I feel that each year Christmas has come that little bit earlier.
There was a time when Christmas didn’t even think about getting going until two weeks before the day. Occasionally, for those of us old enough to remember, Blue Peter would encourage us to build our very own (burn the house down) advent crown with old coat hangers, tinsel and some tacked on candles! Anyway, they’d get us to make this and maybe some other little decorations would appear.
The very first of the decorations in my mind were always those we picked up from Hainault Forest in Essex. It was always bitterly cold but we’d go and explore to see if we could find some decorative items, ideally mistletoe and holly (with berries) so mum could make her yearly arrangement with the never were alive fake Robin’s on. There was something magical about that. Magical and not a little cold, muddy and damn right miserable being told not to bring the mud into the car so boots had to be removed and put in the, erm, boot I assume. It was wet, uncomfortable and, back in the day, every part of the car was really, really cold and, no seat belts of course.
Indeed, my first memory is as a baby of me looking up at the ceiling decorations from my pram. Of course, it puzzled me for years that memory as there were no words. It was only when I described what I could see to mum she worked out I couldn’t have been more than 6 months old, which fits considering I was born in June! I remember the feeling, even now 57 year later I can tune into that feeling I had back then. Like I say, I cannot put it into words because this was a time when I didn’t think in words, only feelings. I wish you could feel that just now.
It doesn’t take much to get a child excited about Christmas, it’s a natural thing to see colour, sparkles and smiling faces and it’s just pure joy.
But, we are all children, the sooner we accept that the better our lives become.
We do have this idea of Christmas of course, no real basis to it seeing as it was effectively a glorious time, thousands of miles away and somewhat hot and yet, our idea of a typical Christmas looks more like this:
Of course, it’s rarely ever like that, for the most part it is overcast, likely drizzling rain and neither cold or warm, just a nothing so of day but, we have our dreams of the weather we expect so, let’s put it into pictures …
As you can see, lovely and ideal but, rarely anywhere near Christmas! Far more likely to be February or March for snow and some years we don’t get it at all.
Christmas is, of course, never the same on our own and sharing it with the person or people we love makes it that special time. But even strangers if we give them a friendly smile, ask them how they’re doing and make them feel wanted can share in the season.
Part of it also is heading to the stores and seeing the displays, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I am about to take my second Covid test, hopefully it’s negative but I am feeling rather poorly if I am honest but, there are tons of things it could be so I am not worried but … it does make me think. Life is so precious, so short and if we get a feeling we want to do something and we can do it, shouldn’t we?
Those who, of course, we won’t share another Christmas with give us all the more reason to make this time the very best it can be.
So, here is to Christmas to defrosting Michael Bublé, buying the gifts and slicing through family politics and, perhaps, a time to pray for how lucky we are for having such amazing memories.