As I write, Bea and Leonardo are on the balcony, playing cards and singing along to Christmas songs. Every day I am told exactly how many days remain until the big event. Every few minutes they check under the tree to see if there are any more presents. They talk of little else than Christmas shopping and lunch. In short, Christmas has taken over our lives.
I am trying desperately to remember and relate to that childhood excitement, the anticipation and the mystery surrounding Christmas. Both Rupes and I agree that Christmas was definitely a less glitzy affair in our day. In fairness it is hard to get too excited about a Christmas stocking containing a satsuma and a Brazil nut. But I do still remember the sheer joy of going to sleep believing that as I slept a kind, fat man dressed in red and white would leap down my chimney and put a stocking at the end of my bed, even if there wasn’t anything very exciting in it. Nowadays of course anyone dressed in red and white is more likely to symbolise the a Clarins sales girl. I also remember watching A Christmas Carol every year and being transported into that cold, cruel, Dickensian world. And there was always a special film on Christmas Day, I remember one year it was Love Story and I was told to leave the lunch table because two hours after it finished I was still weeping hysterically. I also remember as a seven-year old (I was much more right-on in those days) telling the whole lunch gathering that “you shouldn’t eat meat”. “Don’t worry,” boomed my grandfather from the other end of the table. “It’s a bird.” There was a short silence, followed by: “You shouldn’t eat birds either.” Cue another sending off.
I wonder at what age the magic goes out of Christmas? Or maybe for some people it never does? You certainly get a bit of it back when you have children. I often think about what a strange Christmas my aunt and uncle in Italy must have, with no children around, not even a pet to buy presents for. Do they even bother with a Christmas tree? Knowing them, they have some exquisite Bonsai with a single thread of antique glitter. Of course for us there is no option but the all-singing, all-dancing, all flashing multi-coloured tree. In fact this year we have two trees, because I refuse to be bullied into letting my pink tree sit in the store cupboard. Which I think proves that there is still plenty of Christmas spirit left in me…
Merry Christmas every one!
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2013