Tiny lovely things about Christmas
The Christmas Tree ornaments you’d forgotten about.
Chipolata sausages wrapped in fiddly bacon.
Falling asleep in daylight hours.
The Snowman, The Bear and The Gruffalo.
Stocking fillers (but only after you have bought and wrapped them.)
Pine needles in March.
The children trying to avoid the mistletoe at all costs.
Mulled Wine and that mulled wine juice from IKEA.
Transforming a pile of ‘things’ (gifts) into a much more pleasing pile of wrapped presents.
Christmas Songs on the radio.
Any 9 Lessons and Carols in any format.
The sense of achievement when you find the Santa Hats.
Edwin Morgan’s Poem ‘Trio.’
Carols for Choirs 1,2 and 3.
Driving home for Christmas, with ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ at full volume in the car.
And the little bits of paper on the floor, after a session of cutting out snowflakes.
I walk carefully, through a natural tunnel – one that you could easily miss – fringed with needled branches. Then the space unfolds itself out into the living cathedral of a circular yew tree.
The shouts of the children become half-remembered, as I taste the quiet that lingers in the air here, a flavour of peace. Even bird song is hushed. The silence, or muted noise, as the children duck under branches, disappearing into the network of spreading branches, holds poignancy within a twigged basket.
I breathe the green and brown smell: fresh growth and old wood. As I move through filtered light, drawn as always to touch the rough bark of the largest trunk, feeling this wood of a thousand years, a million needles cast off under my feet. An indoor outdoors.
Calm replaces my busy, and I am at peace.
‘We need to start thinking about Christmas.’
It is the 22nd of October, but I nod. The September weekend (the middle of September) used to be our starter’s pistol, guaranteeing a December of smugly saying ‘We’re pretty much done.’
But that was BC, and we all know what BC stands for – Before Children.
I’m not even ready for Hallowe’en, but, hey! we need to start thinking about Christmas. It’s a full on free fall between now and December 25th –
all rolled in tinsel, wrapped in snowman paper. The idea of fitting in thoughtful gift buying, alongside these extras, and maintaining the tinylife, AND keeping school uniforms clean, in twenty-five December days … that’s why we start in October.
Now it is December. The kids are wound to a tight Christmas sprig.
Just don’t ask me if I’m feeling smug yet.