These two little cuties have been greeting me every morning and, amidst all the sad things happening in the world at the moment, they bring a smile to my face. There is just something about them that reminds me of the playfulness of being a child at Christmas.
I bought Bullwinkle (on the right) years ago and he has become a part of our Christmas tradition. Every year, as we pull him out of the box and cross his gangly legs, the girls and I smile and ooh and ahh over how adorable he is.
This year, while buying our tree, Ella and I spotted Montague aka Monty (named by Ella), took one look at those long skinny legs and oversized shoes, and just knew we had to bring him home.
The look on Shaun’s face was priceless when we arrived back at the car with yet another Christmas keepsake. It's a bit like the look he gives me when another Buddha statue appears - he has dubbed our house 'The Home for Wayward Buddhas!' or when Ella buys yet another holiday outfit for Flynn.
But Christmas is magical. It always has been for me. To me it is about family. Spending the day with those who mean the most to you...while sipping a lovely glass of bubbles:-)
My family always went really BIG when it came to Christmas. Lots of food, a twinkling tree overflowing with presents but most importantly, lots of love and laughter.
Mum always got such a buzz watching us open our gifts and she cherished the presents we gave her, often simple things made by us or second-hand items bought at our local school Christmas stall (who could refuse an empty toilet roll stuffed full of lollies, wrapped in red cellophane like a bon bon or a vase with a haematite-coloured glaze and scalloped edge!) I can’t believe twenty- three Christmases have passed since I last shared one with her. Sadly, she never got to spend a Christmas with her granddaughters. She would have loved every precious moment.
Our dad would insist on buying his own presents for us (which was kind of unusual in the 1970’s) and every Christmas morning there would be two huge boxes under the tree, one for Jacki and one for me.
Dad would scatter presents amongst loads of scrunched up newspaper, and by the end of it he would be holding us by the feet as we dove in to retrieve the last present at the bottom of the very tall box.
I can still remember the excitement on his face. The presents weren’t extravagant but they were bought and wrapped with SO much love, as were the poems be would write for us on our cards. Dad often gave me books and he would always write a personal message inside, and date it. Like me, dad was an aspiring writer. He dabbled on his memoirs over his later years but, also like me, he procrastinated and sadly never finished it. There is a lesson in that for me...keep writing.
The love of Christmas I learned from my parents continued on with my own children. I fondly remember the nights waiting up late until Bre & Ella were sound asleep so that Santa could deliver his bounty and watching their eyes become like saucers when they spotted the tree on Christmas morning.
As you will see in this photo, Santa went a tad overboard at times! My sister spoiled the girls so much (and still does) as she said that if mum was still alive she would be filling their stockings to overflowing and since she was no longer with us, Jacki felt that it was her job to do it.
Dad passed away on the morning of Christmas Eve 2015, at the age of 89. We still celebrated Christmas that year, as dad wouldn’t have wanted us not to, but at the end of the day Bre & Ella turned to us and went ‘well that kind of sucked!’ Which it did.
But it does get better. It does get easier. I know there are lots of people out there who will be missing loved ones this year, some recently gone and some who left us long ago. An empty seat at the table is so very hard on such a special day.
But I am certain of one thing. Those who loved us most wouldn’t want us to be sad. They would want us to embrace the joy and magic of Christmas. They would want us to remember all the precious Christmases we shared with them and be excited about the year ahead and the infinite possibilities it holds for us.
So from my family to yours, wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas. May 2020 hold all your heart desires and lots of fun-filled memories.