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Michael’s festive traditions

12 December 2018

Michael’s Christmas traditions usually involve turkey with all the trimmings, wearing silly party hats, and spending time with his family. Read his heart-warming story below and discover how Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is helping him to enjoy these favourite festive traditions with the people who matter most to him.  

For me, my Christmas Day traditions are all about getting the family together, tucking into a festive feast, wearing party hats, pulling crackers and if I’m lucky, enjoying a post-meal snooze on the sofa!

I have two children and five grandchildren, so Christmas really is about spending time with them. Everyone tends to come to our house or one of my sons on Christmas Day and it’s normally a happy chaos. Because the family keeps growing, we now put a massive table in our conservatory and we all pile in there to enjoy our Christmas dinner.

Thankfully, I’m banned from the kitchen on the big day, so it’s normally my wife or my sister-in-law who is on cooking duty. We always go traditional – turkey with all the trimmings. I love that moment, when we’re all sitting around the table, enjoying our food and having a good catch up and laugh with each other. It’s just lovely to see everyone spending time together.

It’s strange but growing up, I never got to spend many Christmases with my family. I worked as an engineer on the buses for 30 years and on Christmas Day, it was normally my duty to stay in the garage and keep an eye on things. But now that I’m retired, I’m so glad that I get to spend the day with my loved ones. As you get older, you realise how precious those moments are and it’s great to be making memories with everyone.

I first came to Birmingham St Mary’s Day Hospice around Christmas time. In fact, my very first day here, I walked in and everyone was wearing silly festive hats and enjoying a Christmas dinner. I was really surprised actually – I didn’t expect to see everyone in such high spirits and having a good giggle with each other!

Within ten minutes, I soon settled in and was nominated to wear the daft turkey hat. My wife joined me on that first day and we had such a good time. I was instantly made to feel welcome and I soon made some really good friends here.

That’s the best bit about coming to Day Hospice and then later Welcome Group – it’s about meeting people who are in a similar situation to you. I’ve met some really wonderful people here and every week, we have a good joke with each other.

And that’s what coming to the Hospice has taught me – life is about having a good laugh and enjoying yourself. The nurses and volunteers are fantastic and they’ve made me realise that even with a life-limiting illness, I can still live life to the full and make plans for the future.

That’s why I can’t wait for Christmas round our house this year. It’s important that I spend time with the family and make memories, and I can’t wait to get us all together to enjoy the big day!

Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us! Here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, we know that Christmas is full of little traditions that make you realise how special life can be. That’s why we’re asking you to give local families who are living with life-limiting illness another Christmas they can treasure.

There are lots of ways to join in with our Care at Christmas campaign this year. From jolly jogs to Christmas cards, recycling your festive fur to celebrating memories of your loved ones, you can find out more by taking a read here.