In one of my favourite television programs, Psych, there is a point where the main character asks his father if he thinks it is possible to miss a ‘moment’ in life. His father’s reply is that life is made up of ‘moments’: “you’re having one right now”.
I think that’s something that I’m only just beginning to realise about life. Every Christmas morning I wake up at five to six and think “I won’t get to wake up on Christmas Day for another year”, and this rather odd understanding of the situation sets the pattern for the rest of the day. I worry that next Christmas won’t be as good as the last, especially after impromptu moments of laughter and magic.
Every Christmas Eve from me being five to being seventeen, we would go to my Great Aunt’s house for a day of feasts and jollity. It was the official start of Christmas and we would be so full of Christmas cheer after our time there that it really felt like Christmas began there and then. Relatives who we never saw at any other time would come and say hello and we were always so excited to see them. Sadly, my Great Aunt became ill and could no longer host us, although we had her and some of the family round on the following Christmas Eve which was our last in the area. I was initially terrified that the loss of this tradition would mean that our Christmasses would never be the same again – and I was right. Many times a year – and especially at Christmas – I think of my wonderful memories of our visits.
But every Christmas brings something remarkable of its own. Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day… no, not really. Last Christmas, I played Christmas Carols on the piano on Christmas Eve, whilst members of my family sat and listened, each eagerly taking in every bit of the festive season. Earlier today (although not Christmas Eve) I sat alone in the “Tree Room”, watching the tree and thinking about each individual ornament and what it meant to me in particular. They all mean something. It was a ‘moment’, different from last year and all the years before that. Next week, I’ll be worrying that I won’t have a moment like that again, but they keep coming up… and just when you’re not expecting them.
It helps that we’re a family of traditionalists, especially where Christmas is concerned. It would take pages and pages to write about all the many traditions that are included in our family’s Christmas, so what I write here won’t even begin to scratch the surface of what I could say! We have age-old traditions – the Christmas Tree, the Nativity figurines that can be found in almost every room of the house. We have family traditions that we have enjoyed for many, many years such as Mum reading The Children of Green Knowealoud to all us ‘children’. Other traditions have come about in more recent years, such as the need to have a gingerbread house for Christmas Eve, something that started in 2009 – the only Christmas we have ever spent away from home.
Tradition is a fluid art. We mould it to fit in with our needs, and it provides a backdrop for many of our most wonderful experiences. But we don’t even need to look for those ‘moments’ for them to find us… I’m having one right now.
Merry Christmas! xxx