Ah, the season of good will, the celebration of the arrival of the Messiah, or a very naughty boy; the time for excess and extravagance. Yes, Christmas is upon us with all its glories and terrors. I’m sure we can recall some shockers from the dark recesses of our past, but let them stay there: lingering to remind us what not to do, what to avoid. This year, my dears, as I appreciate my abundant life I am focusing on four simple things: family, forgiveness, food and fun.
Family, which does include the sub-set of friends for this post, is the centre-piece of Christmas. In a chat in my new (and normal) staffroom it’s clear we’re all spending the bulk of the Christmas holiday (Christmas Eve to Boxing Day) with our families. It’s a time for gathering together, for traveling to a centre point where we spend a few days together, kicking back, relaxing: being a family. We catch up, chat, laugh, eat and drink. We pair off for a while, help in the kitchen, take the dog for a walk. It’s a time to be in the heart of the people you love the most, the ones who love you as you are, just as you love them as they are.
The spirit of Christmas is strongest in the heart of your family – as long as you make it happen, as long as you don’t take them or being together for granted. And don’t forget those who are far away – make sure they know you’re thinking of them too. Which of course is so much easier these days with the ubiquitous Face-Book and the lovely Skype.
Forgiveness is perhaps more relevant to me this year than in previous Christmases. But a year of tumbling down, of troubles and worries, of struggles and sadness; of people near and far acting aggressively and maliciously I come to Christmas knowing forgiveness is the right choice. Carrying the anger and frustration and pain of injustice from others does me no good. It won’t be doing you any good either. People are thoughtless: those you despise and those you love too. You are as well. So, as in the prayer, forgive others, as you would have them. It lightens your load, it lightens your life. It will stop Christmas exploding into anger and sadness. (Picture is not related to topic, just a nice one of my girls hugging and Terry)
Food is my favourite part of Christmas. For many years I have been queen of the kitchen, presiding over my dominion with pretty much absolute and imperial authority. I do take requests and I do consider others, but I am the one who decides, the one who does, the one who presides. Now, it is a bit tiring but I love it. I like the run up, the looking in the supermarket for what’s possible, reading new recipes, making my lists, stocking up and the timing and doing. Not to mention the eating. Oh, yes, dear friends, as my pictures denote, I am a devotee of food. Cook it and very much, eat it.
This year we’ll be enjoying roast pork, turkey leg and breast roll with stuffing, baked spuds and seasonal veggies, carrots, brussell sprouts, Yorkshire puddings (a new arrival, on request this year) apple sauce, gravy; egg and bacon pies, little cheesy biscuits, corn fritters, mars bar cheese-cake and my tropical punch designed to drink all day to make you mellow, not fall over before lunch. Oh, and we’ll have a big eggs and bacon breakfast. Possibly too much, but what the hell, as long as there’s left overs for Boxing Day, all is good.
Fun is of course different things to different people. In the golden olden days when my beloved and I were young, it was the afternoon in the pool with glasses of the aforementioned punch the kids and friends before we spent an evening playing a very enthusiastic game of Trivial Pursuit. For many Boxing Days I would watch the start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race with my dad and glass of bubbles and a plate of left-overs. Sadly that won’t happen again.
Now we indulge in Charades, which took my daughter’s boyfriend some time to come to terms with; we play Articulate, sometimes Scrabble, but always in teams. We walk the dog, we sit and talk, we tease each other and laugh into the night, and given how bloody cold it is at this time of the year in this silly country we, don’t go outside much at all.
There are, naturally other F’s of Christmas, but I might leave that to your fertile imaginations. Happy Christmas to you all, be safe and take care of those you love most – you can never be sure how long you’ll have them. (Pictures from Private Collection)