The diamond mirror ornaments are from when I was a child.
I love this time of year. Some people say it’s stressful, commercialised and full of arguments. I guess, like anything, it’s all about how you look at it. There are so many things I enjoy about December. So many traditions that I’ve continued from my own childhood and some I’ve created when my children came along.
It all starts on the first of December. We pull out the boxes of decorations, crockery, linen and the Christmas tree. Tinsel is spread out over the lounge room, decorations are exclaimed over and the tree is erected. In amongst the decorations are ones from when I was a child. As I hang them on the tree I think back over previous Decembers. Images flick through my mind of other trees, other locations and other people. Stories are shared as we talk about the year we bought a particular ornament, discuss what happened the previous year and think about people we wish were there with us.
Each one of my children has their own box of ornaments. It contains one for each Christmas they’ve celebrated, with their name and the year written on them. They hang their own ornaments, choosing where to put them on the tree. Our tree certainly isn’t professionally decorated, but all the more beautiful despite the unevenly hung ornaments, the randomly added tinsel and the lights that are sporadically placed.
Ordinary, everyday crockery is left in the cupboard and Christmas themed ones are used instead. Handtowels and tea towels also have Christmas images on them and we make food like spice cake and rum balls. Or in our house, as they are fondly called, rumless balls. Christmas carols are played on the stereo and by the end of the first day, there are bits of tinsel scattered throughout the house from the enthusiastic decorating of every room.
The days are marked off during the month by the presents disappearing from the advent calendar. It’s a numbered board with hooks upon which we hang little bags I made from Christmas material. I love choosing small presents to fill those bags. It’s a lot of fun.
Mistletoe at one month old.
Christmas Day we start out opening presents followed by breakfast. We talk about the Christmas morning our cat, Mistletoe, was born on my daughter’s bed and how even presents were forgotten in the excitement. And of course we have to make a fuss over Mistletoe and wish her a happy birthday. The family gathers together at lunchtime for a variety of foods and we tend to eat far more than we should so that by dinnertime we graze off leftovers.
The tree comes down on the last day of the month and all the decorations return to their boxes, but the stories and memories aren’t forgotten. They linger on as we prepare for the next year, bringing out party poppers, sparklers and glow in the dark sticks as we make ready to celebrate the New Year.