That’s all that matters to us at Christmas, not the gifts under the tree (although we do go pretty all out!) but it’s the time spent as a family. That’s the meaning of Christmas in our house. With Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve with a trip to the local cinema, followed by an early night with all eight of us and the smallest dog of the family heading up the stairs singing ‘Jingle Bells’ to my youngest cousin as my Grandma frantically shakes some jingle bells we head to the bathroom to look out to see if we can see Santa and his Reindeer in the night sky. It wasn’t until I was about 18 that I actually discovered that the ‘Santa’ we see in the sky from the bathroom window in my Grandparent’s house is actually the tailing of the last of the Christmas Eve traffic on the M6 in the distance. With empty roads and a few cars and lorries making their journeys home for Christmas, it’s a perfect illusion of Santa across the night sky.
For the family of 8 (and two dogs) who sit nestled in front of the fire, ontop of the hill in a sleepy Lake District town, exchanging laughter, playing board games and of course laughing about the sweets left in the bottom of the tub that nobody likes, it’s a time for celebration for us. For some families, it’s not always possible to spend the festive times altogether. For service men and women, for those in the NHS and the fire and rescue and the police services there’s no rest around the holidays, even Santa doesn’t get to spend the best day of the year with his family so we often reflect on just how lucky we are as a family to year in and out, spend Christmas together.
This holiday season Holiday Inn Express wanted to change three lucky people’s Christmases, so they set out on social media to find families who are separate at this time of year due to working or living overseas with their ‘What Matters Most’ campaign. They reunited three sets of families at the Holiday Inn Express in Ealing as an early Christmas gift. Check out their video and make sure you’ve lots of tissues at hand because if you’re anything like I am around this time of year you’re going to be wiping away those tears with this moving video.
Feeling a little tender after that? Holiday Inn Express are having a party on Twitter from 10am and you’re all invited, check out the hashtag #WeKnowWhatMatters! So what are you waiting for? Head over there now get yourself a virtual seat and enjoy what they’ve got in store for you (you have to supply your own mince pies!)