In my house, it became a tradition to sleep on Christmas Day!
I married my late (second) husband in a whirlwind romance. He ran a precious stones’ shop across the way from the fashion store my mother and I owned. He had romance emblazoned on his soul; he sent me dozens of red roses on Valentine’s Day with a note.
The roses filled the shop, literally. Neighbors came out to stare...
The pottery pair (husband and wife team.)
The printer (odd man, but even he was interested)
The hotdog vendor (all eyes and ears)
And, well, everybody else.
It took us a year to decide that we were made for each other and we got married (to the sound of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters in the background) in a small chapel that had a history as long as your arm, gorgeous stained glass windows and a rose garden attached.
He sold all his assets (his house, his shop) and threw in his lot with me (and my mother).
I cannot begin to tell you how successful we were, because it sounds like fairytale nonsense, but the truth is we lived a fairytale life.
The first year of marriage was the training year. I taught him to sew and design, it was so much fun to work with someone else when I’d been used to working on my own. He had a natural flair for fashion and was soon responsible for some of our best selling lines.
Business was exhilarating, an invigorating drug. We ran a manufacturing arm, a retail arm and a human arm. By human arm, I mean that the people who worked in our business were extremely special, it was as if fairy dust was in the air all around us; we could do no wrong.
In that year, I distinctly remember my husband asking me about Christmas.
“What are our plans for the holidays?” He asked me this incongruous question.
He didn’t understand, he had a long, long way to go (the poor man)
Let me tell you about Christmas in our factory and retail shops (we had five stores) : grueling hours of production in anticipation of the rush. The rush began on the sixteenth of December and ended on the fifth of January (or thereabouts). In that rush we would work ourselves to a standstill (seventeen hours a day). All of us. We must’ve had the only establishment that could entertain its staff well enough that they’d work right through Christmas. God, we were a team!
But the question my new husband had asked needed an answer. He didn’t understand. When I told him we would sleep on Christmas and New Year’s Day, he thought I was joking. I cannot tell you the satisfaction I felt when I couldn’t wake him up on Christmas Day, it was an “I told you so” moment. But the underlying excitement of our success, ended in a room full of feathers as a result of my endeavor to get him out of bed. Eventually, we sat on the bed covered in white, while we laughed and laughed until our bones ached.
We used to go on holiday in late January to recover, but the festive period was always a complete blur. I’m not going to recount what happened when the fairy dust disappeared other than to say that the magic lasted for ten indescribably amazing years. We built a fashion empire, but God had other plans.