Happy Holidays: Shirley


Listen to the audio recording of this message.

Hello, and welcome to our virtual Christmas home!

I’m so proud of you for everything you do, most of all because you keep breathing in and out. That’s all you’ll ever have to do to make me proud of you! How you identify matters greatly, and I love you for it.

Virtual welcome to our home! We will be decking the tree this weekend – we bought it last weekend and it is sitting in our back garden right now in a bucket of water. There’s no snow so far this year, but it’s sometimes been frosty in the mornings. We’ll be decking the rest of the house as well – perhaps you could help me make the wreath for the door? I’ve made our Christmas cards already and will be posting them this weekend.

Can you imagine being with us – there are 4 of us living here, but next Saturday there will be 12 of us sitting down to dinner – a tradition called Pre WB Tea – a meal we share with our best friends and their family before they go to visit grandparents for Christmas – at least they did when the grandparents were alive, but we carry on the tradition every year. We always eat the same meal, as well – gammon roasted in cider, honey and cloves, with roast potatoes and vegetables, and lots of chocolate desserts. Everyone has a cracker present – it started off when I made crackers instead of buying them, but the presents wouldn’t fit in. Now I don’t try, you get an extra little present on your plate when you sit down. Our dining room will be very full – every year I wonder if we will fit around the table, but a miracle happens each time and we do!

Next Sunday there will be 18 of us eating together, a meal known as Post Church Christmas Lunch – with our 4 closest families from church – we started doing this as we didn’t meet as a church over Christmas as we didn’t have our own building, we do now but still meet up. We eat the same food each year – beef in Guinness, chicken in white wine and lemon, and baked salmon. We have lemon tart for dessert, and then whisky. The children are all grown up now, but when we started doing this, they were all small, some not even born! The eldest is 29, the youngest is 11!

Then on Christmas Eve we will be sharing dinner with the grandparents of our foster children – they’ve been coming for dinner on Christmas Eve for 15 years now, ever since we fostered their grandchildren. One of them still lives with us. The other is a vegetarian, so every year I make her quorn tandoori pretend chicken, while the rest of us eat beef.

You will have a stocking hanging by the fire with everyone else’s, and on Christmas morning, you get to open your stocking presents then we have a full English breakfast. Then we go to church while our turkey Ballantine cooks. We will have dinner while the Queen’s speech is on, and then watch films after we’ve eaten.

I’ve just realized how much of our Christmas traditions seem to revolve around food – it’s really about spending good times with friends and family, and that involves sharing meals together.

When it’s time for you to leave, I hope you will take some of our love with you, and remember there’s a house in England where you belong and are loved for just being you.

Lots of love,



  1. Shirley says:

    Thank you for sharing the love and joy of Christmas with us! It sounds like it would be a lot of fun to be apart of your family Christmas traditions 🙂

  2. Tommy Costner says:

    Thank You Mamma Shirley, Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    Keep on inspiring us to be all we can, while staying true to ourselves.

    • Shirley says:

      Happy Christmas, Tommy! Yes, be true to yourself and reach for the sky, you can do anything you set your mind to, whatever you do, I’ll be so proud of you, much love xoxoxoxo

  3. Trans Mom says:

    So lovely to share in your holiday celebration from across the pond. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  4. Jenn says:

    thank you Shirley, so much. I loved hearing your voice describe all of these beautiful and tasty traditions…heart and soul and welcome through food and feasting and good company… just love it. many blessings to you and yours.

    • Shirley says:

      Hello Jenn, and there was I worrying that my Northern accent would be difficult to understand 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful Christmas xoxoxo

  5. Shamama says:

    LOVE this, waving across the miles Mama Shirley! All your traditions just might make the Christmas Spirit burst wide open!

    • Shirley says:

      Hello Shamama, let’s hope so! I love Christmas; spending time with my family and friends is so precious to me. I just wish everyone could do so whilst being free to be themselves. Its so easy to take for granted what I have; surrounded by people who love and support me. That’s my hope for everyone xoxoxo

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