I haven't celebrated Christmas in an awful long time...probably not since we lived in Europe and had our first white Christmas evah (I was in my forties...), and did really Christmassy things like go to the Kriskindlemarkt in Vienna, buy a REAL Christmas tree like the one in picture books (also first time evah), drink gluhwein, and walk up Beethovengang at the back of our house into the Vienna woods - to counteract the effect of too much turkey.
Oh, I do remember a lovely family Christmas in Glasgow when my daughters and my niece all met up - that was after we left Europe, and it was memorable too. We ended up in a snow covered cottage near Perth...Scotland. About as far as you can get from my Perth Australia childhood Christmases.
The highlights of those?
- Making our own Christmas decorations. Paper chains and cutouts...
- Decorating the tree. Except the year the aunt sent artificial snow that my sister and I turned out to be allergic to...
- Hot summer holidays that had just begun and stretched away ahead like the promise of heaven, and included two weeks in a caravan by the beach!
- Waking up to see what was in my stocking. There was ALWAYS a book, so that I didn't get up too early.
- Unwrapping presents after breakfast.
- The book from Grandad. Always a book, always appreciated by a farm kid without access to a library, or a book store.
- The Christmas packages from the two childless aunts. Especially the one which came from exotic places - Japan, Korea or New York. Oh, the delight of that wooden duck that quacked when you pulled it! Later, the exquisite Japanese lacquered things or that traditional Korean doll, too lovely to play with.
- The weird books the other aunt used to send - she worked for a printer and when kids' books were misprinted with pages in the wrong order or upsidedown, she'd rescue them from the bin and send them along to us. We adored them!
- That lovely home grown roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing and lots of gravy for Christmas dinner, eaten early afternoon. Homegrown vegies, including the peas we shelled ourselves and cooked with mint...which I loved.
- Finding money in the Christmas pudding.
- Sitting around all afternoon cracking nuts and eating licorice allsorts and bit black raisins with the seeds still in them.
Ah, to be a child again. I feel sorry for the affluent kids today. When you have it all, all of the time, how can you possibly know the intensity of the pleasure we had? Christmas truly did come only once a year in those days.
The nicest thing about this Christmas is that my two daughters are together, in Los Angeles. Not something that happens too often these days.
So seasons greetings, whatever the flavour, to all the readers of this blog.