It’s an odd thing that we change so much as we grow older. Odd, but exciting. It’s not just our bodies and faces that change, it’s our opinions, too, isn’t it? And our habits, long ingrained, that give way to new ones. Even if you never move house, if you stay in the place where you were born for the whole of your life, you change. Life is movement. Families alter, like the patterns in a kaleidoscope. Our children leave home, make their own families, change the pattern, yet we stay bound together, the colours repeating themselves in different ways.
Years ago when my boys were young, I drove myself mad at Christmas, crossing every t, dotting every i, ticking every box, following like a brainless sheep – baaaa! - every idea thrown at me from tv or magazines, to create the perfect day.
There had to be masses of presents, mostly useless but good for a giggle.
There had to be a full English breakfast, a three course turkey dinner, a buffet tea. Meals must be served on an artistically decorated table. There must be a door wreath, a welcome bough, a blazing hearth draped with greenery, and twinkling lights, hundreds, everywhere! And cards! And hats! And ..and ..and.. Phew! I was a big mummy spider, frantically weaving my Christmas web.
It’s taken a while, some years, my later years, for me to change and see what it's really all about. It's not about frantic, is it? It’s about peace.
Why didn’t I know this? I did know, of course, it’s in every carol we sing, but I didn’t know it, not really, in head and heart.
It’s not about spending money on people, is it? It’s about spending time on them, with them if possible, but certainly on them, with a phone call, a text, a card or a letter. Connecting.
Or not connecting, if that’s what you need. Time to yourself, a gift of calm, time to think, to reflect, take stock, fill the tank again. However you spend it, Christmas is completely different from normal life, isn’t it? It’s time out, in a different place. I love that.
Let me tell you about my Christmas tree, the heart of my home for the holidays.
It’s a real tree, a beautiful fir tree, dressed with our family collection of decorations, our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows, part of our history. Some are in loving memory, some brand new, some from my childhood, some for my sons and my grandchildren.
There's a Californian one for Si, a guitar for Matt and a lucky black cat for Ben, a humming bird for Phoe and a new silver one for Lucas. For B there's a
one and for me, there are owls, stars and snowflakes, and a
menagerie of animals, sheltering.
Every morning as I come downstairs, I smell the tree. It fills the room with its warm pine scent and makes me feel safe and complete. Happy.
So, no frantic. Just peace.
Wishing you a calm, peaceful time and all love to you and yours this Christmas!