It's been quite a subdued Christmas this year - my mother has really unpleasant back problems, my sisters partner unexpectedly died earlier this year, my partners father is 93 and has been in and out of hospital. I've had a really nasty cold (and no job), and my mothers dog has had diarrhea (probably because she ate more turkey than the rest of us put together along with quite a few pigs in blankets).
Despite that it's also been a really good Christmas for me, mostly because I've had time to appreciate the people around me. If that sounds a bit trite after 20 years of being lucky to get 2 days off together for Christmas I can't tell you the difference it makes, or how much more I've noticed the effort my mother (particularly struggling with back pain) goes to.
She is also the source of a lot of the books I was given and I really appreciate those too.
I'm excited by all these (sorry for the terrible picture, I'm blaming the cold, and I'm away from home for now so can't get a better one - they'll all get more attention soon). The book at the bottom of the pile is Kate Young's 'The Little Library Year' which is an absolute delight - and apparently half price at the moment in Waterstones. I can particularly recommend it for both tempting looking recipes and being lovely to read. Maybe because Young is from Australia and when she came to the U.K. our seasons were new to her, or perhaps because of the way she takes books as an inspiration as well, it all feels fresh.
The Kate Hawkings book 'Aperitif' is also a joy to read. Mostly though I've been spending time in Kevin Crossley-Holland's folktales. Technically this is a children's book, which has been perfect for someone with a disgusting cold, but it's not childish, and I really love a good folk or fairy tale.
Voyaging Out by Carolyn Trant was a present to myself. It's a history of British women artists from suffrage to the sixties and looks amazing. I haven't bought it away with me but its a big part of my plans for January.