It's the 1st of December, and the day when we traditionally pull the Christmas tree out of its dusty old box and hang the baubles. Despite the fact that I just LOVE all the sparkly-tinsely stuff I can't help but continue to struggle with the whole Northern hemisphere fir tree/snow/red-suited Santa and reindeer thing when it's a sweltering 40°C outside. But I have overcome this by closing all the blinds and cranking up the air-con a bit. The other difficulty I now face is that our family has recently acquired a 10 week old hyperactive poodle puppy, and I don't think there's any way a fully loaded 6 foot Christmas tree is going to survive more than 10 minutes. So, my little IKEA $10 Chrissy tree may just come into its own this year, up on a cabinet, away from little black jumpy-chewy things.
This is also the time of year when I find myself madly slaving away at my sewing machine, stitching up hand-made gifts for all the people I love, often distracted by playing with the makings of something new and decorative for our humble abode. And it's the season when the quilts of Christmas-past are taken out of cupboards and become hangings to adorn the walls, and the Edwardian bunting is pulled from its baggage and strung up the stairs and around the woodwork. All the labours of years gone by are proof of small things achieved during the season of weariness and stress. Unlike all the hours of dusting and polishing, and the endless production of roasted pork and puddings, these textile workings are something tangible, some proof positive of the labour of my hands. My hope is that they will pass into the folk-lore of family, the rememberings of children and the grandchildren to come.
The funny little Santa-folk, collected here and there, are lovingly unwrapped, their tissue paper bedding unfurled in piles around my feet. They are placed atop cupboards, on side tables; always in small groups or in pairs. Because Christmas is a time of togetherness, even for the Santa men!
While I have been rummaging around in boxes, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the trinkets I'd forgotten since I packed them away last year, I have been serenaded by my trusty old Bing Crosby Christmas CD, turned up loud so that I can hear it all around the house. Then, and only then, is it beginning to feel like Christmas! So now that it has begun I will enjoy these days, all the way to the 25th of the month, I will make some special moments. I will start to gather in food and plan what I am going to cook. I will soak the fruit for my wicked fruit cake and think about games to play with the family on Christmas evening. And I will keep on stitching, starting and finishing each gift, infusing them with loving thoughts, and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with sowing into your sewing! If there are children in your life, take time or make time, to create some Christmas magic that will become the stuff of treasured memories. Happy Yuletide-making!