I love Christmas. I used to say I didn’t, but I was a teenager and didn’t like anything. Now I love when October comes and the air starts to crisp up in anticipation, waiting for the onset of the cold snap and the prospect of all the festive fun to come.
This year, Christmas feels to me to be tinged with a bitter sweetness, the first year I will wake in the morning and not see my Grandfather, dressed in his brushed cotton shirt with a cable knit jumper over. The first year I won’t hear the air peppered with swears when he realises he has cooked the goose upside down in the pan for the fourth year on the bounce, and the first year I won’t see the glee in his face as he shakes the presents and throws the wrapping paper over his shoulder.
Nonetheless, Christmas is exciting. My goddaughters are 6 and 2 respectively and still believe in the magic of the season (and so do I for that matter) so we will try to seek out father Christmas in the days before the main event, and make mince pies just in case he hasn’t had his fill by the time he gets to their house.
And it’s a time for new traditions. This year, the boy and I exchanged advent calendars and Christmas jumpers on the first, when we also listened to Michael Buble (I love him and I don’t care who knows) and made the first round of mince pies. He was very thoughtful, so rather than getting chocolate in my calendar I got a Yankee Candle one (spot the diabetic). Most people forget so I was very touched!
Last night I came home and my housemate was making gifts; windfall chutney in cute little glass jars, and so I wrapped all the gifts I had bought and drank cups of tea with her. as soon as the tree comes we will adorn it with little toadstools and gingerbread lights to make it the pretties (and also fairly gargantuan for the size of our flat) tree in all the land.
I’ve bought some silly napkins that look like Father Christmas’s suit when you tuck them in to your collar, and my family will be made to wear reindeer antlers or other silly headgear at the table.
It’s a time for being with the ones you love and celebrating the fact that there is a day when you can throw away the rest of the world and all congregate.
And I think that’s the magic of Christmas.
What are your traditions and rituals of the season?