So deck the halls with boughs of holly.
On second thoughts perhaps don’t. And no fake snow.
Because it is December. In Pretoria it is 36 degrees outside. Not even the slightest indication that snow is a-coming.
I am a huge fan of Christmas trees and decorations. Of all things sparkly and twinkly (although those that know me will tell you that I am a sparkly and twinkly fan 365 days of the year). I love Lebkuchen and Christmas cake (why can we not eat it in other months?), I love tinsel, chasing lights, candles and incense. I know the words to all the carols and can be seen singing along merrily in my car.
I just do not want to do or have anything in the above paragraph on the 29th of October already. Which is when I saw the first Mall Christmas tree. In the 2nd week of November I found myself singing along to Silent Night in another mall until I realised what the hell I was doing and switched to something more current. Like Eminem.
Our tree will go up this weekend, which is late for us. I have a load of 15 year olds descending on our home on Saturday for a sleepover. One that is apparently lasting till the following Friday. Aforementioned teenagers will be roped in for the tree event. We did the same last year. My hubby has one job and one job only each year – to unroll the Christmas lights and place them on the ground in a straight stripe for putting up. In the first 5 years of our marriage this was a fun task which he did with great glee. We were “newly-weds”. Then in the next 5 years he started to look a little testy ….. showing me how we should “rather have” packed them away. In years 10 -15 he displayed less patience …. Christmas light unfolding fell into the same category as packing our luggage into the boot when going on holiday. We nearly had to go for couples counselling. He muttered some stuff whilst unravelling the lights …. It was NOT the words to Santa Clause is coming to Town. Between 15 and 20yrs of marriage I considered hiring a handyman to sort out the lights and now after 22yrs we have it sorted. I roll them when the tree comes down and I unroll them when it goes up …. Wish I thought of that 2 decades ago. He checks the bulbs and we carry on.
Do we have rules. No. When our kids were 5 and 1, our tree looked like it was done by kids of 5 and 1. As it should be. Over the years the symmetry of the ornaments, the evenly spread lights and decorations have increased greatly, as their ages did. Now at 19 and 15 we have perfection.
I believe the way the tree looks should “grow up” as your children do. I hope they come and decorate it every year once they have both left home.
We do not do Gluwein. We would rather have our fondue forks stuck through our eyes than drink Gluwein. At a party about 15 years ago our host was thrilled at how much of it we kept having as she refilled our glasses. Her potplant in the passage was saturated as we were pouring it out in there. Nor do we do Eggnog. Just so we clear.
Another thrill is the Advent calendars with choccies. No, you are not too old at 48 to have one. It is the best thing to slip that choccie in your mouth en route to bed. I would not have it any other way. Advent calendars are always in our home. The trick is to not have eaten 1 to 9 Dec when it is only the 4th. And Christmas cookies. Every house should know the smell of Christmas cookies in the oven!
And then the most important – the real Christmas joys …..one is our Nativity Scene. This too has grown over the years. Our initial one got smaller and smaller as little hands dropped a sheep, the one Shepard and eventually the manger …. It was becoming tricky and when we accidentally lost Mary’s head, it was time for a new nativity. And now we have a lovely one with 25cm figurines, and the kids lovingly pack it out each year. It almost takes longer than the tree.
They went through the blessings for the Advent wreath and on Sunday as we lit the first candle, they read the pieces that were relevant to the lighting of the first candle. We think a lot about what Christmas means in our house, not the sparkly tree and gift part, but the sparkly in our hearts bit, the love we feel, the great event that is coming soon, the warmth of a manger that is bringing to us such a wonderful gift, wrapped in love and eternal compassion and understanding.
Taste and feel it .......
Christmas is a-coming. Look towards your church. Live Advent. Look at your family. Pray. Prepare and wait in excitement for that wonderful moment. Drench yourself in joy and thanksgiving.
Can you feel it?
c'est la vie xxxx