Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Reflections on Christmas Traditions


How is everyone feeling this morning? Elated, excited, or ‘it’s over till next year! Was it a sensual experience? Mine was, in a different sort of way. Still enjoyable just different!

Just before Christmas I picked up on a blog post by Jenni Parry on Christmas traditions are yours tacky, tragic or a treasure? http://www.embraceordinary.com/24/12/2012/traditions-are-yours-tacky-a-tragedy-waiting-to-happen-or-a-treasure?  

My reply was Christmas traditions as I knew them have disappeared as a result of life changes and family challenges over the past 10 years. As I look back and I have been, those memories remain vivid. Back to my childhood the men sitting round the dining room table before breakfast drinking rum and milk (could you imagine anything worse), while the women went to church. Then ham and eggs for breakfast...my Dad indulging in that shocker of a habit ‘eating the white fat’...years later my husband thinking he was helping cut the ham and stripped the fat away, like we did! Very un-Christmas like words were spoken!

Mum slaved over a hot stove, eating a hot dinner as we all sweltered, indulging in pudding and custard excited when you found a threepence. Later eating watermelon round the tank stand, juice running down your chin (oh dear now I cut it up now and eat it with a fork off a plate) ...mud crab and fresh bread for Christmas night...funny it all seems to be food related...food and family. It must have had some effect, after I got married and went to live in Mackay, that first year, and every year after we had seafood Christmas lunch. Those first couple of years I felt all guilty for not slaving over the hot stove... not guilty enough though...because we did it again and again! Then suddenly I decided it was Ok to enjoy whatever we chose to do…and the benefit was less stress for all concerned. We often place such high expectations on ourselves!

Today as I reflect over the past few days spent with family, it is the time spent with my grandchildren that mean most to me. My 5 year old granddaughter Amy chose to sleep with me, of course we wrote a letter to Santa telling him where she was sleeping. Next year Pippa will be old enough to join in…heaven forbid 2 children in bed with me…

We had had a BBQ at the beach Christmas Eve , driven round looking at the Christmas lights and now home  reading a story before bed, Amy then announced ‘we’ would put the light out… so much for my having a read before sleep…I lay propped and this little voice says… ‘Grannie Di you are not going to sleep you still have your glasses on!’ Sprung, I thought I would slip out after she had fallen asleep.

Amy’s concern was I would not wake her early…no need to worry…at 5am she was insistently tapping my arm reminding me it was Christmas morning, the joy and happiness on her face was priceless. The anticipation of what she might receive, the magic in childhood and childhood dreams flitting across her little face.   

Gift time took me back to the simple gifts I received as a child, the gifts given to my children and now my grandchildren. Have you noticed children use all their senses are totally in the moment, sight (looking), hearing (shaking), touching (squeezing and anticipation), smell (what can it be?) and taste (can I eat it?) They do it simply, in the moment, totally absorbed and with absolute joy. What a gift to be able to share these moments in time.

Then the modern adaption and a 5 year old's lateral thinking… Amy’s friend found an IPod case in a shop and excitedly said to her Mum, if you buy me this case Santa will have to buy me the IPod won’t he?’

Whatever happens in life our memories are precious, what we do today creates the memories for future generations in our family.  So how am I feeling? Excited, elated and sensual…all my senses were engaged! I am so very grateful for the memories of Christmas 2012.

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