I love Christmas!! For some reason this year more than some I have felt the Christmas spirit strongly. Maybe its the snow or maybe it goes with aging. If Christmas is not your ‘thing’, maybe a reflection on at least one pleasant aspect of the season will help. I am happy to share the things that I have particularly enjoyed this year.
Oh Christmas Tree
I love the feeling that a decorated tree gives our home. Many of the ornaments have a special memory associated with them. For example, when I was 18 I bought some Christmas ornaments and in spite of the many years that have passed and the many house moves we have made, many have survived. When I see them I wonder what made me buy them – perhaps even then I liked Christmas trees.
This year we had an ‘incident’. The tree was up in all its glory and suddenly it just toppled over – all on its own accord. It was fully decorated and sadly I lost some of the the ornaments from my childhood. After some panic we managed to rig it to the wall but it was like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and it couldn’t stay that way for 2 weeks.
We had to buy a new stand which meant I had to remove all the decorations, fix the tree to being upright and stable and then redecorate. The effort was worth it!
I don’t bake much throughout the year but at Christmas all my baking pans, mix master, kitchen devices and stash of recipes come out. I love to whip up my favourite recipes with a variety of biscotti as my specialty. Other than the delicious taste of biscotti, they are foolproof and so good to dunk into coffee! I also bake shortbread as a homage to English tradition and because I can use my cookie cutters!
I never get tired of Christmas music – in the car and at home. This year I have saved my students from it in my classes. Watch out though I am teaching a few classes before Christmas! It’s not uncommon for me to have the Christmas music blaring loudly while I’m baking. One day it must have been quite loud as our dog, Shelby, took solace on the third floor!
Sadly many people no longer exchange cards but our household sends and receives them. An email Christmas card just doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies! Knowing that someone cared to write the card is meaningful as I assume to be the case at the receiving end. It’s particularly meaningful to receive cards from out-of-town friends and family – a small personal connection.
One of my favourite cards that I anticipate receiving is from my talented sister-in-law, Jane. For many years now she hand paints a seasonal drawing and has them copied into cards. Her work is stellar and this year is no exception – its at the bottom right in the image.
Christmas Eve is my meal to prepare and share with my family and oh boy what food traditions there are with this meal! After a hearty meal the table is cleared for a lively game of ’31’ and ends with the requisite coffee and desserts.
Of course it is also great fun to visit friends and share in their celebration of the season, reconnect with their friends and family and admire their Christmas décor.
Whether Christmas is a happy or not so happy time for you personally, may you find the time and inspiration to reflect on at least one happy memory. And may your actions today be the inspiration for new and positive memories down the road.
And from my favourite author, Charles Dickens:
happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!