Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A Merry Christmas

I once was talking to some friends - 'I love Christmas' I remarked. 'Have you loads of family?' they asked. 'No...I said I liked Christmas.' I replied. And by that I meant the lights, decorations (the tasteful ones), mince pies and crackers (good ones). Cards from friends and colleagues, those little tokens of affection, friendship and a proffered commitment to knowing someone for another twelve months...and presents of course - it's good to know people who are both close and prepared to get you things you want, or know one just well enough to get a surprise that's pleasant rather than 'what a waste of money'. and large. Attractive lights not flashing apoplectically. Singing carols, lighting lots of candles...fine chocolates (the sort only bought two or three times a year). Cocktails...favourite sparkling wine. Beautiful wrapping collectable for making into posters or cards, decoupage or other crafts. And of course, the catching up with close friends who live a distance off, the atelier supper, roaring fires, the lights changing with the music... Music which starts with a Medieval Christmas of early music over presents, and ends with thumping dance music after an exquisitely laid dinner table...fine food of course, always an option if there's an excellent cook on hand. Extra treats like better olives. Drinks in favourite pubs with nearby friends. Light in the darkness...a promise that spring will come again. The marking of the moment when the year turns to lengthen the days again.
A time when all the ruined Christmasses of childhood and adolescence are made up for by the 'in adulthood, I will...' with the attendant washing up and clearing up. Rituals made, fashioned out of traditions and shaped to one's own ends, one's own vision.
Everyone's Christmas is different, with varying emphasis on a multitude of common themes. Cards vary and swing between tasteful, meaningful, messages of affection and renewal, meaningless, for form's sake, dull and destined for the rubbish bin, cherished and destined for the scrap book, little time spent choosing, carefully chosen, handmade, for charity, or cheaply mass produced... Just for instance.
Much money needn't be spent. This Christmas I made cards and some presents too. But everyone does things their own way. For me part of the pleasure is doing things 'my way'. And of course it doesn't always work out! Christmas being dependent by its nature on others as well as on one's organizational skills! But this Christmas has been good so far. I hope yours has been too.