Wednesday, 12 December 2007

It's the little things

Sometimes, a friend gives you something which makes you rethink a previously held view. That happened to me on Sunday at my afternoon tea.

The lovely and talented Kuka arrived, declaring her mother taught her always to take a little something to someone's house.

Look at what she gave me! It's a teeny, tiny little mitten and as Ms Kuka is our local Mitten Queen, I feel quite special to have one of my own.

Even if it's only big enough to cover my pinky! I declared at once it should sit atop my first ever tree.

There must been word out there that we put up a tree for the first time, because Jejune also showed up with a tree ornament! Isn't he adorable?

To return to my first point, that sometimes things we are given can change our views, I have to say that Christmas sometimes leaves me cold. As a child I was the kid in the family who woke everyone else up (even as a teenager - when I'd get up early and wake up my three younger siblings). But as an adult, Christmas often leaves me cold. Perhaps it's because we've not had a Christmas in our own house? It's lovely to spend Christmas day in your own parents' or your in-laws' house, but that means I don't get to do much, if any, of the planning. We get none of that wonderful post-feast leftover dining. We eat what everyone else is serving, particularly if we've had to travel. I've longed to do my own christmas but without kids and with always being elsewhere, the festivities don't seem to impact on my own home.

This year, I decided to at least try - hence the afternoon tea with Christmas cakes (more on those cupcakes later), hence the first ever tree (if only a small one) and the fact that Sean and I will have a Christmas dinner together on the weekend before Christmas.

But one thing was still leaving me cold. All around blogland, I'm reading stories of people who take their ornaments seriously. The one that really stood out for me was at Yarnnation. Duchess talked about how she and her husband have a long standing tradition of finding tree ornaments that have meaning to them.

The idea struck me as genuinely odd! No judgement, just odd and baffling, and more than a little touching. But really, how on earth could a Christmas tree ornament be meaningful? I concluded that Christmas probably needed to be meaningful to you in the first place and to me, honestly, it's not. It's more stressful and bearable than anything else. Meaningful was not the word I'd associate with the day, or the hideous, orgiastic buying period beforehand.

The moment my friends handed me these ornaments on Sunday, something changed in me. Suddenly, I saw it. The rest of my tree is laden with cheap baubles I gathered up in a harried lunch time spree a few weeks ago, with hardly an idea of what i was doing.

But now, it has two pieces, which are gifts from friends, and will make me think of them always.

They have no religious significance, but they are loaded with other significance. Friends who thought of me and gave me something of themselves.

And if I can, from here on, capture something of this in every Christmas, whether it's in my home or someone else's, I think I'll be able to carve out a place for myself in the mad, crazy silly season.