Pete and I have never spent Christmas entirely alone, and this year will be no exception, with 8 year old Bernard making it worth all the effort. But for the first time ever, there will be no extended family involved. A few months ago, I was asked by a friend to be her doula. I gave it some thought, and agreed, and it turns out that her baby is due in early January. The on-call period we’ve agreed covers christmas, but excludes 24/25/26 December. This is going to be my driest December in a long time.
Initially we didn’t know she would exclude those dates, so thinking I was actually on call over christmas itself, we made lots of contingency plans. And this is how we came up with Pentival (named by Pete, blame him).
Pentival starts on our traditional start-of-christmas day, which is the winter solstice, 21st December. It’s a Sunday so we’re all off work, and provided I’m not at the birth then we will do some or all of the following: go geocaching, give each other nice presents of sensible things like cosy pyjamas, eat pancakes, light candles.
Pete has to work on the 22nd and 23rd, provided I’m not at the birth, so we’ve planned some things for me and Bernard: Monday is going to be clearing out space for new stuff, giving away old toys and things to charity, and donating to the foodbank. We might make mince pies for the foodbank too. Tuesday is going to be games and movies day, possibly going to see Paddington if it’s still on at the cinema provided I’m not at the birth, and getting takeaway pizza for tea. This is, in Bernard’s opinion, the very pinnacle of luxury dining.
By Christmas Eve, there is no more “provided I’m not at the birth” for a few days, so the first thing I’m going to do is get monumentally drunk. Pete is proudly a quarter Polish, and as you know we have long had Hungarian connections, so we are going to have a sort-of Hunpolish style Christmas with Pörkölt (what you would call goulash) and yule log, if we haven’t already done that. I know the real tradition in eastern Europe is fish soup, but that’s where I draw the line. We are planning a Together Present for the 24th, which will probably be premium membership to geocaching.com and the release of a few trackables. This will mean nothing to most of you.
And then on the 25th, with no grandparents to satisfy, we can do whatever the hell we please. At the moment, this is likely to be a long geocaching walk with a picnic, and then come home to roast beef, yorkshire pudding, and all the fixins. And at some point, the presents. If it rains, then just presents.
That’s our plan for this year; what’s yours?