and all through the house…
Many creatures are stirring…
And a whole lot of the creatures stirring in my house are memories, memories of my childhood Christmases, memories of the food we ate that I no longer make, the songs we sang which I still sing, the fun we had. It’s still fun, it’s just different.
Christmas – and the traditions that go along with it – change over the years. We certainly didn’t have pizza elves when I was growing up. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, Christmas pudding were the foods on my grandparents’ tables and then for many years on mine. Oh, yeah, and I forgot the brussel sprouts which were often the cause of food fights – because almost no one liked them but we all had to eat at least one.
Christmas used to begin on the weekend before the big day when we put up our Christmas tree and would end precisely after breakfast on New Year’s Day. The season lasts longer for me now.
The pizza elves are from a dinner with friends in Toronto in early December. A week after that, I ate Italian food with a bunch of workmates. I’ll have a vegetarian Christmas with my sister in Victoria where they’ve come to escape the Christmas deep chill in Edmonton. My brother is coming for Christmas dinner and we’ll drink beer and Prosecco, eat a table full of Persian food and nibblies, and laugh until we make ourselves sick. We’re having friends over on Boxing Day for Spanish wine and some more Persian food.
We’re meeting two different sets of friends the first week in January for two more Christmas dinners. Those ones are likely to be at a restaurant and we’ll drink wine (some of us – not me – will drink vodka, I expect), eat, and share all the things we’ve missed with each other over the past few months.
But for all of us, we somehow maintain the connection to our childhood traditions. We have the chocolates we had as children (always from Purdy’s), we have the Christmas oranges in our red and green stockings (though we no longer have a fireplace on which to hang them), we have the tree and the poinsettias (though this year mine is white rather than red), we still give gifts to our friends and families, we still listen to the same carols, watch the same old movies.
I guess what I’ve learned over the years is that tradition isn’t about the trappings, it’s about the love and the connection and the warmth of the season – and that’s what I wish for all of you.