Matthew Munson: Christmas has arrived and memories will be made

Matthew and Bryan at the panto

Well, here it is. Christmas has arrived. Feliz Navidad. Joyeux Noel. And so on.

My Christmases have changed something chronic in the past few years, ever since I became a dad, and it’s a privilege to share this time of year with Bryan. He loves Christmas so very much, and it’s possible that presents might have something to do with it, but he loves having family around him – and I certainly can’t argue with that.

We went to the Marlowe panto this week, which was fantastic as ever; Ben Roddy, the dame, has been doing panto for over 20 years, a lot of which has been at the Marlowe. He has such a confidence on the stage, and the rest of the cast were so engaging; Bryan was entranced, and he loved sitting on the front row – he even got a thumbs up from the dame at the end, which put him on cloud 9. It’s become a proper family tradition now, which I intend to keep up for as long as Bryan wants to keep going. The Marlowe put on shows that, in my opinion, are as good as those in the West End, and it’s right on our doorstep. We’ve got tickets booked for next year already – oh yes we have!

I’ve worked for a couple of days this week, and Bryan has spent some quality time with his nan and granddad whilst I’ve been beavering away – he thoroughly enjoys the time he spends with them, and I can focus on my work without feeling too guilty. Being a parent (single or otherwise) is a constant juggling act, but Bryan and I had found our groove, at least for the moment.

Christmas Day for us will be spent with each other and with my parents, and then we’ll be travelling up post-Christmas to meet up with his brother and sister for a couple of days. That’s always a lot of fun, and I know we’ll have a lovely time making some memories; when Bryan looks back on his childhood, these are the sorts of things I sincerely hope he remembers.

Oh, while I remember, we did something a bit unusual this week, and I’m so glad we did. On Monday, we went to Board at Home in Ramsgate, which sells board games and also offers a room where you can spend time playing board games to your heart’s content. Bryan and I met them at Ellington Park’s Christmas Fair a couple of weeks ago and decided to try it out.

I’m so glad we did; it was a lot of fun. We were there for about two or three hours in the end and tried out four different games – and could have easily tried a hundred more, such was the selection. We’ve made a mental note of what we want to try next time … and the time after … and so on. It’s lovely that a shop like this exists; I’m not into computer games very much, and neither (at the moment) is Bryan, so a shop full of other types of games is a great way to spend an afternoon.

I’d be interested to know if anyone else goes down to the boats in Ramsgate Harbour over Christmas? It’s become something of a tradition in the town, and I took Bryan down late Friday afternoon to have a look, and also to have a Cafe Nero hot chocolate and mince pie – another little tradition of ours. I love looking round the lights on the boats; there’s something quite relaxing about it, and I always think that I should take Bryan out on a seal-watching boat trip that’s advertised. I like trying out new experiences with him and giving him memories of us spending time together, either at home or out in our community – and let’s face it, our community here in Thanet is pretty darn lovely.

I’d like to end this week’s column by wishing you all a lovely week doing whatever you do. From time to time, people stop me and mention that they read this column, which I am always thrilled to discover. You’re all brilliant – happy Christmas from me and Bryan.


  1. Merry Christmas to you and Bryan. It’s always lovely to read what you’ve been up to and your positive column is a breath of fresh air. Long nah it continue! Sending you both very best wishes for 2023.

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