Writing about December always makes me feel a bit back to front. The new year has started, yet here I am still dwelling over 2017. If we’re being honest here, I’m still dwelling over, like, 2014, but whatevs. Welcome to 2018, Most Ardently Alice. It’s a new, squeaky clean year, but let’s not get too het up on ‘new year, new me’ and all those changes that we’re meant to get crackin’ on. The whole thing is starting to put me a tad on edge, expecting something to finally give, to change. I don’t want to be disappointed, so 2018 (and beyond) is going to be all about taking my life into my own hands, and not counting on some concept of time. And this is where I’ll document it all, so here’s to more oversharing and my look back at gorgeous, wonderful December, the last month of 2017.
I promise I’m not clutching onto Christmas for dear life now that January is here and we’re slap bang in the middle of January-back-to-work-blues. That’s fine, I can just about deal with that. But this festive season felt like it deserved documenting, especially seeing as this time last year I did a pretty good job of showcasing exactly how I was feeling, which was… not so good. Last Christmas was pretty rough. Don’t worry, I didn’t go giving away my heart or anything stupid like that. For goodness sake, Wham. As things go, I was actually already heartbroken before that point, with the end of uni and blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it all before. It wasn’t good, especially when working in it’ll-make-you-dead-inside retail, with shifts either side of Christmas Day. I was massively lost and very unhappy.
Things have got considerably better, as you can read in my 2017 letter. Even with little blips along the way, I can’t deny that, however small, there have been changes in the last year and I feel marginally stronger and better. But I didn’t expect this Christmas to be as good as it was. In fact, I thought it would be so quiet, especially by gobby Marshall family standards. All my siblings were spending their respective Christmas Days with in-laws and together as their own little units. So it was just me and my parents and a pub Christmas dinner, which didn’t feel very festive or cheery at all.
Christmas Day was actually kind of perfect. Although the big family, loud, boisterous celebrations I’m used to will always be my preference, the pace this Christmas was relaxed and cosy. We got up, got ready and I unearthed some fab new non-fiction reads in my stocking. We took some polaroids and I was able to curl up with a consuming book by the fire before and after our pub lunch. Plates were licked clean, as well as an all important sip of prosecco. Later on, my sister Emily, Ben and my freakin’ adorable niece Eva rocked up after they’d demolished their own lunch and joined us for presents and giggles. And then, of course, later that evening I threw myself down in front of the tele and watched the glorious 2 hour Christmas special of ‘Victoria’, my one true royal love (Meghan Markle beat me to the other one).
Other festive period highlights:
- Boxing Day was like our second Christmas Day, although we still weren’t quite a full house. Being the youngest of five means finding one day to suit all isn’t always a success. With lots of finger food, elderflower prosecco and stretching into a game of Twister and Kerplunk, I felt so full and content. The little ones enjoyed more present opening, doing yoga on the Twister sheet and stealing yet more crisps from the table.
- The 27th was my dad’s birthday and there was, no I’m not kidding… snow! The slightest sprinkling, but snow nonetheless. We’d already made plans for a pub lunch and a nice countryside walk and it just so happened that it was to take place on higher up land. Low and behold our walk consisted of enough inches of snow that we could have a good old crunch through and it looked pretty Winter Wonderland-esque. As we threw snowballs at each other and took pictures I had another wave of utter happiness to be with another fraction of my giant, ever-expanding family.
- We went ice skating — if you could call my nervous shuffle that. As is always the case, when our hour session was almost up I was finally looking less like Bambi and more like Torvald and Dean. Well, uh, almost anyway. It was a lot of fun, especially watching my dad, hunched over, staggering along and Mum taking it in her stride like a pro.
- ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott ★★★
- ‘The Hating Game’ by Sally Thorne ★★★★
- ’36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You’ by Vicki Grant ★★★★
- ‘Eliza and Her Monsters’ by Francesca Zappia ★★★★★
- ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ by Rupi Kaur ★★★★★
- ‘You Don’t Know Me But I Know You’ by Rebecca Barrow (thanks to Harper Teen!)
- ‘Women & Power’ by Mary Beard
- ‘How To Be A Grown Up’ by Daisy Buchanan
- ‘What Happened?’ by Hillary Clinton
- ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- ‘Batman: Nightwalker’ by Marie Lu (thanks to Penguin!)
- ‘Almost Midnight’ by Rainbow Rowell
- ‘Snow Falling’ by Jane Gloriana Villanueva
- ‘Eliza and Her Monsters’ by Francesca Zappia
- ‘A Love Oz YA Anthology’ (thanks to Harper Teen!)
This monthly summary is a bit all over the place. I haven’t decided if I want to stick to the same structure as last year or shake things up a bit. But for now… I wanted to get down how Christmas was for me, because it was so startlingly different from last year. See you at the end of January!