Christmas is a time for traditions. Over time those traditions ebb and flow, as do the important people in our lives. Sometimes change is forced upon us. Sometimes it is our choice. But still, despite it all, it is Christmas. A time for love, compassion and sharing.
As I write this, Josh is in the kitchen attempting to make gingerbread people with his friend Delta, whom he met when he was living in Indonesia. Ian is out buying the Amontillado sherry and collecting the turkey, my mother is assembling a table centre decoration and I’m sitting in a room garlanded with Christmas bunting made my my friend Anne, fairy lights, fake poinsettias and Christmas cards that have arrived from all over the world. I am reminded how we took that bunting with us to Jogjakarta in 2015, the year Josh had no visa which forced us to shift our KL plans and go to him. We spent an eco-Christmas in a wooden hut beside frog-filled lilyponds and padi fields.
Like you, I expect our traditions and decorations come from all over the world and that you too can spend long minutes just sitting, looking and remembering, surrounded by smells of cinnamon and red, green and gold decorations.
I can hear Josh in peals of laughter as the whisk attachment detaches from the handheld blender and skitters across the floor. This followed by a burst of conversation in Bahasa Indonesia. Carols, sung by The Kingdom Choir who sang at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, stream from Spotify through Sam’s Bose speaker. It is Christmas and the house is full of colour, language, music and action.
My eye falls on the fire place and the four 25 year-old stockings that hang there, now spotty with age. I made them in Oman when the boys were one and two years old. Every year without fail they join us for our Christmas journey. Most Christmas mornings they will be magically filled with tiny gifts and laid on the hearth for children only. The Mummy and Daddy stockings hang empty. But back in 2015 when we had that cco-Christmas, Anne’s bunting and those stockings were the only things we took in our carry on. That year the only gifts allowed had to fit in those stockings and, they too, had to be eco. Without doubt that year was one of the best and most memorable.
This year too has to be different. Last night I cut some rectangles of calico and patched the otherwise empty Mummy and Daddy stockings with two new names. This year, my mother, alone for the first time, will have a stocking and, as Delta is here, he’s got one too. I admit I’m not the best seamstress in the world but the intention was good. Those stockings are a symbol of an important Christmas message:
Some things change and some things stay the same yet this will always be a time for being together, however that together may look this year.