Christmas is a time for memories – making new ones as well as revisiting the past.
Walking along the street today and looking at the decorated trees in people’s windows, I found remembered images of Christmas Eve and the day itself washing over me.
My family dressed the tree on the 24th, with the old glass decorations that seemed to have been around for ever. First the lights had to be draped around, which meant checking every bulb because if one wasn’t working, none of them would light. Then carefully we’d hang up the fragile ornaments. Finally, the old tradition of picking the pine needles out of our clothes and hair…
Late next morning we’d gather round the lit tree for a glass of champagne while we opened our presents. Then it was all hands ready to lay the table and finish getting Christmas dinner ready. One of my jobs was making the gravy, stirring flour into the turkey juices and adding water and perhaps a dash of wine. It had to be done at the last minute but I couldn’t rush it or there would be lumps and then the gravy would need to be strained.
These memories are warm and happy and also sad, because this will be my second Christmas without my mother and the first without my partner, who died in the spring. I’m breaking with tradition completely and not having a roast dinner. Instead I’ve got some treats – smoked salmon, watercress, double chocolate brownies and not a sprout in sight. I’ve got a whole week off and I intend to relax. Oh, and catch up with my genealogy research, including (I hope) this poor neglected blog.
I’ve kept up one tradition, though; coffee on Christmas Eve with a close friend. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to support each other through a tough year. So here’s to friends, near and far, in a coffee bar on in cyberspace –